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Great Smoky Mountains Women's Adventure

Trip Length4 Days
Group Size4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$2,299 for REI Members
$2,479 for non-members
DeparturesOct 2023-Oct 2024

Sample the thrills and delights of America’s most-visited national park on this four-day REI Signature Camping adventure.

This trip is an adventure sampler, perfect for women who want to fit a lot of different activities into a short getaway while still enjoying time to relax. We’ll be absorbed in our surroundings as we jump in to experience the highlights of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding region.

We sample moonshine at a local distillery. We hit iconic trails, including Mt. LeConte, with its one of a kind high-mountain shopping opportunity. We zip-line from summit to summit, getting a bird’s-eye perspective of the treetops. And we take to the water, rafting the beautiful Nantahala River.

Each evening, we stay in our deluxe camp where everything is prepared for you. Spacious tents, hot food and comfy camp chairs by the fire await at the beginning and end of each day. Nature’s sounds serenade us to sleep, rejuvenating the body and mind for the day’s adventures. All the while, our passionate expert guides share inspiring stories and lore about the area’s wildlife, landscapes and extraordinary women past and present.

Enjoy beautifully prepared and delicious meals at the end of each day.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit a moonshine distillery and delight in a tasting of local favorites
  • Enjoy gorgeous views and a one-of-a-kind shopping experience from Mt. LeConte
  • Learn the secrets of identifying and using a wide range of medicinal plants
  • Soar above the trees on a zipline course and raft the Nantahala River
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women
  • Experience REI Signature Camping! Spacious tents, amazing meals and more!


This trip is rated Moderate (3). Trip members should be capable of hiking 5-8 hours each day (up to 11 miles) with as much as 2,700' 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-III whitewater.

  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Zip-lining
  • Camping

What's Included

Any park or other admission fees or permits, Guides and Camp Host; Round trip transportation from Gatlinburg, TN to all destinations visited during the trip; Rafting gear, including wetsuits; all meals and snacks from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 4.


REI Signature Camping, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Great Smoky Mountains Women's Adventure
Day 1

Hike along a pristine mountain stream before visiting a local distillery for a moonshine tasting

Meet your guides and fellow traveling companions 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: 5.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +800'/-800'; Transfers: 1.5 hours

Day 2

Summit 6,594' Mt. LeConte

After a delicious breakfast in camp 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 relaxing and meditative post hike yoga practice and a delicious meal prepared by our camp host.

Hiking: 10.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,700'/-2,700'; Transfers: 2.5 hours

Day 3

Hike Big Creek Trail with waterfalls and swimming holes

Hike along the turquoise waters of Big Creek and slow down as we explore frequent waterfalls and swimming holes. Midnight Hole is one of the most beautiful natural swimming holes in the Blue Ridge Mountains with its crystal green waters, massive boulders and 6’ waterfall. Part of this hike is along an old logging road and we will learn about the history of the Smokies logging era and how the forest has rebounded. 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 4.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +750'/-750'; Transfers: 1.5 hours

Day 4

Zip-line above the trees and raft the Nantahala River.

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 arriving midevening. 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, Transfers: 4 hours

Itinerary map for Great Smoky Mountains Women's Adventure

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose the proper equipment. Try to bring only what is necessary; this will help you and the field staff.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

Provided by REI

  • All Group Cooking Gear
  • Camp Furniture
  • Cots and Sleeping Pads
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Stoves and Fuel
  • Tent(s)
  • Wetsuits and PFDs

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.