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What better way is there to enjoy early fall than with a group of adventurous women on the trail and around the campfire? Climb mountains, ford streams, and recharge your batteries while marveling at the natural wonders around you.

Join two experienced naturalist guides and discover the beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park firsthand during this three-day (two-night) beginner backpacking adventure. Our guides will provide the tools you need to succeed during this adventure, including “how-to” information, permits, food, transportation to and from the trail, and group equipment (including tents, cooking equipment, backpacks, and sleeping pads.) They’ll also provide extensive knowledge of the Smokies ecosystem we will be traveling through. All you need is a desire for adventure, a willingness to learn, personal clothing and gear (including a sleeping bag). 

No former backpacking experience is needed, but you should be physically and mentally prepared to carry a 40-pound backpack for 5-8 miles a day over rugged, mountainous terrain. The route is different every year and there is no easy terrain in the Smoky Mountains. You can expect a moderate difficulty and total mileage between 15-20 miles over the weekend. We hope that you will leave feeling accomplished and ready to continue exploring the mountains on your own.

What can you expect? We will start our trip at Tremont Institute, where we will help you pack your gear, go over our route, and get to know the other women you will be traveling with. The next morning, we’ll enjoy breakfast and then we’re off! The first day is generally no more than 5 miles – this will allow us some relaxation time at our first campsite. The second day is designed to push you, and will probably be the most difficult of the trip; you will hike 6-8 miles along mountainous terrain in higher elevations so that we can see spectacular views of the mountains and the beautiful fall colors. On our final day, we will hike 5-7 miles, generally on easier terrain so that we can return to Tremont with time for showers and good-byes before your departure.

Cost: $490
Registration includes instruction and meals inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Register Online


Already Registered? Check out the welcome letter for required reading, a tentative itinerary, and other essential details for your stay.

Important Information Regarding Programs During COVID-19

During this prolonged period of pandemic and isolation, our work of connecting people and nature has never felt more essential. We are making safety a top priority for visitors and staff — for the latest details about our COVID-19 response and policies, visit our COVID-19 updates page.


Cover image by David Bryant.

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