Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage
October 19-24, 2020 • 6 Days • Approx $2300-$2500
The delightful North Carolina city of Asheville provides an outstanding base from which to explore the surrounding lush Appalachian and Blue Ridge region, with its diverse forests, vibrant fall colors, rushing mountain streams, plunging waterfalls, and eye-popping scenic drives.
Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage 2020 tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this 2020 tour! An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
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!
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
- All land travel as outlined
- All five nights at a centrally-located superior tourist class hotel in downtown Asheville
- 7 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner as denoted (BLD)
- 3 Walk Routes
- Fees for walking credit (for those collecting AVA credit)
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- All tips for the coach driver and group meals
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. Single rooms are available for a supplement. We also provide a roommate matching service.
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!
- North Carolina Arboretum Walk and 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
A 1:14 guide to traveler ratio
Superior tourist class accommodations for 5 nights in Asheville
7 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Moses Cone Memorial Park
Chimney Rock State Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Ride on Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Blue Ridge Parkway
3 Walk Routes
2 Walking Adventures Guides throughout
Transportation in 40+ pax motorcoaches
Discounts available. See More Details for info.
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
Click on each day for more details.
Day 1: 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 thriving 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.
North Carolina Arboretum Walk and Asheville Food Tour Or, consider arriving into Asheville a day early and join us on an Optional Day 1 North Carolina Arboretum & Asheville Food Tour that includes a full day of fun as we enjoy a sanctioned walk (5 or 10 km, rated 2B) at the well-reviewed North Carolina Arboretum, followed by lunch on our own and an afternoon Asheville Food Tour, which visits seven to eight handpicked downtown restaurants, offering a wide variety of food and beverage tastings. Asheville is becoming well known for its superior culinary scene. Price TBA
Day 2: Activities from Asheville (B)
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 dinner on your own.
Day 3: Activities from Asheville (BL)
Blue Ridge Parkway Walk – 7 km, rated 2C
Today we drive one of our country’s most scenic roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a 469-mile radiant route that links 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 will provide 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 while local storyteller and musician Glenn Bolick performs for our group.
Day 4: Activities from Asheville (B)
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 5: Activities from Asheville (BD)
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 train ride in Bryson City, savoring the delights of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, set amidst the picturesque Nantahala Gorge. Driving back to Asheville, we prepare for a tasty Farewell Dinner, providing the final touch on this full and fantastic day.
Day 6: Depart from Asheville (B)
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!
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! We’ll take 24-28 travelers on this tour, with 2 guides accompanying, offering a guide to traveler ratio of 1:14.
What’s an Early Bird? Early Bird deposits are refundable $50 deposits which serve to hold your spot on this tour until dates and pricing have been confirmed. Once all details on this tour have been finalized, travelers can then register with an additional $450 deposit to bring their total on this tour up to $500.
Traveler Rewards Program
New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].
How is airfare arranged?
The official start/finish point for this Adventure is in Asheville. Travelers will fly into the Asheville Regional Airport (airport code AVL). 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 made available after this tour has been finalized.
What about the walks?
We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. 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. Because these are group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.
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 below:
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
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).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 fee, bringing your deposit on tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.