Highlights

  • Famed Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Great Smokey Mountain National Park
  • Land of Waterfalls
  • Historic towns and villages

The Blue Ridge Mountains are the highest range in the eastern United States. Of the 40 peaks over 6000 in the Appalachian Mountains, 39 make up the backbone of the southern Blue Ridge crowding the North Carolina/Tennessee border. They are cloaked with an extremely diverse forest due in part to 80 of annual rainfall on the highest summits. Our introduction to this region is the Land of the Waterfalls where torrents of tumbling water create some lively waterfalls in DuPont State Forest and Ceasars Head State Park. Well travel the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway along the crest of the mountains in Pisgah National Forest enjoying endless views and well hike as high as humanly possible in the east - 6684 Mount Mitchell. The Southern Appalachians are famed for the unique culture and history shaped by the lofty mountains . At Connemara, the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, it feels like the poet and his family are still there, raising prize winning goats and writing books. Meanwhile, the remote community of Cataloochee, ceased to exist with the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but a few of the buildings are preserved to tell their story as the encroaching forest reclaims the land.

Sunday Overnight: Highland Lake Inn

Meet at Asheville Airport or at the hotel for our Introductory Talk and Welcome Dinner.

Monday Overnight: Highland Lake Inn

Our Walk begins with a short hike to see beautiful Raven Cliff Falls from a nearby overlook. Its 400 ft drop makes it the tallest waterfall in South Carolina. We'll follow the trail through rich Southern Appalachian forest, and walk to the edge of the escarpment for a picnic lunch overlooking the piedmont. Bring a camera! Afterwards, we'll head to the Land of Waterfalls. Three of the best, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls await us on this easy-going hike. The trail gets steeper in places, but the footing is good and wooden steps at Triple Falls will get us close to the water.

Tuesday Overnight: Highland Lake Inn

Greet the day at Connemara, the poet Carl Sandburg's beloved farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The house and furnishings have been preserved as they were when the Sandburg's lived there. The farm still raises goats descended from the Sandburg's prize herd. We'll leave the farm on foot, following a network of wooded trails to a picnic spot overlooking Glassy Mountain. After lunch, we visit Graveyard Fields, an unusual scrub forest and open meadow in the high valley, providing a dramatic setting for Second Falls and the Yellowstone Prong of the Pigeon River. The ascent to Black Balsam Knob leads us onto one of the highest of the Southern Appalachian Balds, so named for their grassy or shrubby summits. We'll enjoy a landscape of unobstructed mountain views throughout the hike.

Wednesday Overnight: Grand Bohemian Hotel

Set out on the historic Little Cataloochee Trail to what was an isolated mountain community before the creation of The Great Smokey National Park. Two cabins and a church have been partially restored and are now open for hikers to investigate. We'll also visit an old graveyard where the valley's history is literally written in stone. The presence of numerous elk, turkey, deer, and the occasional black bear, testify to the current wild character of the forest.

Thursday Overnight: Grand Bohemian Hotel

This morning, we explore Craggy Gardens, a mix of gnarled forest with shrubby openings and exposed rock surfaces, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. First, we'll follow the Craggy Garden Trail uphill for about a mile of beautiful forest walking. After stopping to enjoy the views, we'll ride to the Craggy Pinnacle trail, where a short climb through a canopy of rhododendron, leads to one of the most spectacular views of the week. After lunch, we'll make our way to Mount Mitchell. At 6684 ft, it's the highest peak in the eastern United States. An observation tower at the summit provides panoramic views just a short hike from the trailhead. We'll have a look, then enjoy a rare opportunity to walk in the unique climax forest that clings to the highest peaks of the Southern Appalachians.

Friday

Our last day begins with the North Carolina State Arboretum, a state-of-the-art showplace for native and nonnative North Carolina trees and plants. Join the group on one of the many great options for a half-day hike, or just relax and enjoy the Arboretum's many gardens. We'll have a picnic lunch on the grounds before heading to the Asheville Airport. After lunch the Wayfarers with provide transfer to Asheville Airport.
Moderate
The Blue Ridge is noted for having a blue tint, especially when seen from a distance. Trees release isoprene into the atmosphere to create the blue haze.
Terrain: A mix of graded trails to rough mountain trails with occasionally steep stretches and numerous up and downs with elevation gains no greater than 800. Mostly forested with some open shrubby areas. Elevations range between 2400 to 6600 above sea level. 5-9 miles of hiking per day.

TRIP DETAILS

5 nights from
$3,195.00
per person, double occupancy
(Single Supplement $495.00)
Our Wayfarers friends' Price is $3,035.00

Dates

From May 6 to May 11 (more dates)
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Arrival: Asheville
Departure: Asheville

Activities

Walk Classic
North Carolina Blue Ridge Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Highland Lake Inn

Highland Lake Inn

The Highland Lake Inn & Resort is nestled in the western mountains of North Carolina, with easy access to Asheville. Set on 26 scenic acres this lakeside resort offers a place to rest, relax and explore. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, outdoor tennis, on-site dining, massage services, arcade/game room, billiards and paddle boats to explore the Highland Lake. Lodging in the Woodward House provides the warmth and elegance of a bed and breakfast. The living room and lobby feature a fireplace, sunroom and full kitchen. These 16 guest rooms each have their own character of Victorian dcor. Room amenities include complimentary breakfast, ensuite bathroom, free wifi, air conditioning, coffee maker, hairdryer, flat screen TV with TV, mini fridge and a pillow menu. The Seasons Restaurant on site proved a premier dining experience with fresh local ingredients of seasonal herbs, fresh vegetables and edible flowers picked from their own organic garden.

Grand Bohemian Hotel

Grand Bohemian Hotel

Located in downtown Asheville, the Grand Bohemian Hotel is a boutique hotel just minutes from the Blue Ridge Mountains and the historic Biltmore Estate. This Tudor style hotel features a grand lobby with rustic dcor and an oversized stone fireplace. There is an onsite art gallery with original works from local artists. Room decor is a blend of traditional luxury and contemporary style including antler chandeliers and custom furnishings. Room amenities includes pillowtop bedding, sleek marble bathroom, plush robes, free wifi. Enjoy time relaxing in the Poseidon spa or working out in the fitness center. The Red Stag restaurant is on site and uses locally sourced farm-to-table ingredients. This hotel has a smoke free policy.

Start planning your trip

What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants