Great Smokies (Appalachian Trail) Challenge – Trekking

Want to feel like this?

Overview

Are you ready to trek the legendary Appalachian Trail? It’s one that many backpackers spend their lives preparing for. A hike on this iconic trail isn’t complete without hearing about the challenges thousands have faced on their 2,200-mile journey from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Our guides will talk about how backpackers prepare, describe what the months-long experience is like, and maybe even christen hikers with their own trail names as we meander along this gorgeous backcountry ridge. 

 

Itinerary

ARRIVE IN KNOXVILLE, TN, OR ASHEVILLE, NC

Upon arrival, we are met by our guides and transferred to our overnight hotel to enjoy a good meal and country music.

LODGING: TBD

MEALS: Dinner

HIKING: None

COSBY CAMPGROUND AND APPALACHIAN TRAIL

After orientation, intros, and stories of the legendary area, we walk out to the Low Gap Trail, where we’ll hike about 2.5 miles up to the legendary Appalachian Trail. This quintessential section of the famous trail will give us a taste of the experience many backpackers spend their lives preparing for. We’ll hike to the 1930s-era Mt. Cammerer fire tower and up to Davenport Gap, the terminus of the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies. A hike on this iconic trail isn’t complete without hearing about the challenges thousands have faced on their 2,200-mile journey from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

LODGING: Cosby Campground

MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

HIKING: 10.5 miles in up to 10 hours.

ELEVATION: 2,800-foot elevation gain/loss (in 2.5 miles)

SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN HISTORY 

Our hike takes place on the historic Porter’s Creek Trail. Along the way, we learn about the rich southern Appalachian and Cherokee history. As we walk along a pristine, clear stream, you’ll be treated to a lovely forest and learn about the incredible diversity that makes the Smokies a World Heritage site. We’ll explore a beautiful cabin, barn, and springhouse from the 19th century. As we enjoy a verdant forest found only in the Smokies, we’ll cross a bridge to a see the gorgeous green canopy or a breathtaking display of early fall colors.

LODGING: Camping  TBD based on group, time of year, etc. 

MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

HIKING: 8 miles

ELEVATION: N/A

EXPLORING THE FAMOUS APPALACHIAN TRAIL

This beautiful day hike on the famous Appalachian Trail will give you a taste of life on the trail when you visit a shelter, maybe taking a moment to talk to some southbound through hikers about their adventure. On our hike, we will be in an old-growth boreal forest, a type of forest normally found in Canada. We will explore the classic features of Charlie’s Bunion, gazing down into the valley we explored yesterday as we marvel at the kaleidoscope of color that makes our mountains world-famous. As we hike, you’ll learn about the history of the trail, the amazing legends of those who have hiked all 2,200 miles, and, perhaps, become inspired enough to add a through hike to your bucket list. The day winds down in downtown Gatlinburg, where we will eat Southern barbeque and visit a moonshine museum.

LODGING: TBD

MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Gatlinburg

HIKING: 8 miles

ELEVATION: N/A

RAMSEY CASCADE

Most of this day is reserved for hiking and exploration. Visit Ramsey Cascade, a beautiful waterfall in a gorgeous section of old growth, or take an off-trail adventure to explore an old moonshine cave. Enjoy beautiful views and a small waterfall, climb a geological mystery, hike up to a hidden giant cave, or take one of many other iconic Smokies trails.

LODGING: TBD

MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and celebration dinner in Knoxville

HIKING: 6–8 miles

ELEVATION: N/A

FLY HOME 

Enjoy a free morning to explore Knoxville, “the Marble City” and the former capital of the state of Tennessee. 

LODGING: None

MEALS: On your own

HIKING: None

 

 

What’s included?

  • Airport transfers.
  • Professional, safety-certified guide(s).
  • One challenge/charity representative, TBD.
  • One night of lodging (double occupancy).
  • Four nights or comfortable camping.
  • Tents (double occupancy) and sleeping pads.
  • All meals per itinerary plus snacks, water, and drinks.
  • National park permits.
  • Local taxes and dining and housekeeping gratuities.

Group Size

MIN: 16 | MAX: 55

CONTACT US for a customized itinerary and costs.