Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

October 23-28, 2022 • 6 Days • $2,850

The delightful North Carolina city of Asheville provides an outstanding base from which to explore the surrounding Smoky Mountains. This Appalachian and Blue Ridge region is blessed with vibrant autumn-hued forests, rushing mountain streams, plunging waterfalls, and eye-popping scenic drives.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

The Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina offer a treasure trove of outdoor delights that can be enjoyed during any season of the year. Autumn in the Smokies especially brings out the vibrant personality of this lush Appalachian region, with its fantastic fall foliage. Asheville, nestled in the middle of this wonderland, serves as an excellent venue for a six-day mini Adventure. Within the town itself are numerous art museums, delectable culinary choices, and the magnificent Biltmore Estate, which is a 250-room French chateau built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s.

Within close driving range to Asheville are a host of other terrific destinations to explore, including the dazzling Blue Ridge Parkway, rugged Linville Gorge, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Smoky Mountains Railroad, Chimney Rock, and the wonderful waterfalls of DuPont State Forest. All of this, and much more, will be explored from our home base at our hotel in downtown Asheville, where you can unpack and unwind for five nights of fun during our Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure!

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • All five nights at a centrally-located superior tourist class hotel in downtown Asheville
  • 2 lunches and 1 dinner as denoted: (L)unch and (D)inner (NOTE: breakfast is not included on this Adventure but is easily purchased from the cafe in the hotel or from the bakery across the street.)
  • 4 walks (plus optional Day 1 Asheville walk)
  • Fees for walking credit (for those collecting AVA credit)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tips for the coach driver and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $725.  We provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

 

Visits to/Admission Fees:

  • Biltmore Estate and Winery (largest privately-owned house in the USA)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (one of America’s most scenic drives)
  • Linville Falls
  • Moses Cone Memorial Park
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest
  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and Park
  • More fun stops than we can list!

 

Optional Excursion

  • Intro to Asheville Guided Walk (Day 1)
  • Asheville Food Tour (Day 1)

“WAI always takes you to interesting places, tours are well planned, tour guides are exceptional, and volksmarchers generally make good traveling companions…Another great WAI Adventure!”

-John F; Anchorage, AK


“Well planned – Good operation and office staff and guides show much care and concern for the traveler.”

-Jim L; Port Orange, FL


“Great combination of education and exercise, augmented by congenial travel companions…Great venue, personable, knowledgeable guides.”

-Mary Jane R; Orchard Park, NY


“Excellent pre-planning, reasonable cost, knowledgeable tour leaders, good group size, friendly intelligent participants.”

-William R; Orchard Park, NY


“We were very well informed during the tour, Scott did a wonderful job with the information he provided.”

-Al & Sharon M; Ellicott City, MD


“Organized, thoughtful people, lovely traveling companions!”

-Rowena M; Bedford, IN

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

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Important Info

Group Size

Maximum 22 travelers in a full size motorcoach

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotel for 5 nights in Asheville

Meals

3 meals: 1 lunch and 2 dinners as denoted (LD)

Airfare

Not included. The start/finish point for this tour is our hotel in Asheville. The closest airport is the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

Transportation

Included. We use a full size motorcoach

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guide

Scott Isom has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Currently living in Puyallup, Washington, Scott loves to explore the unknown, knows how to have a good time, and enjoys including others in the fun! As one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners, Scott has led tours on all 7 continents.

“The Smoky Mountains during fall foliage season have always been near and dear to my heart,” reflects Scott. “The combination of colorful deciduous forest, quiet trails, dazzling waterfalls, and the surprisingly hip and vibrant Asheville scene make it a top-notch place for an adventure!”

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. LD refers to meals included: Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 1-October 23: Arrive Asheville, North Carolina

You arrive today into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), where you transfer on your own to our hotel, located in downtown Asheville, one of America’s most welcoming and vibrant cities.  This bustling mountain town serves as our base for all five nights of the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure. Feel free to enjoy the eclectic and artsy vibe of downtown on foot from our nicely-situated hotel.  Our first group activity is a welcome reception this evening after you’ve had dinner on your own.

Consider arriving into Asheville a day early (October 22) to join us for two fun introductions to Asheville!

Intro to Asheville Walk
The local walking club offers a delightful urban trail that serves as a fine introduction to Asheville (7 or 10 km, rated 2A). It features the architecturally rich Art Deco district of Asheville along with the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival stylings of the Montford Area Historic District. WAI guide, Scott Isom, will lead this walk, sharing tidbits gleaned from numerous prior visits. Price: $20 per person

Asheville Food Tour
Several prior groups have benefited from this fun and filling afternoon Asheville Food Tour. We visit seven to eight handpicked downtown restaurants with an engaging local guide, sampling a wide variety of food and beverages. Asheville is well known for its superior culinary scene and was recently named the number one food destination in the U.S.. ~Price: $75 per person. NOTE: The  Food Tour is currently limited to the first 15 people.

DAY 2-October 24: Activities from Asheville (D)

Biltmore Estate Walk – 7 km, rated 2B

Delight in the grand and gracious grounds of Biltmore, America’s largest home (250 rooms!), during a morning walk and afternoon guided tour of this impressive estate. Stroll through Frederick Olmsted-designed gardens, a newly renovated conservatory, and along Biltmore paths and trails that aren’t normally seen by visitors, finishing with an impressive walk through this massive chateau built by George Vanderbilt at the end of the 19th century.  In addition to soaking up the wonderful hues of autumn, you also have time to visit Biltmore’s historic winery before we return to our hotel for an included group dinner in downtown Asheville.

DAY 3-October 25: Activities from Asheville

Chimney Rock & DuPont Forest Walk – 10 km, rated 2C

Prepare for more jaw-dropping scenery today amidst the truly spectacular waterfalls and granite formations of Chimney Rock and DuPont State Forest.  The fabulous footpaths and stunning landscapes of these North Carolina locations have been featured in the film “The Hunger Games” as well as the 1992 movie “Last of the Mohicans” (starring Daniel Day-Lewis). Transylvania County, home of DuPont State Forest, is known as the “Land of Waterfalls” and boasts over 250 cataracts scattered throughout its deciduous forests, including Triple Falls and High Falls, two of today’s featured stops.

DAY 4-October 26: Activities from Asheville (L)

Blue Ridge Parkway Walk – 7 km, rated 2C

Today we drive one of our country’s most scenic roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway, a winding, bucolic 469-mile road linking Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our day-long journey covers some of the most delightful sections of the Parkway as we enjoy a spectacular loop that also includes stops at dramatic Linville Falls, Moses Cone Memorial Park, and the iconic Linn Cove Viaduct. Walking among these gorgeous vistas provides plenty of wow moments!  Along the way, we treat you to a bit of Appalachian culture and cuisine with an included lunch at Woodlands BBQ.

DAY 5-October 27: Activities from Asheville (L)

Smoky Mountains Walk – 3 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

This morning we enjoy one last Smoky Mountains riverside stroll before discovering the region’s rich Native American history and culture at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Then it’s all aboard this afternoon as we embark on a first-class steam train ride in Bryson City, savoring not only the delights of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, but also an included lunch and dessert as we journey along Fontana Lake and through the picturesque Nantahala Gorge. Back to Asheville, enjoy an evening on your own or join us for a no-host dinner gathering to recall shared experiences and reminisce about our adventures amongst the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage.

DAY 6-October 28: Depart from Asheville

Like the wonderful hues of autumn, our short seasonal Adventure comes to a colorful close. Following our final breakfast, feel free to arrange your transfer back to hometown reality via the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). Thank you for sharing the history, culture, and spectacular scenery of our Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $200 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 100 days before departure and is non-refundable once paid. You will receive a reminder email from us a week or two in advance. Do to high demand for hotels rooms during fall foliage season, Asheville hotels require earlier payments and WAI therefore requires an earlier final payment than our standard tour conditions.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

Unique Aspects of This Tour

Other than the beautiful Smoky Mountains lit up with fall foliage hues, what makes this itinerary unique is that it is both relatively short (6 days/5 nights) and easy to offer from a single hotel in delightful Asheville. One you unpack, you don’t have to pack up again until we finish our Smoky Mountain Adventure. What could be better than that!

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are hand-crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination–the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see but touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, local walking guides amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Difficulty

Walking boots with good ankle support are strongly advised. Though most of our walks are on well-traveled and maintained trails, there will be some rocks and roots to contend with once in a while. Walking sticks are recommended for Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock, DuPont State Forest, and Smoky Mountains due to segments of the walks that might have occasional challenging footing.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks that are oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

Tour Accommodations

The fall foliage of the Blue Ridge, waterfall wows, granite grandeur, forested trails, Native American history, Biltmore Estate, and the comfort of lodging all five nights at one hotel in Asheville’s charming downtown all add up to a great excuse for an Appalachian holiday.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start/finish point for this Adventure is in our hotel in Asheville. Travelers will fly into the Asheville Regional Airport (airport code AVL). Details about flight arrangements will be made available once we reach a viable participation level.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options for travel insurance include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape have caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels the Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

COVID-19 Policies for This Tour

Walking Adventures International official policy is to endeavor to mirror any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

We are not aware of any COVID-19 policies or restrictions that will impact this tour in the Smoky Mountains.

Requirements and restrictions have been fluid. WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

Travelers participating in the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage tour must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

About 4 months before departure, you will receive a final statement reminder about the final tour payment, which is due 100 days before departure. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure. Do to high demand for hotels rooms during fall foliage season, Asheville hotels require earlier payments and WAI therefore requires an earlier final payment than our standard tour conditions.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the itinerary. The splendor of autumn in the Smoky Mountains is unique. The fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Parkway, waterfall wows, granite grandeur, forested trails, Native American history, Biltmore Estate, and the comfort of lodging all five nights at out boutique luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Asheville, all add up to a great excuse for an Appalachian holiday.  In the end, we think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Join us for this Walking Adventure program in October 2021 as we explore Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage!