Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains Trip Details

Introduction

Welcome to North Carolina! 

Begin your journey in Asheville, home to North Carolina BBQ, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and American poet Thomas Wolfe. After taking in the city scape, make your way to the Great Smoky Mountains and get ready to explore the most popular National Park in the United States.

Duration: 4 days, 3 nights

Start: The Beaucatcher Hotel, Asheville, North Carolina
Flying? Plan to arrive at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) by 5:00 pm to meet the group at the hotel for your welcome meeting and to go to dinner.

Finish: The Beaucatcher Hotel, Asheville, North Carolina
Plan to depart Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) -- Asheville, North Carolina day 4 after 4:00 pm.

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration–please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions. 

Airport pick-up & drop-off not included.

What's Included

  • 4 days/3 nights accommodations
  • 1 night in a downtown Asheville boutique hotel
  • 2 nights camping in a single tent
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • Nantahala River Rafting Adventure
  • Nantahala Brewery Tour
  • Entrance into Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Guided Hikes
  • Explore Bryson City
  • Camping Equipment (tents, sleeping pad, cooking supplies)
  • Ground Transportation (private vehicle)
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences community  

Travelers are responsible for airfare to and from Asheville.

Local Transportation, Airport pick-up and drop-off, sleeping bags, and optional activities are not included.


Highlights

  • Eating famous North Carolina BBQ 
  • White water rafting the Nantahala River
  • Exploring the mountain town of Bryson City
  • Hiking to the Lonesome Pine Overlook
  • Exploring the Deep Creek Waterfalls trail
  • Sleep under the stars at a local campsite
  • Visiting a local craft brewery

Is this Trip for You?

This trip is for the traveler who is adventurous at heart. 

You will start with an introduction to Asheville, then head out to the Great Smoky Mountains for activities of all adrenaline levels, from white water rafting to visiting craft breweries. 

-Age requirement: 21+

-Group size: 10-13

-Physical rating: Moderate. There will be some hikes of medium difficulty and whitewater rafting class II and III rapids.


Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip you'll have the opportunity to join a custom Facebook Group and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet in the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a location after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni, and part of our large online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours to hikes, to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Breakfast on the first morning will be served at your hotel. All other breakfasts and dinners will be cooked at the campsite.  As this is a group camping trip, you’ll be asked to participate in preparing the meals as a group.

Sample Camp Breakfast:

  • Eggs, bacon, ham, potato hash browns, local fruit, toast, coffee, tea

Sample Camp Dinner:

  • Taco bar: corn tortillas, rice, chicken, lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, jalapeño 
  • Barbecue: local fish or chicken, sweet corn, salad, baked potatoes

Campgrounds will be BYOB.

We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Some meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.


Transport

You will be traveling by private, locally-owned, ground transportation. There will be early departures on some days in order to optimize time.

  • Private ground transportation to and from Great Smoky Mountain National Park (included)
  • Private ground transportation to and from the whitewater rafting adventure (included)
  • Private ground transportation to included hikes

Taxis and other public transportation are not included unless specified on the itinerary.


Accommodation

You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms while in Asheville and shared two-person tents while camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality. 

Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.

Private room options are available upon request and subject to hotel availability (for an extra charge).


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate in any of our trips.

When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all travelers must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of $200,000 USD for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please ensure that all the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

We recommend using either Wanderwell or World Nomads to purchase your policy. The Wanderwell “Preferred Plan” or the World Nomads “Explorer Plan” will cover all included activities on U30X trips. Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

If you have travel insurance with your credit card we require proof of purchase of the trip in the form of a receipt or credit card statement on a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage, and emergency contact telephone number.


Cancellation Policy

Very Flexible.

Give us at least 30 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 30 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. 

We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 30 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.


Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eateries, and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the regions visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects.


Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill where clean water is available.
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment. 

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and organically inspired when possible.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you Under30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Passports are not required for US residents to visit North Carolina. If you are not a US resident, please make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for 60 days after your trip. Under30Experiences recommends that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your trip.  

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

The tap water in North Carolina is safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep America beautiful. 

Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 USD coverage.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter North Carolina if you are from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests routine vaccines for all travelers. Required vaccines should go through CDC, recommended vaccines should be through your doctor.

More specific health information for travelers to the United States can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Money & Currency

The official currency in the United States is the US Dollar (USD).

We suggest bringing $200 USD in cash to be used at establishments that do not accept credit cards.

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

ATMs are available in the cities and towns we visit. Although you can withdraw cash from any ATM, it's a good idea to come with some local currency just in case.

Remember to call your bank and credit card company and let them know you'll be traveling.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance, and passport/photo ID/Real ID with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in your hotel room. Don’t leave valuables unattended.

Although most parts of North America are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering around any town at night, especially alone. We recommend staying in small groups when traveling at night.

Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.


Weather

The temperature in Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains are relatively similar, and typically only vary by 5 to 10 degrees, making packing for your trip much easier. 

June-October in Asheville and the Smokies is usually pleasant with temperatures ranging from mid-50s at night to low-80s during the day. 

November-May in Asheville and the Smokies are cool with temperatures ranging from low-30s at night to mid-60s during the day.


cultural information

Asheville

The largest city in Westen North Carolina, this eclectic town is located in the Blue Ridge mountains and adjacent to national & state parks, 4 rivers, and 200+ waterfalls, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Asheville has also been named one of the Top Ten Most Beautiful Places in America as well as one of the Top Foodie Cities in America. There is something for everyone in Asheville. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1934 and is home to an estimated 187,000 acres of old growth forest, which is the largest east of the Mississippi River. If you are an animal lover, you’ll be excited to hear that The Great Smokies are home to the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States and the most diverse salamander population outside the tropics. As for its namesake, the name "Smoky" comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and appears as large smoke plumes from a distance. 

Key Phrases in Asheville:

Shopping Cart

  • Buggy

Poached Egg

  • Sunny side down

Tourist

  • Dingbatter

Biscuit 

  • Catheads

Might be able to

  • Might could

Optional Activities

Due to the short nature of this trip, there are no optional activities. Feel free to extend your trip and continue exploring on your own.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to, do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption. If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.


Staying longer or arriving early?

Extend your stay at The Beaucatcher Hotel.

Other options:

Visit the historic Biltmore mansion and gardens.
Walk through the North Carolina arboretum's 434 acres of gardens and nature trails.
Visit the Botanical Gardens at Asheville and enjoy this Appalachian oasis.

Still need to book your flight?

Newsletter

To avoid missing out on special offers and community updates from Under30Experiences, get our newsletter here.


testimonials

MORE THAN 800 FIVE STAR REVIEWS

Heather T.

yelp review

U30X is such an amazing travel community. Once your trip is over, the experience is not. They keep in touch with their alumni & provide platforms for travel questions, personal development, & community connections in your own backyard! If you're a young person looking to travel I highly recommend U30X!

There are not enough ways for me to describe how amazing this company is. After my first trip I always told people, it wasn't about the location, but the experience that u30x gave me. I have some of the best experiences of my life with u30x, and now a passion for travel. Also, their alumni community and groups are awesome too!

Traveling with U30X has been life changing for me. I've made lifelong friends with both travelers and staff. I can't come up with enough good things to say about the company, the people, and the experiences I've had!

Just returned from my second trip with Under30Experiences. My first trip was to the Costa Rica rainforest. My most recent trip was to Iceland. Both trips were such an amazing experience. I loved learning about Iceland and its origins. I enjoy the small groups and I made some great new friends! Recommend them for anyone wanting to travel alone or with a couple of friends.

I was so scared to travel abroad alone and then I came across their website and they made international travel so easy! And the people I’ve met on the trips are some amazing individuals! I’ve done 6 of their trips and plan on continuing to do even more!!

My Hike the Inca Trail trip was beyond amazing, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from a trip. Our leaders made us all feel instantly comfortable, and the group was fantastic. The trip was well planned and the hike was unforgettable. Memories to last a lifetime.

our awesome travelers