Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage
October 19-24, 2020 • 6 Days • $2600**
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.
Reserve your spot with a $500 Registration deposit!
Take a virtual tour of the Smoky Mountains!
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 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 the Cambria Downtown Asheville, where you can unpack and unwind for five nights of fun during our Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure!
Pricing is based on double occupancy.
- 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)
- 4 walk routes as listed
- Walking fees for 3 walks for those collecting AVA walk credit (if AVA sanctions approved)
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- 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 $650. We also 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!
- 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
4 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
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. Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. Scott will be guiding the Smoky Mountains tour along with an assistant from Walking Adventures.
Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD stands for meals included, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 1-Oct 19: Arrive Asheville, North Carolina
You arrive today into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), where you transfer on your own to our downtown hotel in 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: Consider arriving into Asheville a day early and join us on an Optional Day 1 North Carolina Arboretum Walk & Asheville Food Tour. We enjoy a full day of fun that includes 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. Estimated price: $135 per person (includes all transportation, entry and walk fees)
Day 2-Oct 20: 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-Oct 21: 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.
Day 4-Oct 22: 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-Oct 23: 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-Oct 24: 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!
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! We will take 24-28 travelers on this tour, with a guide to traveler ratio of about 1 guide to every 10-14 travelers.
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].
General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms
One optional excursion is available during this Adventure: the North Carolina Arboretum Walk and Ashville Food Tour (estimated price: $135). If you would like to participate in this excursion, we have limited space available. To guarantee your place, please let us know your decision at the time you register.
How is airfare arranged?
The official start/finish point for this Adventure is in Asheville, North Carolina. Travelers will fly into and out of the Asheville Regional Airport (airport code AVL). Transfers are not included in the tour price but you should find it easy to take a taxi to our hotel. More details about flight arrangements and recommended travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!
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 guided 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.
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 of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 503-434-6401). For those of you who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.
Other options include:
- 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). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel any tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received. This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.
View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. An email with critical information on flight arrangements and the Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the 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 enclosed 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 one hotel in Asheville’s charming downtown 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. Give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program in October 2020 as we explore Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage!