This trip is rated Moderate . Trip members should be capable of hiking 5-8 hours each day (between 4-8 miles) with as much as 1,500' 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 at 10am in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We meet our guides for a brief trip orientation before embarking on a 45 minute drive to Cades Cove. The unique topography and environment of this opulent Appalachian Valley attract a wide variety of plant and wildlife including the park’s famous black bear. Cade’s Cove captivates visitors with rich human history, including that of the Cherokee people whose deep connection with the Smokies dates back more than a thousand years. Our adventures will also take us past the remains of well-preserved churches, cabins and civil war cemeteries built by settlers of this area. Before heading back to our comfortable Signature Camp we’ll transfer to the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains where we'll hike to an impressive set of large cascades surrounded by numerous small waterfalls and cascades. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 miles; 600' elevation gain and loss.
Today’s journey takes us past settler's homesteads and the remains of gigantic Chestnut trees before reaching picturesque Hen Wallow Falls. Surrounded by a lush forest of rhododendron, fern and towering hemlock our naturalist guides teach us about the unique characteristics which make this amazing area an International Biosphere Reserve. Using the forest as our classroom we’ll take time to learn which plants are edible and which are valued for their medicinal properties. Back at camp, we'll play games, enjoy great food and end the day roasting s’mores on the campfire. All meals included.
Hiking: 5 miles; 1,000' elevation gain and loss.
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 a tasty meal 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: 3-6 miles; 1,000-1,500’ elevation gain and loss.
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 along a world class zipline course before loading into whitewater rafts to enjoy a family friendly 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 to our host hotel by 7pm 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: up to 2 miles, Time: 1-2 hours; Whitewater Rafting: 8 miles, Time: 3 hours..