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14 states, 2,200 miles, and 5 million steps—the Appalachian Trail is the most popular American hike for a reason. But it can be a challenge, even if you only want to do one section. That’s why we’re doing it together! Over 6 or 8 days, hike gorgeous areas near the charming Appalachian town of Hot Springs, and the scenic landscapes around Max Patch and the Roan Highlands. This is a perfect preparation for both the aspiring thru-hikers, those who want to do it in sections, or those who simply want a week-long retreat in nature. Needless to say, building your backpacking skills is guaranteed, along with expert guidance, women companionship, and all the logistics sorted. Let’s leave our mark on the iconic trail!

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  • Appalachian Trail in NC

    Traverse bald mountains, hills, and forests that are perfect for camping, stargazing, and taking in panoramic vistas

  • Master backpacking

    Whether your goal is to thru-hike the AT or just escape to nature, you’ll leave the tour with backpacking skills mastered

  • By women, for women

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

Available itineraries

Appalachian Trail All-Women Backpacking Trip in North Carolina

Ready for a 6-day Appalachian Trail backpacking adventure near Hot Spring, NC? Under expert guidance, traverse Snowbird Mountain, Max Patch, Walnut, and Bluff Mountains. Return to Hot Springs for a town day, then continue your journey from Allen Gap to Rich Mountain. This all-women tour is perfect for aspiring AT thru-hikers and those who simply want to escape to nature. The tour includes an experienced guide to teach you backpacking skills, transportation during the tour, and a stay in a hikers’ hostel.

  • Meet your Appalachian Trail backpacking guide in Hot Springs, NC around 9 am and get fitted for a backpack and gear, followed by taking a shuttle to the trailhead. Then you’ll hike about 7 miles (11.3 km) to get over Snowbird Mountain to the first campsite, with 2,600 feet (792 m) of elevation gain. You’ll stop during the day for lunch and water breaks before setting up camp for the night.

    Hiking: 7 miles (11.3 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,600 feet (792 m)

    The town of Hot Springs, NC.
  • Make breakfast and break down camp before making your way towards Max Patch. You’ll hike up and over the beautiful wildflower-covered summit of Max Patch and soak in the incredible views! You’ll stop for lunch on the summit and take a break to filter water. After a few hours, you’ll get to the next campsite where you will set up tents, cook dinner, and settle in for the night.

    Hiking: 8.5 miles (13.7 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,600 feet (792 m)

    Max Patch, a bald mountain in North Carolina, along the Appalachian Trail, seen from above, in fall.
  • You’ll make breakfast, break down camp, and make your way through the forests, up and over Walnut Mountain and Bluff Mountain. You will stop for lunch and take breaks along the way, then set up camp for the night. You may wind down with some games or a campfire before heading to bed in your tents.

    Hiking: 10 miles (16 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,000 feet (609.6 m)

    Walnut Mountain, seen from above, along the Appalachian Trail.
  • It’s town day! Your group will first make breakfast, break down camp, and hike to the town afterward. This day is mostly downhill, through the winding forest trail and back to Hot Springs. You’ll hike into town and head to the Laughing Heart hiker hostel for the day, where you can relax, shower, and have dinner at a restaurant. Your cars will be parked here, so you can resupply for the second leg of the trip.

    Hiking: 7.5 miles (12.1 km)
    Elevation gain: 1,000 feet (304.8 m)

    River and a small town of Hot Spring, North Carolina, along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
  • You’ll leave town after breakfast and take a shuttle north to Allen Gap. Then you’ll begin to hike south towards Rich Mountain. The campsite is near the summit of Rich Mountain, where there is a fire tower you can climb to get great views of the surrounding mountains.

    Hiking: 6.5 miles (10.5 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,500 feet (762 m)

    A tent on a clearing along the Appalachian Trail, in North Carolina.
  • Wake up before the sunrise on the last day and put on headlamps to hike in the dark to the Rich Mountain Fire Tower. At the top of the tower, you can make a hot cup of coffee and watch the sunrise over the mountains. After breakfast, your group will hike down the mountain and back to Hot Springs, a mostly downhill stretch back to the hostel where you’ve parked the cars. The tour will conclude by 2pm. Celebrate your achievements with your guide and fellow hikers. Leave the trail with countless memories for years to come.

    Hiking: 8.7 miles (14 km)
    Elevation gain: 800 feet (243.8 m)

    Rich Mountain fire lookout, shrouded in fog.
Appalachian Trail All-Women Backpacking From Max Patch to the Roan Highlands

Join an 8-day Appalachian Trail backpacking adventure starting in Hot Spring, NC. Under expert guidance, traverse Max Patch and spend two nights camping nearby. Return to Hot Springs for a town day, then continue your journey from the Indian Grave Gap and Beauty Spot on to the Roan Highlands with its iconic mountain balds. This all-women tour is perfect for aspiring AT thru-hikers and those who simply want to escape to nature. The tour includes an experienced guide to teach you backpacking skills, transportation during the tour, and a stay in a hikers’ hostel.

  • Meet your Appalachian Trail backpacking guide in Hot Springs, NC around 9 am and get fitted for a backpack and gear, followed by taking a shuttle to the trailhead. After a shuttle, hike over the beautiful wildflower-covered summit of Max Patch and soak in the incredible views! Afterward, hike on to the first campsite. You’ll stop during the day for lunch and water breaks before setting up camp for the night.

