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GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, TENNESSEE

A Hiking Adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #2263RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Challenging
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Equipment Requirements
Appropriate outdoor clothing and personal hiking gear.

Itinerary for Sep 8 — Sep 13, 2013

Expand all
Type: Campus/Dorm

Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.

Contact info:
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org

Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open dormitories, each with their own bathroom. There are separate sections for men and women. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.

Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls

Additional nights before:
Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 08 - Orientation and Expectations
Afternoon: Arrive between 3pm and 5pm

Dinner:

Evening: Introductions Expectations for the week Sign-up for hikes (choice of 3 hikes each day) Social

Lodging: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Campus/Dorm

Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.

Contact info:
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org

Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open dormitories, each with their own bathroom. There are separate sections for men and women. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.

Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls

Additional nights before:
Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 09 - First Hiking Day
Breakfast:

Morning: Laurel Falls to Little Greenbrier Trail, easy to moderate, 6.9 miles After an approximately mile-long hike on a cement path, this route comes to Laurel Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the park. Whereas most visitors turn around at this point, we will continue on, though no longer on a cement path. As we climb the flank of Cove Mountain we’ll experience a real treat – giant sentinels of buckeye, basswood and tulip trees that thrive in an old-growth forest. Following a steady climb of three miles, the rest of way will be almost entirely downhill. Much of this portion of the hike follows along the national park boundary, which affords glimpses of civilization in one direction and wilderness in the other. After visiting the Walker Sisters homestead, where five sisters lived without modern conveniences well into the 1960s, we’ll come to our end point at Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. Vertical rise: 1300 feet. Vertical fall: 1900 feet.

Morning: Ramsey Cascades, strenuous, 8 miles This is a popular walk alongside the Ramsey Prong of the Little Pigeon River. This hike is strenuous due to length and rocky terrain. It is a steady climb starting out along an old jeep trail and becomes a footpath surrounded by a wide variety of plant life. Moss and lichen cover everything. Between the first and second of the log bridges you’ll see some of the largest trees in the park. This trail also passes through some impressive boulder fields, climbing steadily as it winds back and forth across streams (most have footbridges or should be easy to rock-hop) until the Cascades are reached. These are the highest falls in the park accessible by trail. Vertical rise is 2250 feet in 4 miles.

Lunch: Sack lunch on trail

Afternoon: Return by 4:30 pm

Dinner:

Evening: Presentations, music, storytelling, or other entertainment

Lodging: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Campus/Dorm

Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.

Contact info:
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org

Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open dormitories, each with their own bathroom. There are separate sections for men and women. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.

Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls

Additional nights before:
Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 10 - Second Hiking Day
Breakfast:

Morning: Charlies Bunion, moderately strenuous (very rocky), 8 miles This is another high country hike with great views. It starts on the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap, where President Roosevelt dedicated the national park in 1941. At first, the hike is a steady, gradual climb on a section of the A.T. that gets a good deal of foot traffic. The views are great and the Canadian-zone Spruce-Fir forest you’ll experience walking up the slopes of Mount Kephart is a striking difference from what you’ll see in the lower elevations of the park. The trail is rocky and you need to use caution if it is wet. Vertical rise is 990 feet in the first 2.7 miles.

Morning: Cucumber Gap Loop, moderately easy, 5.3 miles This is one of the finest short loops in the park. After passing several old cabins in the Elkmont historic district the trail follows along the Little River through a beautiful second-growth forest. This section is as flat as it gets in the mountains and offers a wonderful opportunity to meander alongside a beautiful river for several miles. Once the trail crosses rollicking Huskey Branch it meets up with Cucumber Gap Trail and begins to climb, and crosses the branch once more. In places, a lush carpet of spring wildflowers accompanies your ascent to the gap. We will focus on wildflower and tree identification as well as general natural history while walking this beautiful trail. The final 1.3 miles is down hill. Vertical rise: 800 feet in 3.3 miles.

Lunch: Sack lunch on trail

Afternoon: Return by 4:30 pm

Dinner:

Evening: Presentations, music, storytelling, or other entertainment

Lodging: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Campus/Dorm

Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.

