Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Epic Treks

Hike the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains

Tackle the highest section of one of the world's great long distance trails through a classic American national park

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Trip Ref #10110

Adventures / Epic Treks

Hike the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains

Tackle the highest section of one of the world's great long distance trails through a classic American national park

DURATION

3 nights

LOCATION

United States

ANNUAL LEAVE

2 days off work

SEASON

Jun-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 6 people

MEETING POINT

Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport, Tennessee

ACCOMMODATION

Wild camping · Glamping

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

Anyone with good fitness levels for hiking with a pack for an overnight backcountry stay

Hike a spectacular section of the historic Appalachian Trail and pass its highest point beneath Clingmans Dome

Hike through old growth forests and experience backcountry camping in one of America's most picturesque national parks

Keep an eye out for black bears, salamanders, coyotes, deer, bobcats and elk while on the trail

Included

Guides

Expert naturalist guides with wilderness first responder training.

Accommodation

2 nights backcountry wild camping, and 1 night in luxury safari style tents

Meals

Enjoy tasty food throughout with all your meals included

Transfers

Transfers to and from Knoxville Mcghee Tyson Airport, and everything in between

Equipment

We'll provide all the group equipment you need for your backcountry camping including tents, sleeping mats and cooking items.

Permits

All national park entry fees, backcountry camping fees and permits

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

The Area

Logistics

Starts

McGhee Tyson Airport, Knoxville (TYS)

12pm on Day 1

Ends

McGhee Tyson Airport, Knoxville (TYS)

16:00 on Day 4

Transfers

Your host will meet you at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee at 12pm on Day 1 so please book a flight that arrives before 11.30 am. Alternatively, you can be collected at your accommodation in Knoxville at 10:30 if you are already in town.

Your trip ends back at McGhee Tyson Airport at 16:00 on Day 4. We recommend booking a flight that leaves after 17:30 to ensure you have enough time. Alternatively you can be dropped at your accommodation in Knoxville if you are staying on.

Travel options

There are direct flights to McGhee Tyson Airport, Knoxville (TYS) from across the US and Europe.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

Day 1

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Glamping · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Evening meals around the campfire will be based around rice and pasta dishes with fresh vegetables. For breakfast there will be eggs, pancakes and fruit. Lunches will be meat-based sandwiches, unless you request a vegan/vegetarian option. During the adventure you'll be kept topped up with delicious, local snacks. Water, tea and coffee are all provided, as well as wine and beer in the evenings.

Vegetarian, vegan and most dietary requirements can be accommodated on this trip.

What is the accommodation like?

Backcountry wild camping

For your first two nights, you'll stay at a backcountry camp site. You'll carry your own tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat - and everyone will muck in to help set up and take down camp.

Luxury Glamping in Great Smoky Mountains

Your final night will be spent at a luxury glamping site called 'Under Canvas' situated amongst 182-acres of lush, wooded terrain and just a few minutes from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The safari style tents are shared on a twin or triple basis.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private tent just for the backcounty camping (nights 1 and 2) can be requested. Or you can also request a solo tent and your own Glamping Safari tent for all three nights of the trip.

See Optional Extras for prices. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Tennessee!

Hiking

2-3 hours · 4 miles

Your host will meet you at Knoxville Mcghee Tyson Airport and whisk you straight off to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The afternoon will be spent enjoying a hike around the wooded trails in the National Park, before setting up your tent. In the evening, you'll enjoy getting to know the group around the campfire and your guides will brief you on tomorrow's big hike.

Day 2

Head out into the backcountry on the Appalachian Trail

Hiking

7-8 hours · 10 miles

Today you'll follow the historic Appalachian Trail along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, taking in the misty blue vistas of 'The Smokies'. After an amazing day of hiking you'll arrive at your backcountry campsite ready to cook a well earned dinner around the campfire before another night sleeping out in the wild.

Day 3

Continue along the Appalachian Trail

Hiking

7-8hrs · 10 miles

Today you'll continue along the Appalachian Trail with the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains for company again, eventually making your way out of the backcountry. The evening will be spent back in the lush, wooded area at your luxury glaming spot. You've earned it!

Day 4

One last hike before heading back to Knoxville

Today you can either have a leisurely morning at the camp spot or, if you still have life left in your legs, you can squeeze one last hike in before it's time to head back to Knoxville for your departing flight.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

What's included?

We'll provide your tent, sleeping mat and cooking equipment

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag (see Optional Extras for prices)

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (35+ litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag or rucksack / drybags

Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Warm hat
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

Sleeping

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping bag (2-3 season)
  • Travel pillow or pillowcase (optional)

Other

  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellant
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry out)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 ltr
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks

The terrain isn't too challenging, though you will be ascending and descending along the trail whilst carry a pack loaded with your gear for camping overnight, so you'll need to have decent fitness levels.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. The amount to tip is entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip in the USA; your guides will rely on tips for a considerable portion of their income.

We suggest to budget for 10%-20% of the trip cost as a guideline.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

There is drinking water available at your glamping site on the final night.

You will be expected to carry extra water and there are water sources near most campsites where we can resupply. Guides will bring filters for the group. You just need to bring reusable water bottles to fill up throughout.

In July and August you can expect cool mornings followed by warm pleasant daytime temperatures. Summer days are typically sunny, with an occasional thunderstorm. Daytime highs are mostly in the 70s Faranheit (20-25 Celcius), occasionally creeping up to the 80s (late twenties Celcius)

September is a little cooler, particularly in the mornings and evenings while camping out, so bring extra layers of clothing. October can vary, often getting cold in the mornings and evenings but comfortable during the day. Dress in layers to adapt to changing temperatures!

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations. Thi is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

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Transferrable Deposits

Cancel up to 60 days before departure and we'll transfer your deposit into credit for a future booking.

Free Date Changes

Free date changes up to 60 days before departure.

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