Lake Junaluska
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An American Treasure
Visit a Cherokee living history museum, walk a section of the Appalachian Trail, learn about the region’s ecosystems and see for yourself what makes the Smoky Mountains so great.
Rating (4.5)
Program No. 20552RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lambuth Inn

Afternoon: Registration is 3:00-4:30 in the hotel lobby. Orientation begins at 4:30.

Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel dining room, buffet style, with a variety of food choices. Enjoy panoramic views of the mountains of western North Carolina.

Evening: Meet your host-coordinator and expert trail guide. Get an idea of what is in store for you in the week ahead.

Oconoluftee Village, Great Smoky Mountains, Cherokee Museum
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lambuth Inn

Activity note: The Cherokee culture is the focus of the morning's exploration of the Great Smokies. We will stroll beside the cool stream that turns the mill stones at Mingus Mill and visit original homestead buildings. the evening brings a focus on the history & development of the GSMNP.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room, served buffet style. A variety of offerings to fuel your day.

Morning: Visit Oconluftee Village, tour the Cherokee Museum and the Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center. Learn about human history in the area.

Lunch: Take a short stroll to Collins Creek Picnic Area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy a box lunch picnic.

Afternoon: Visit the old Farmstead and Mingus Mill as you walk back to the Village.

Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel dining room, buffet style. Enjoy sweeping views and a wide selection of foods.

Evening: Meet Greg Kidd from the Great Smoky National Park and learn about development of the national park itself. This will augment and expand on what was learned at the visitor center earlier that day. Greg will show a beautiful slideshow presentation.

Hike the Great Smoky Mountains
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lambuth Inn

Activity note: We walk through one of the Civilian Conservation Corp camp sites, traces of the lodgings remain, reclaimed by the forest. A portion of the famous Appalachian Trail is our afternoon stroll.

Breakfast: Start your day with a hearty meal and beautiful views of Lake Junaluska as it reflects the day's beginning.

Morning: Spend part of the day on the Kephart Prong Trail. This is a moderate walk up to 4 miles round trip along a branch of the Oconoluftee River, past a former CCC camp, fish hatchery and remains of a logging railroad. There are narrow, elevated bridges over the creek.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch picnic at the shelter.

Afternoon: Continue exploring as we venture onto the Appalachian Trail for a 2 mile trek and experience a different ecosystem above 4,000. Your expert guide continues to point out a variety of flowers, edible plants and wildlife.

Dinner: Enjoy a leisurely meal in the hotel dining room, serve buffet style.

Evening: Relax with an evening of entertainment.

Field Trip to Deep Creek
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lambuth Inn

Activity note: Waterfalls, plant forms & geology highlight today's offerings in the GSMNP, one of the most diverse bio-regions in the world.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the hotel dining room, serve buffet style.

Morning: Field trip to tread trails at Deep Creek. Enjoy seeing waterfalls as you explore along this Appalachian Hardwood Forrest.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: Continue discoveries through the western end of the Smoky Mountain National Forrest. Your guide will share natural history of the geology of this region as well as point out flora to admire.

Dinner: Enjoy an evening banquet in the dining room at the hotel. This is a special time to celebrate your shared experiences so far this week.

Evening: Evening class with an Education Coordinator from the Appalachian Highlands Research Learning Center. Orientation on the on-going research that records the effects of pollution on various plants and animals. This hour-long class is in preparation for the visit to the Research Center tomorrow.

Purchase Knob, Science Learning Center, Cataloochee Valley
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lambuth Inn

Activity note: We visit Purchase Knob, a NPS scientific research station in the morning. The afternoon is spent at Cataloochee Valley and the restored homes, school & church of the settlers who were relocated when the park was formed. Evening brings Elk!!!

Breakfast: Start the day with a nourishing breakfast, served buffet style in the hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Purchase Knob, one the scientific research stations in the National Park System. Participate in collecting data for on-going research that records the effects of air pollution in the Great Smoky Mountains on plants and animals.

Lunch: Return to the hotel for a buffet-style lunch.

Afternoon: Late afternoon, depart for Cataloochee Valley. Continue with research walking down to move through trees and over rocks near a stream and recording the salamander population. Hike up hill back to the research station's lab to continue recording data on the animals that show the effects of pollution.

Dinner: Continue your explorations with a Park Ranger as you explore some of the remaining buildings from the early part of the 20th century before the area became part of the National Park. Learn about the elk, which have been reintroduced to the Park at Cataloochee. Enjoy a box dinner in the valley.

Evening: View and photograph the elk herd as they emerge into the valley at dusk to graze.

Morning Class, Program Concludes
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Breakfast: Breakfast served buffet style with a variety of choices in the hotel dining room.

Morning: Morning class: "Literature and Films of the GSMNP" concluding with a wrap up session.