Contact info:
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org

Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open dormitories, each with their own bathroom. There are separate sections for men and women. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.

Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls

Additional nights before:
Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, September 11 - Third Day Hiking
Breakfast:

Morning: Mt. Le Conte: Boulevard/Alum Cave, strenuous, 13 miles Mount Le Conte, elevation 6593 feet, is the third highest peak in the park. Climbing the mountain is a traditional trip for many enthusiastic hikers but to make it up and back in a day is very strenuous for those unaccustomed to hiking. The hike starts on the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap; a focal point for most people who visit the Smokies, especially those who have time only to make a few stops and admire the overall beauty of these mountains. This portion of the hike is a steady, gradual climb through the Canadian forest with good views. The Boulevard Trail is a rolling trail following a narrow ridge with steep forested slopes on both sides. The final ascent to the top is very steep. Vertical rise: 1080 feet in 7.8 miles. Alum Cave Trail is downhill but fairly strenuous and the easiest route of return from the summit. The upper portion includes a narrow cleft across a steep open slope with cables for hand-holds. The lower portion includes Alum Cave Bluff and Arch Rock with a pleasant, meandering walk along Alum Cave Creek. Fascinating geological features, great views, rhododendron groves, and a beautiful creek make for a hike full of discoveries. Vertical fall: 2560 feet in 5.5 miles.

Morning: Andrews Bald, easy to moderate, 3.6 miles This is a beautiful high-country walk to a bald that is more accessible than any other bald in the park. The slope down to the bald is easy but somewhat rocky. If raining the rocks can be a bit slippery. You will be walking downhill for the first mile, then across a level saddle with some uphill again to get to the bald. The spruce and fir forest here is characteristic at this 6300-foot elevation when suddenly you come into a grassy, open hilltop. We will spend some time exploring and enjoying the bald along with the views of the national forests of North Carolina and Georgia. Coming back is a steady climb. If time and interest allow, we will hike one additional mile up and back to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park. Vertical rise: 800 feet.

Lunch: Sack lunch on trail

Afternoon: Return by 4:30 pm

Dinner:

Evening: Presentations, music, storytelling, or other entertainment

Lodging: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Campus/Dorm

Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.

Contact info:
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org

Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open dormitories, each with their own bathroom. There are separate sections for men and women. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.

Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls

Additional nights before:
Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, September 12 - Fourth Day Hiking
Breakfast:

Morning: Sugarland Mountain, moderately strenuous (due to length), 12 miles Hiked from top to bottom, Sugarland Mountain Trail is a long leisurely delight. It is only occasionally steep and rocky. Staring in the high country at 5870 feet. This begins in a spruce-fir forest, which is endemic to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The trail follows through old growth forest and a variety of forest types and provides exceptional vistas. Other highlights include huge yellow birch trees, a backcountry trail shelter at Mt. Collins, view of Mt. LeConte and the Little River valley. Near the end of the hike there are also a number of large chestnut oaks and tuliptrees. Vertical fall: 3700 feet in 12 miles.

Morning: Indian Flats Falls, moderately esy, 7.5 miles This hike begins at the end of Tremont Road, the original location of “Tremont” back when it was a booming town for the Little River Lumber Company in the 1920s and 30s. The Middle Prong Trail follows an old railroad grade along beautiful Lynn Camp Prong. In places it is somewhat rocky. Lynn Camp Cascades (also called Panther Falls) can be viewed within the first mile. Further on, the trail crosses Indian Flats Prong on a wide bridge. A series of switchbacks, originally created for the railroad, climb the ridge here. Eventually you come to a short side trail leading to Indian Flats Falls, tucked away in the mountain. There are four falls in all that drop 65 feet and run 170 feet. Vertical rise: 1100 feet.

Lunch: Sack lunch on trail

Afternoon: Return by 4:30 pm

Dinner:

Evening: Presentations, music, storytelling, or other entertainment

Lodging: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, September 13 - Friday/Departure
Breakfast:

Morning: Depart by 9:00 am

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Our Value Promise To You

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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
16 Field trips
8 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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