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Fresh mountain air, campfire tales, and the iconic Appalachian Trail—just some of those things that remind us why life is good. But let’s face it, backpacking the AT is not a walk in the park—especially for beginners. That’s why we’re teaming up! Over 3 days, we’ll hike and camp along the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Highlands in Tennessee or Max Patch in North Carolina. We will explore gorgeous forest trails, panoramic views, and grasslands covered in wildflowers. Perfect for aspiring backpackers and AT hikers, this experience guarantees skill-building, women companionship, and seamlessly sorted logistics. Let’s uncover the joys of backpacking together!

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Adventure highlights

  • Gorgeous landscapes

    Whether it’s Max Patch or Roan Highlands, you’re in for forested hills, wildflower-covered grasslands, and panoramic views

  • The joy of backpacking

    Fall in love with campfire tales, rewarding hikes, and the iconic Appalachian Trail

  • By women, for women

    This tour offers a perfectly supportive environment for first-time women backpackers and aspiring AT hikers

Available itineraries

Women’s Appalachian Trail Backpacking Tour near Max Patch, NC

Embark on a 3-day Appalachian Trail intro to backpacking starting in Hot Springs, NC. Hike alongside an experienced backpacking guide and a small group of women for approximately 20 miles over the course of 3 days on the Appalachian Trail around Max Patch. You’ll learn how to set up camp, filter water, cook meals, and practice safe backpacking skills. This tour includes a full gear rental, breakfast and dinners during the trip, shuttle service to trail heads, and a video orientation before the trip to discuss planning and preparation.

  • Meet your Appalachian Trail backpacking guide in the town of Hot Springs, NC around 9am and get fitted for a backpack and gear, and shuttle to the trailhead near Max Patch. Then your group will hike up and over the beautiful wildflower covered summit of Max Patch and soak in the incredible views! Stop for lunch halfway and take a break to filter water. After a few hours, it’s time for the last big climb over Walnut Mountain, then we’ll get to the first campsite. Set up tents, cook dinner, and settle in for the night with campfire stories!

    Hiking: 5-7 miles (8-11.3 km)

    Max Patch, a bald mountain in NC, seen from above.
  • Make breakfast, break down camp, andstart hiking through the forests, up and over Bluff Mountain—the biggest climb of the trip. Your group will then stop for lunch and continue the hike, while taking breaks along the way. Upon arriving at the campsite, set up camp for the night. Enjoy another delicious dinner followed by some games or a campfire before heading to bed in your tent.

    Hiking: 6-9 miles (9.7-14.5 km)

    Tents at Max Patch, a bald mountain along the North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail.
  • The last day is short, so you’ll be able to sleep in a bit before making breakfast, breaking down camp, and finishing the hike. This day is mostly downhill, through the winding forest trail and back to Hot Springs. Finish the trip back around noon at the place you’ve parked the cars. Celebrate your achievements with your guide and fellow hikers. Leave the trail with countless memories for years to come.

    Hiking: 3 miles (4.8 km)

    A forest path along a North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail..
Women’s Appalachian Trail Backpacking Tour in the Roan Highlands, TN

Get ready for a 3-day Appalachian Trail intro to backpacking starting in Roan Mountain, TN. You'll hike alongside an experienced backpacking guide and a small group of women for approximately 15 miles over the course of 3 days on the Appalachian Trail along the grassy mountain balds of the Roan Highlands. You’ll learn how to set up camp, filter water, cook meals, and practice safe backpacking skills with your guide. Trip includes full gear rental, breakfast and dinners during the trip, shuttle service to trail heads, and a video orientation before the trip to discuss planning and preparation.

  • Meet your Appalachian Trail backpacking guide in the town of Roan Mountain, TN around 9am and get fitted for a backpack and gear, and shuttle to the trailhead near Carver’s Gap. Then hike over the first few mountain balds and soak in the incredible views! Stop for lunch halfway and take a break to filter water. After a few hours, your group will get to the first campsite, set up tents, cook dinner, and settle in for the night with campfire stories!

    Meals: Dinner
    Hiking: 5-7 miles (8-11.3 km)

    View of the forested Roan Highlands along the Appalachian Trail, from Carver’s gap.
  • Make breakfast, break down camp, and make our way through the forests to the next set of mountain balds, with their grassy, wildflower covered summits. Your group will then stop for lunch and continue the hike, while taking breaks along the way. Upon arriving at the campsite, set up camp for the night. Enjoy another delicious dinner followed by some games or a campfire before heading to bed in your tent.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Hiking: 6-9 miles (9.7-14.5 km)

    A forest in the Roan Highlands, near the Appalachian Trail.
  • The last day is short, so you’ll be able to sleep in a bit before making breakfast, breaking down camp, and finishing the hike. This day is mostly downhill, through the winding forest trail and back to Hot Springs. Finish the trip back around noon at the place you’ve parked the cars. Celebrate your achievements with your guide and fellow hikers. Leave the trail with countless memories for years to come.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Hiking: 3 miles (4.8 km)

    Appalachian Trail cutting through a bald mountain in the Roan Highlands.
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Download Women’s Intro to Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail Brochure
The brochure contains:
Adventure and location overview, itinerary, available dates, what's included, how to prepare, and much more.
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Meet your guides

