Great Smoky Mountains Women’s Backpacking

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4-6
Activity level
Starting from
$999 for REI Members
$1,099 for non-members
Departures Jul 2021-Oct 2022

Be challenged and renewed by the Great Smoky Mountains on this four-day Appalachian Trail backpacking trip.

Perfect for the backpacking adventurer who wants to try the Appalachian Trail, hone multi-day backpacking skills or just disconnect from the day to day, this trip gives you a taste of being a thru-hiker. We wake each morning to the symphony of the forest. Fueled by hot coffee and a hearty breakfast, we backpack to primitive shelters, camp in lush meadows, traversing narrow ridgelines, threading old-growth forests, and pausing to appreciate the grandeur of Great Smoky Mountains vistas.

Along the trail, our passionate expert guides share the Smokies’ history, lore and field-tested backpacking tips. Evenings bring friendly camaraderie around the campfire. The simplicity of trail life soothes stress and helps us be mindful in the here-and-now. Our journey culminates with gratitude for new friends and wild places. Mind clear, spirits renewed, we depart ready to take on life’s next adventure.

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Trip Highlights

  • Reconnect with Mother Nature on this challenging backpacking adventure
  • Stay in a primitive backcountry shelter and camp in secluded meadows
  • Learn wilderness survival techniques and backpacking tips from expert guides
  • Experience a portion of the famed Appalachian Trail along mountain Peaks
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women


This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. We plan to hike for 6-10 hours per day most days on steep, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain, gaining and/or losing up to just over 3,000 feet in elevation some days. We will carry packs weighing 30-35 lbs while we hike as well.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip we suggest that you engage in a regular exercise regimen beginning at least three months prior to your departure. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Accommodations in huts, or tents if required (route dependent); meals as noted in the daily itinerary; professional instruction and guiding; group cooking gear; group first aid kit; water filter or purification system.


Primitive backcountry shelters and tent camping, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Meet fellow travelers and begin our national park adventure!

Our trip begins at 9am today in beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After introductions to our fellow travelers and guides and an informational orientation to the weekend's adventure we'll caravan to the trail head and begin our exploration of this spectacular national treasure.

Mileage: varies between 3 – 5.5 miles depending on specific route with +/- 1,500-3,000' elevation change.

Day 2

Backpack the remote trails of the Smoky Mountains.

Awaken to the symphony of the forest as we ease into our first day of life on the trail. Depending on our route we may find ourselves traversing the slopes of ancient Mount Guyot, the second highest peak in the Smokies, soaking in the spectacular views at Charlie's Bunion or working on our naturalist skills along some of the most remote trails in the eastern United States.

Mileage: varies between 6.5 – 13 miles depending on specific route with +/- 1,500-3,000' elevation change..

Day 3

Travel along the Appalachian Trail with epic vista views.

We'll start this morning with a wholesome breakfast and fresh brewed coffee prepared by our amazing guides. Get ready for another day spent in awe as we hike among old growth Boreal forests and continue our journey along sections of the iconic Appalachian Trail. We'll get a feel for the thru-hiker experience and depending on our route may even have a chance to experience the most challenging sections of the AT in Great Smoky Mountains National Park today.

Mileage: varies between 6 – 13 miles depending on specific route with +/- 1,500-3,000' elevation change..

Day 4

Cherish the last few hours spent among new friends along secluded trails in America's most visited national park.

Today's journey is bittersweet as we continue to soak in breathtaking views and panoramas along our last miles back to the trailhead. Regardless of our route, we'll cherish these last few hours spent in the remote corners of the United States' most visited national park with passionate guides and like-minded new friends. Flights out of Knoxville or Asheville can be scheduled after 7pm. Flights out of Charlotte can be scheduled after 9pm.

Mileage: varies between 3-11 miles depending on specific route with +/- 1,500-3,000' elevation change.

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. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (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.