    Hiking: 6.7 miles (10.8 km)
    Elevation gain: 1,855 ft (565 m)

    The town of Hot Springs, NC.
  • Make breakfast and break down camp before making your way towards your next campsite. You’ll stop for lunch during the hike and take a break to filter water. After a few hours, you’ll get to the next campsite where you will set up tents, cook dinner, and settle in for the night.

    Hiking: 9.8 miles (15.8 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,534 ft (772 m)

    A backpacker breaking down her tent in a forest near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
  • After breakfast and breaking down the camp, hike back to Hot Springs. Your group will go to a restaurant for lunch (not included in trip price) and stay in a hiker hostel for the night (included in trip price). Spend the day exploring Hot Springs, NC, which is an authentic Appalachian Trail town with several shops and restaurants, as well as a mineral spring spa. Here, you’ll resupply for the rest of the trip.

    Hiking: 2.9 miles (4.7 km)
    Elevation gain: 692 ft (211 m)

    River and a small town of Hot Spring, North Carolina, along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
  • After breakfast, your group will shuttle to Indian Grave Gap to start the next leg of the hike (1 hour 10 minute shuttle drive). Today, it’s hiking over the aptly named Beauty Spot, where you can take in the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and hills. Afterward, hike to the next campsite. Set up a camp, eat dinner and share some campfire stories!

    Hiking: 5 miles (8 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,275 ft (693 m)

    Sunset over the Unaka Mountains, Appalachian Trail, Tennessee.
  • The next two days, you’ll backpack the section of the trail roughly between the Beauty Spot and the Roan Highlands. By now, you will have gotten used to the backpacking life! Early mornings with coffee and breakfast, hikes in gorgeous landscapes with a lunch stop, setting up a camp followed by dinner and quality time with fellow women backpackers.

    Hiking: Day 5 – 12.1 miles (19.5 km); Day 6 – 7.7 miles (12.4 km)
    Elevation gain: Day 5 – 2,813 ft (857 m); Day 6 – 3,150 ft (960 m)

    A forest in the Roan Highlands, near the Appalachian Trail.
  • After breakfast, continue hiking. On Day 7, hike over the Roan Highlands, which include a series of iconic mountain balds. These grassy mountain top meadows are full of wildflowers and offer great views of the surrounding mountains. You’ll cross Round Bald, Jane Bald, Little Hump Mountain, and Hump Mountain. Enjoy the last evening and night in the wilderness—your adventure finishes tomorrow.

    Hiking: 13.3 miles (21.4 km)
    Elevation gain: 2,620 ft (799 m)

    View of hills and forests covered in mist of the Roan Highlands as seen from the Jane Bald.
  • After breakfast, your group will hike down the mountain and to the road crossing for a shuttle pickup. The tour will conclude in the early afternoon in Hot Spring, NC. Celebrate your achievements with your guide and fellow backpackers in a bar or a restaurant. Leave the trail with countless memories for years to come.

    Hiking: 2.9 miles (4.7 km)
    Elevation gain: 492 ft (150 m)

    A happy group of Appalachian Trail backpackers and their guide, smiling.
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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.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking/backpacking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 6 or 8 days of hiking and backpacking on a section of the Appalachian Trail from Hot Spring, NC
      • Transportation from Hot Springs, NC to the trailhead and back to Hot Springs after the end of adventure
      • One-night stay in rustic hiker hostel with bunks, showers, and shared community spaces
      • Pre-hike virtual orientation to discuss planning and preparation

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Hot Springs, North Carolina
      • Accommodation before and after the adventure — if applicable
      • Meals
      • Backpacking equipment — can be rented
      • Guide gratuities — the industry standard is 15-20%
  • In order to participate in these guided all-women backpacking trips along a section of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, you need to be in very good physical condition. You should be someone who hikes regularly and often in hilly terrain. For the 6-day tour, you will hike between 6 and 9 miles (10-14 km) a day for six consecutive days, with elevation gains of up to 2,500 feet (762 m), and while carrying a loaded backpack. The 8-day tour involves hiking between 3 and 13 miles (5-20 km) a day, with elevation gains of up to 3,200 feet (975 m). Backpacking experience is not a prerequisite for this tour, but it is recommended that you have some basic backpacking knowledge (like setting up a tent or what kind of gear you need) and experience of 2-day backpacking outings.

    To prepare for this tour, we recommend engaging in cardiovascular activities and strength training. We would especially encourage you to go hiking while carrying a loaded backpack. It
    Is also useful to go camping for one night in some familiar area close to you.

    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.

  • For backpacking gear, you need to bring:

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

    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
      • 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 the weather forecast before the start day of the tour.

  • Backpacking gear is not included in the price of these tours. However, you can rent a comprehensive backpacking gear package for the duration of the tours during booking. The package costs $300 and 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 8:1, while the maximum number of participants is 8.
      • It takes a minimum of 2 people for this tour to operate.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Backpacking a section of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina 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, where your tour starts, most people fly into Asheville Regional Airport, which is a 45-minute 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 at 9am on Day 1, followed by a shuttle to the trailhead.

  • 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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