Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

October 23-28, 2017 • 6 Days • $1990

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.

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WAI Guide Scott Isom presents Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage 2017 at our most recent Tour Presentation.

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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 the Four Points by Sheraton 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 hotel in downtown Asheville
  • 7 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner as listed in itinerary (BLD)
  • 3 walks sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association
  • Fees for walking credit
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • Tips for the coach driver
  • Single Supplements are available: $540

Activities/Visits to:

  • 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
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • Asheville Excursion (Day 1)

Note: While transfers are not provided on this Adventure, we will offer suggestions in our Adventure Advice regarding local companies that provide transfer services to and from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

“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

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class (3 star) hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not included. Travelers will be met at our hotel in downtown Asheville.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

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

Your Guides

WAI Guide Scott Isom on Smoky Mountains Walking Tour

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! Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. Scott will be leading the Smoky Mountains tour with an assistant.

Itinerary

Day 1-Oct 23: Arrive Asheville, North Carolina

You arrive today into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), where you transfer on your own to Four Points by Sheraton 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.

Or, consider arriving into Asheville a day early and join us on an Optional Day 1 Excursion that includes a full day of fun as we enjoy a sanctioned walk (5 or 10 km, rated 3B) 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 for this Optional Day 1 Asheville Excursion is $110 and includes all transportation and entry fees.

Day 2-Oct 24: 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 25: 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-Oct 26: 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 27: Activities from Asheville (BD)

Deep Creek Walk – 3 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

All aboard this morning 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.  Following this resplendent rail journey, we enjoy a short afternoon stroll at Deep Creek in Smoky Mountains National Park.  On the heels of our waterfall walk, we discover rich Native American history and culture at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian on our drive back to Asheville. A tasty Farewell Dinner provides the final touch on this full and fantastic day.

Day 6-Oct 28: 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!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

We are now accepting registrations. Call us to save your spot with a $500 registration. A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted.

Already Early Birded?

If you are among the travelers who submitted a $50 Early Bird deposit, you have until November 10 to secure your spot with an additional $450 (total of $500) registration.

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $100 credit off this domestic mini-Adventure!

Group Travel Credit

If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible for submitting your name in writing to us before you make your $500 registration payment, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit. A full registration payment is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will then be applied to your final statement.

Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Form

To finalize your  official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

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. Most of the walks on this Adventure are guided walks. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. 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, provided by the American Volkssport Association (AVA), which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

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.

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).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

How Is Airfare Arranged?

The official start/finish point for this tour is the Asheville Regional Airport (airport code AVL). We recommend that you contact 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 the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!

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. Debbi Custer 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 debbi@wtpdx.com -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, 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 Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Betins
  • Allianz
  • Travelex
  • 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.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. 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 receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing packet about 2 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.

The splendor of autumn in the Smoky Mountains is unique. 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. Join us in October 2017 as we explore Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage!