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20552
North Carolina

Discovering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Explore highlights of the Park from the height of Clingmans Dome to the depth of Cataloochee Valley: view historic structures, natural ecosystems, and reintroduced elk.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20552RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
849
North Carolina

Discovering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Explore highlights of the Park from the height of Clingmans Dome to the depth of Cataloochee Valley: view historic structures, natural ecosystems, and reintroduced elk.
Length
6 days
Starts at
849
Program No. 20552 RJ
climate
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5B 4L 5D
4
Deep Creek, Waterfalls
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
5
Purchase Knob, Free Time
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
6
Program Concludes
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
View Full Itinerary

At a Glance

Join historians, naturalists and other local experts on an extraordinary adventure in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Learn about its human history and exploration on visits to Newfound Gap, Oconaluftee River Valley and Cataloochee Valley. Gain insight into ongoing environmental conservation efforts at a National Park Service research station.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Walk along sections of the Kephart Prong and Appalachian Trails with our naturalist as we learn about the importance and formation of the park and its ecosystems.
  • Visit a historic Civilian Conservation Corp camp site which had been in use during the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and learn the history of logging in the forest where portions of cables and rails remain.
  • Observe protected elk in Cataloochee Valley and participate in a Citizen Science Research Project at Purchase Knob.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Newcomb's Wildflower Guide
by Lawrence Newcomb
A classic identification guide, which uses a simple dichotomous key for identification. With 1,075 mostly black-and-white drawings, it covers the Northeast and Great Lakes region, south to Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and most of Tennessee.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map
by National Geographic Maps
A durable, detailed map of the North Carolina national park, shown at a scale of 1:70,000.
Scientific Papers of Asa Gray
by Asa Gray
A posthumous two-volume collection of lesser-known reviews, essays and biographical sketches by the influential American botanist. First published in 1889.
The Great Smoky Mountains, A Visual Journey
by Deedee Niederhouse-Mandrell, Lee Mandrell
The Mandrell husband-and-wife photography team feature remarkable photographs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in this new coffee table book. Their images span all four seasons and show the wonderful park's awe-inspiring sight.
Travels, and Other Writings
by William Bartram
Hailed as the "finest-looking, longest-lasting editions ever made" this edition of the early American naturalist's work includes his four-year-long journey through the southern colonies in the late 1700s.
Our Southern Highlanders
by Horace Kephart
A classic book of history and folklore of the mountaineers of the southern Appalachians. Kephart is considered the premier folklorist and historian of the area. First published in the 1910s.





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