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Hiking and Camping in Great Smoky Mountains NP

Great Smoky Mountains NP | Tennessee
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to hike in Great Smoky Mountains NP

  • Trip Highlight

    Hike a picturesque portion of the legendary Appalachian Trail

  • Trip Highlight

    Discover Great Smoky Mountain NP’s sensationally diverse flora and fauna

  • Trip Highlight

    Over 80 challenging and extremely varied hiking trails at your disposal

Straddling the rugged border of Tennessee and North Carolina as part of the southern Appalachians, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most biodiverse parts of the US, tailor-made for guided tours and backpacking trips. The area has over 800 miles of hiking trails, encompassing more than 70 miles of the iconic Appalachian Trail. The trails include riverside strolls, forest treks, ridge walks, high-altitude summits, and much more. These wildflower meadows and old-growth forests are also home to a wide array of wildlife, including salamanders, bobcats, deer, and even black bears! Hiking this small sampler of the Appalachians is sure to leave you hungry for more.

Season

October

Nearest city

Knoxville, TN, is an hour away from the Smoky Mountains National Park

Duration

5 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Hiking and Camping Tour of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

5 days

Enjoy a demanding but rewarding hiking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! On this advanced hiking adventure, you’ll take several excursions to the Great Smoky Mountains’ top objectives, such as Gregory Bald and Shuckstack, with a seasoned hiking guide. Get ready for four days of wildlife-spotting and hiking in a section of the legendary Appalachian Trail, and three nights of chilling in cozy campsites, eating great food, and stargazing deep into the night!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Knoxville to Great Smoky Mountains NP

Arrive in Knoxville, TN, where you’ll meet your guide by noon. Stop for a lunch break in Knoxville (lunch not included) before continuing on to the Smokies. Warm up for the adventures ahead with a short, 2-mile (3.2 km) hike to your first backcountry campsite.
Meals included: Dinner

A bear on some rocks in Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 2: Gregory Bald

This morning, head out bright and early to summit Gregory Bald, known for its spectacular flame azaleas and stunning views of the surrounding hills. Spend the rest of your day hiking down to your riverside campsite to enjoy another night in the Smokies.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Flame azaleas on Gregory Bald in Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 3: Shuckstack Lookout

Drop your heavy pack and travel the approximately 7 miles (11 km) to Shuckstack Lookout, a fire tower with amazing views of the nearby Fontana Lake, as well as the surrounding mountains. Finish your day with another great meal back at camp.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The view from Shuckstack lookout in the Smoky Mountains

Day 4: Long Hungry Ridge

Your last day of hiking will also be your most strenuous. Today, you’ll make your way out of the backcountry the same way you came in, moving over Long Hungry Ridge, a beautiful ridge trail with several serene creeks, and back to your van. After this 8 mile (13 km) hike, drive to your glampsite for a much-needed shower and some sleep.

Some glamping huts in Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 5: Farewell

After a final breakfast, your guide will take you to Knoxville for goodbyes before you fly home!

Sunset on a meadow in the Smoky Mountains
Reviews

Reviews (3)

Vasili K. about Good Trip Adventures on Facebook

Planning with Good Trip was a breeze. Communication leading up to my hike was great and my tour was completely customized to what I was looking for. Amy was great during and the staff went out of their way to accommodate me.

Erin G. about Good Trip Adventures on Facebook

Well thought out and fun trips with Good Trip! I can’t recommend them enough. Good Trip Adventures will take your vacation to the next level!

Cait D. about Good Trip Adventures on Facebook

Such thorough, safe planning! Real pros and really fun! Can’t recommend them highly enough!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, please refer to the US international travel guidelines for COVID-19 and the COVID-19 guidelines for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • A seasoned naturalist hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Four days of hiking
    • Transportation from Knoxville, TN, to the park and back
    • Round-trip transportation for the duration of the tour
    • All meals included in the itinerary
    • Tent, sleeping pad and group camping equipment
    • Park entry fees and permits

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to Knoxville
    • Personal hiking and camping gear
    • Meals not included in the itinerary

How fit do I need to be?

This strenuous adventure is suitable for people with great physical fitness and prior hiking experience. You will be spending 8 hours a day on the trails, hiking distances of up to 10 miles, and overcoming 2,500 ft (760 m) of elevation change. Keep in mind that you’ll also be carrying a heavy pack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day. If you’re new to hiking, why not try this beginner-friendly hiking tour near Asheville, NC?

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 15-30L bag)
    • Luggage (can be left in the vehicle, 1 small suitcase per person)
    • Pack cover
    • Hiking boots
    • Sandals or camp shoes
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Warm down, puffy, or fleece jacket
    • Waterproof rain or shell jacket
    • Breathable wicking base layers
    • Lightweight hiking pants
    • Warm hat and brimmed sunhat
    • Buff or neck scarf — optional
    • Hiking poles — optional
    • Reusable water bottle
    • Biodegradable and scent-free toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, etc.)
    • Small first aid kit and blister kit — optional
    • Headlamp
    • Sleeping bag rated to 15°C (available to rent from your guide for $50)
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • For this adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 6:1.
    • It takes a minimum of 4 people for a tour to operate. The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 are only permitted to join private hikes. They 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.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A 35% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

    • For cancellations thirty (30) calendar days in advance, the Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of eighty percent (80%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
    • After that deadline, the Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to the Great Rocky Mountains National Park, most people fly into Nashville International Airport 5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car, take a bus or take a local flight to Knoxville, TN, where you will meet your guide for transfer to the park.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
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