This trip is rated Moderate . Trip members should be capable of hiking 5-8 hours each day (up to 11 miles) with as much as 3,000' elevation gain and loss. Zip-lining is suitable for beginners. Weight ranges for zip-lining are 60 pounds minimum and 250 pounds maximum. Rafting is suitable for beginners although comfort in/around water is recommended. Rafting is on rapids classified II-IV whitewater. All rafting gear, including wetsuits, is provided.
Our adventure begins this morning in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where we meet our guides and fellow travelers. Following a brief orientation, we hop on our provided shuttle for a 45-minute drive to beautiful Cades Cove. The unique topography and environment attract a wide variety of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. We’ll also experience the rich human history of the valley, as our tour takes us past well-preserved churches, cabins and Civil War cemeteries. From Cades Cove, we will head to Tremont to escape the crowds for a short hike to an impressive set of large cascades surrounded by numerous small waterfalls and cascades. At the end of the day, our friendly camp host welcomes us to Signature Camp where we’re greeted with delicious appetizers and a refreshing drink. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: 4 miles; 600' elevation gain/loss; Transfers: 1.5 hours.
After a tasty backcountry breakfast, we transfer to Low Gap Trailhead for an out-and-back hike to the summit of Mount Cammerer. A series of switchbacks climbs 2,000 feet through beautiful hardwood forest before joining the famous Appalachian Trail. We let the famous white blaze lead the way as our guides share stories of intrepid travelers who have hiked the over 2,000 miles of trail from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME. Our reward is the summit of Mount Cammerer, with its 360-degree views of the majestic Smoky Mountains. Our day finishes at our comfortable Signature Camp where we enjoy another scrumptious dinner. All meals included.
Hiking: 11 miles; 3,000’ elevation gain/loss; Transfers: 1 hours.
Our mission today is to explore a unique section of trails; home to the largest collection of human artifacts in the National Park system. Walk along a beautiful mountain stream through an old growth forest. Climb to one of the most picturesque mountain vistas with expansive views of breathtaking rock formations. Our celebration of this spectacular region continues as we head back for southern barbecue around a roaring campfire. We’ll spend our final evening together sharing stories and reflecting on our last few days of adventure. All meals included.
Hiking: 6 miles; 1,500’ elevation gain/loss; Transfers: 2 hours.
An approximately one hour drive gets us to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The NOC is a mecca for outdoor adventure and located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River. After three days of exploring on foot, we take to the air to experience the park from above. We soar mountaintop to mountaintop along two adrenaline pumping miles of premier zip-line. Next we load into whitewater rafts to enjoy a fun, Class II and III ride down the scenic Nantahala River. After rounding out our exploration of the Great Smoky Mountains by land, sky and water we make our way back to Gatlinburg. We expect to arrive back in Gatlinburg early this evening. Breakfast and lunch included.
Inclement weather may impact the accessibility of the zip-lining course. If this is the case, we may substitute the NOC’s adventure rope course for the zip-lining activity.
Zip-lining: 2 miles; Time: 1-2 hours; Whitewater Rafting: 8 miles; Time: 3 hours; Transfers: 4 hours.