Meet your guides and fellow traveling companions at 10am this morning in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After introductions and a trip orientation we?ll hop aboard our provided shuttle for a quick transfer to our first trailhead. The Cucumber Gap Loop is a perfect introduction to the rich biodiversity, beauty and history of the Great Smoky Mountains. After enjoying lunch and an afternoon on the trail we?re then off to a local distillery for a tasting of delicious local moonshine. Finally, with our first day of amazing adventure behind us we?ll arrive at our exclusive REI Signature Camp where our friendly camp host greets us.
Hiking: 4.8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +800'/-800'; Transfer: approximately 90 minutes
After a morning yoga session and delicious breakfast we?re off on our unique adventure up Mt. LeConte. At 6,594', bagging Mt. LeConte is an accomplishment in and of itself. Yet one of the most unique characteristics of Mt. LeConte is that it's home to the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States, which can only be reached via a hearty hike to the summit. Once at the summit we?ll have a chance to explore the lodge and pick up a souvenir at the high-mountain gift shop. Later in the day we?ll return to our REI Signature Camp where we?ll enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our camp host.
Hiking: 11 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,600'/-2,600'; Transfer: approximately 2.5 hours
Today our goal is to visit the tallest waterfall within the park. After a filling breakfast, we get in our van and make the 30-minute drive to the trailhead. Today?s hike is an out-and-back hike to Ramsey Cascades. Situated in the Greenbrier region, the trail goes through the largest remaining old-growth forest in the park. Our naturalist guides? knowledge of the park shines here as they point out some of the largest trees in the park. Our hike to the falls is along a constant incline as we gain 2,200' elevation over four miles. Along the way we cross a narrow 20-foot bridge and spend the last third of a mile climbing several steep rock steps and navigating roots, rocks and boulders. Once back at camp we are treated to a lavish foot soak, enjoy another great meal together and recount the day?s adventures. All meals included.
Hiking: 8 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,200'/-2,200'
After another delicious breakfast we pack up our things and say a final goodbye to Signature Camp as we load up the van. We take a one-hour journey to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, a mecca for outdoor adventure located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River. After three days of exploring by foot, we take to the air to see the park from above the trees while soaring mountaintop to mountaintop along two miles of zip-lines. With adrenaline pumping, we enjoy 360-degree views of the Smokies and Nantahala Gorge. We then load into whitewater rafts to enjoy a fun Class II and III ride down the scenic Nantahala River, a popular stretch of water for fans of paddling sports, renowned for both its beauty and accessibility. Inspired and rejuvenated, we make our way back to Gatlinburg with an arrival time of approximately 7pm. Here we bid farewell to new friends. 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