The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world famous for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, its excellent fall foliage, and many excellent hiking trails (over 900 miles). Designed to give you an overview of one of our most treasured National Parks, hiking there in October is definitely a peak experience. We'll marvel at the fall foliage, hiking at a leisurely pace to enhance our enjoyment of the scenery, take time to take pictures and identify shrubs and trees, and soak our feet in beautiful pools at the edge of waterfalls. Whether you are intrigued by salamanders or birds, waterfalls or mountain vistas, learning about the fascinating cultural history, or just seeking less traveled paths, you will quickly understand why the Great Smokies have been designated both an International Biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site.
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This trip is appropriate for any woman who exercises regularly at a moderate level (such as going for 45 minute brisk walks with hills 3 to 5 days a week), and who either enjoys hiking or is new to hiking and wants to learn in a safe and fun environment. On this trip there is a special emphasis on cultural and natural history. Rating: 1  3 4 5
This trip combines hiking with learning about the natural and cultural history of the area. With lots of instruction and tips to make your hiking more enjoyable, this is an ideal trip for novice hikers and any active woman who loves to be out in the fall foliage. Although peak color is never possible to predict, typically leaves are turning at the higher elevations in early October.
On this trip we stay the entire week in a luxury lodge, perched on a mountainside just outside Gatlinburg. There are 12 private rooms (some with king beds and others with Queens) all with private bathrooms. Amenities include a pool table, a covered porch with rocking chairs and a great view, a hot tub, fireplace, and a large dining and living room. Everyone gets her own bedroom on this trip. Rooms are assigned by lottery.
If you are coming with someone with whom you would like to share a room and bed, there is a 10% discount (limited to 2 people).
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
The guides, Jenny and Deb, were wonderful. They supported everyone in meeting their personal goals for this trip. They made even a slow hiker like me feel comfortable and subtlety helped me exceed what I perceived my to be my limits. I had a great time.
Wonderful supportive group, great lodge, beautiful scenery, interesting hikes, forest bathing
The guides and the other participants were amazing. The lodging was awesome and the pace of the trip was perfect.
The opportunity to spend so much time in nature with an amazing group of women. The guides were incredible, personable, fun, great cooks, interesting, informative, caring. So good!
The knowledge the guides had of the area, the way they worked together to make sure all needs were met. Accommodations were top notch.
The ‘good company’ and excellent guides made the trip special. Interesting women who like to laugh (& sweat) in a gorgeous setting - what could be better!
Heather and Krista went above and beyond to make this trip great for all.
Heather and Krista set the tone for a really great week, from morning to night!
Excellent guides, I always felt comfortable within the group and asking the guides for advice, location was gorgeous and a nice variety of hikes and rafting, etc available.
Our guides were serious about our safety and keeping us informed but so much fun to be with! They fostered camaraderie and sharing and made our week memorable in the best ways
Great guides, great fellow travelers, great adventures, great food, great accommodations
I did not expect the bears at the lodge and that was a very pleasant surprise and one of the highlights of my trip! I especially liked seeing the bear run up a dogwood tree, go out on the limb and eat the berries!! I did not expect the National park to be so crowded either. It was good that we tried to hike trails before the millions of tourist did. I would keep trying to do hikes that are not in the crowded areas, even if it's a longer drive from the lodge.
Wonderful group of fellow participants and fantastic guides. The housing was comfortable, clean and in a lovely settings. Every day was terrific. The food was fabulous and all dietary restrictions were anticipated and accommodated. It was a terrific vacation.
Exceptional interaction with other travelers and with the AGC guides. The scenery was wonderful and the activities were well planned.
I had no expectations, but if I had they'd have been greatly exceeded. So much fun, and so many wonderful memories.
I loved the relaxed feel of this trip. Because we stayed in a chalet the entire week with day-long excursions, we spent spent less time packing and unpacking and more time getting to know each other. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Thanks AGC for arranging to have the mother bear and her cubs visit us at the chalet (LOL)!
White water rafting and the last hike
It was a great trip with great guests and guides. I really enjoyed having my own room and bathroom. The accommodations were excellent.
Loved the rafting, the guides, the cabin, the other ladies
The whole group got along so well and were so much fun. I feel fortunate that it turned out so well. Deb is an outstanding guide, so attentive to everyone's needs.
The lodging was outstanding. The guides were great, and the in house meals were fantastic. Hiking on the AT was fun.
Very well organized and implemented. I was pleased that we were allowed to go at our own pace. Good mix of activities
The rafting was not quite whitewater but we could not control mother nature....
Great guides, perfect accommodations and the smoky mountains. What more can you expect?
Excellent group of participants; guides were fantastic; location and itinerary were great. The lodge was so welcoming and went a long way toward facilitating cohesiveness in the group.
I had hoped to hike on the Appalachian Trail, also to get a feel for the Smoky mountains. Both were accomplished. AGC guides encouraged us to do as much as we felt comfortable doing and were very supportive in helping us accomplish our goals. I wantd to make it to the AT shelter, and I did, and back. Very excited about that.
Watched a bear family (from the safety of our deck), walking on the AT, meeting members of the Baxter family at the Baxter Cabin, sharing great meals with our group, sharing this experience with 13 marvelous women.
Loved the Clingman’s Dome and AT mini-section hike. All the hikes were fabulous. Exactly what I wanted.
I enjoyed the trip because of the camaraderie of the women who participated and the deep forested hikes that we took.
The other travelers, the guides were great, the weather held out and the house was unbelievable
Trip was very well run. Excellent.
Mountain Laurel Chalet was a FANTASTIC locale - just terrific to have our own rooms/bathrooms - lovely locale. Wonderful group of women and wonderful guides - Deb is a fabulous cook! Yum!
The guides, fellow travelers and accommodations were all wonderful!
Seeing so many bears, including on our deck! Great trails and waterfalls. Also, a great group of women to enjoy it with.
I loved the HIKING, the people, the itinerary and GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK and Appalachian Trail. The lodge was very comfortable and liked having laundry capabilities and the HOT TUB...great location, too, and loved my own room.
Exceptional guides who genuinely cared that we had an awesome trip. Itinerary was well-planned and executed. Communication ahead and during the trip was great. Hikes to grotto and laurel falls and hike at nature center was my favorite day but none of the days disappointed