Nicole Markovich
5.00
Nicole Markovich
Nicole Markovich is the visionary founder of Wildwood Hiking Company. Growing up in central Illinois, Nicole's love for hiking and camping shaped her outdoor pursuits. A former high school science teacher, she took a transformative leap in 2022, embarking on a six-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Covering over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, Nicole discovered the exhilaration of living in harmony with nature. Captivated by the wild and free spirit of the woods, she transitioned from teaching to follow her dream. In 2023, Nicole established Wildwood Hiking Company in Tennessee, driven by her passion to share the joy, simplicity, and challenges of backpacking with others.
Wildwood Hiking
5.00
Wildwood Hiking
Wildwood Hiking Company's mission is to make nature accessible to all through safe and memorable outdoor adventures. Founded in 2023 by Nicole Markovich, the company stems from her transformative Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2022. After leaving a nine-year teaching career, Nicole discovered her passion for backpacking, relishing the freedom, closeness to nature, and the challenges of the trail. Inspired by this profound connection, she established Wildwood Hiking Company in Tennessee, welcoming everyone to experience the beauty and simplicity of the outdoors.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Trina Gardner

Nicole shared her knowledge and taught me a lot about hiking! She was patient and understanding. We had a little weather challenge and had to change our itinerary but she provided us all the options and supported our decision. Highly recommend Nicole and Wildwood Hiking

Melinda Campbell

Our guide was excellent. Very friendly, knowledgeable, and fun.

AJ Martinez (source: Google)

I just completed a 3 day section hike of the AT with Wildwood Hiking Co., and I can exuberantly attest that Nicole Markovich is the very best if you’re looking for guided hikes or “shakedown” trips in preparation for an AT thru hike or any other backpacking adventure. She is a people person and a former high school teacher, which shines through in her patience, compassion and kindness. She is also extremely knowledgeable and perhaps even more importantly, very honest AND motivating. Her experience as an AT thru-hiker (Class of 2022) served our group (especially me) so well! She’s located just outside of Knoxville, TN and does trips all over TN, NC and other locales. I highly recommend contacting Nicole (and Wildwood Hiking Co.) before any other guides.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking/backpacking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 3 days of hiking and backpacking on a section of the Appalachian Trail near Max Patch or in the Roan Highlands
      • Backpacking gear (backpack, trekking poles, backpacking tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, water filtration system, cooking kit)
      • All meals during the hike (special dietary requirements can be accommodated free of charge, let us know upon booking)
      • Transportation from Hot Springs, NC or from Roan Mountain, TN to the trailhead
      • Pre-hike virtual orientation to discuss planning and preparation

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Hot Springs, North Carolina or to Roan Mountain, Tennessee (you can rent a car or ask your guide to help you arrange airport transfers with some shuttle service)
      • Parking fees at the hostel (around $5 a day, but you’ll also be able to park at the trailhead to avoid this fee)
      • Accommodation before and after the adventure — if applicable
      • Guide gratuities — the industry standard is 15-20%
  • In order to participate in this guided all-women backpacking trip along a section of the Appalachian Trail around Max Patch or in the Roan Highlands, you need to be in good physical condition. You should be someone who hikes occasionally. You will hike between 3 and 9 miles (5-14 km) a day for 3 consecutive days, with elevation gains of up to 2,500 feet (762 m), and while carrying a loaded backpack. No backpacking experience is necessary for this tour.

    To prepare for this tour, we recommend engaging in cardiovascular activities (especially hiking) and strength training. Keep in mind that you will always have a guide by your side to encourage you and teach you all the necessary skills. She will also assess your fitness and adjust the hiking accordingly.

  • Backpacking gear is included in the price of the tour. If you want to bring your own, you’ll need:

      • Comfortable, lightweight backpack (30-50L capacity)
      • Trekking poles
      • Backpacking tent
      • Sleeping pad and sleeping bag — can be rented
      • Water filtration system — can be rented
      • Cooking kit

    For personal items, you need to bring:

      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support
      • Moisture-wicking hiking shirts and pants
      • Lightweight windproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Headlamp or flashlight
      • Bear canister (preferred) or bear hanging bags
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    You will receive a more comprehensive equipment list by your guide upon booking. We suggest bringing comfortable clothes you can move in. Mind the season and check the weather forecast before the start day of the tour.

  • Backpacking gear is included in the price of this tour. You’ll get a comprehensive backpacking gear package at the beginning of the tour. The package includes a comfortable, lightweight backpack, trekking poles, backpacking tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, water filtration system, and a cook kit.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For these group adventures, the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 5:1 and the maximum number of participants is 5.
      • It takes a minimum of 2 people for this tour to operate.

    Backpacking a section of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina or Tennessee can be arranged for a private group with 4 or more participants. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Hot Springs, North Carolina or to Roan Mountain, Tennessee, most people fly into Asheville Regional Airport, which is a 45-minute/1.5-hour drive away. Alternatively, you can fly to Johnson City, TN, which is closer to Roan Mountain than Asheville (1-hour drive away). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

    You will meet your Appalachian Trail guide and fellow backpackers in Hot Springs, North Carolina or in Roan Mountain, Tennessee at 9am on Day 1, followed by a shuttle to the trailhead.

    Shuttles are included from the meeting location to the trailheads. Your group will park at the ending point of the hike, and then shuttle to the starting point. Shuttles to/from airports or hotels are not included, but your guide can connect you with shuttle options.

    At meeting locations, clients can park for free at the trailhead or pay a small fee to park at the hiker hostel where you’ll be meeting (depends on the hostel, but the fee is around $5 per day).

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the trail, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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