23135
North Carolina
Great Outdoor Get-Together: Explore the Smokies
Explore the natural wonders of Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains during this epic weeklong event in North Carolina that combines adventure, culture and history.
Program No. 23135RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,899
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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8 days
7 nights
19 meals
7 B 5 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Social
Bryson City, NC
D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Afternoon: NOC staff will greet you at the Asheville Regional Airport where you will be given your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last minute changes, lodging assignment, and other important information. Board shuttle transportation for a beautiful hour and a half drive to Bryson City, NC where you will settle into your accomodations either at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) or Fryemont Inn.

Dinner: Dinner will be served buffet style at Relia's Garden Restaurant located at Nantahala Outdoor Center. Shuttles will be provided from The Fryemont Inn to NOC.

Evening: The Site Coordinator will greet everyone and lead an orientation. We will review the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and roles and responsibilities. Following the large group orientation, you will be broken into small groups, where your group leader will lead introductions and answer any questions you might have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Shuttles will be provided from NOC to the Fryemont Inn after orientation.

DAY
2
Relaxed: Hike & Leave No Trace Active: Raft & Storytelling
Bryson City, NC
B,L,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Each participant will either be following the "Relaxed Track" Itinerary or the "Active Track" Itinerary as specified in your Welcome Packet and the group break-out during Orientation. Activities subject to change.

Breakfast: At your accommodation, enjoy breakfast to fuel up for the day.

Morning: Outdoor: No Sweat: We will embark on a guided hiking trip that takes advantage of the scenery, flora and fauna located in the Smoky Mountains. Outdoor: Spirited: The crisp and clear waters of the Nantahala River is the destination for a morning of excitement in a guided raft for your introduction to whitewater.

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Nantahala River.

Afternoon: Outdoor: No Sweat: Our Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop will introduce you to the principles of outdoor ethics in a fun and interactive way. Outdoor: Spirited: The afternoon will be spent with Freeman Owle, an expert on Cherokee history, legends and language. His messages often emphasize hope and enlightenment,and his stories reflect his lived experiences and encyclopedic knowledge of Cherokee culture.

Dinner: Dinner at Relia's Garden Restaurant at NOC.

Evening: Feel like a kid again enjoying an evening around the campfire with s'mores telling stories about your day's explorations. After, shuttles will be provided from Nantahala Outdoor Center to the Fryemont Inn.

DAY
3
Relaxed: Raft & Storytelling Active: 6 Hour Hike
Bryson City, NC
B,L,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Comfort around and in the water with confident swimming ability is required. On the hike, expect to encounter unimproved (or semi-improved) trails often narrow with exposed rocks, roots, slippery footing and often continuous uphill hiking.

Breakfast: At your accommodation.

Morning: Outdoor: No Sweat:The crisp and clear waters of the Nantahala River is the destination for a morning of excitement in a guided raft for your introduction to whitewater. Outdoor: Spirited: We will spend the day hiking on a trail that has been chosen by your guide to show off the flora and fauna located in the breathtaking Smoky Mountains. We will likely hike between 3-6 miles on moderate trails.

Lunch: Enjoy deli-style lunch alfresco.

Afternoon: Outdoor: No Sweat:The afternoon will be spent with Freeman Owle, an expert on Cherokee history, legends and language. His messages often emphasize hope and enlightenment,and his stories reflect his lived experiences and encyclopedic knowledge of Cherokee culture. Outdoor: Spirited: Hike continued.

Dinner: Dinner at Relia's Garden Restaurant at NOC.

Evening: Beautiful and Wild Antarctica presented by adventurer and paddlesports competitor, Chris Hipgrave.

DAY
4
Relaxed & Active: Cherokee Culture
Bryson City, NC
B,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Dress for a day exploring Cherokee and thriving culture. Sunscreen is a must and hats and sunglasses are recommended.

Breakfast: At your accommodation.

Morning: Enjoy a full day immersed in Cherokee culture visiting the 1760s Oconaluftee Indian Village and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Your Oconaluftee Village guide will show you the way through the winding paths, flanked by traditional Cherokee dwellings, work areas, and sacred ritual sites. Delight in cultural dances amid the swaying oaks and sycamores. As you wander, interact with the villagers as they hull canoes, sculpt pottery and masks, weave baskets and fashion beadwork. Watch as villagers prepare for war and be amazed by a blowgun demonstration. At the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, experience the 11,000 year old history of the Cherokee people. This cultural and historical tour is full of interactive video, intriguing displays and a full sensory experience.

Lunch: Lunch will be on your own, with the chance to choose from nearby restaurants.

Afternoon: Exploration of Cherokee and thriving culture continues.

Dinner: Dinner at the historic Fryemont Inn in Bryson City, NC. Shuttles will be provided from Fryemont Inn to the NOC after dinner.

DAY
5
Relaxed: Hike, Zip & Lake Kayak Active: Zip & River Kayak
Bryson City, NC
B,L,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Comfort around and in the water with confident swimming ability is required. On the hike, expect to encounter unimproved (or semi-improved) trails with exposed rocks, roots, and slick footing. Mountain Top Zip Line Tour: Weight between 100-250 pounds. Those not comfortable participating in this activity are happy to sit it out. We recommend enjoying shopping at the Outfitter’s Store, reading a book by the river or exploring the campus.

Breakfast: At your accommodation.

Morning: Outdoor: No Sweat:GROUP ONE: Enjoy an easy hike on local trails taking in the scenery our area. Outdoor: No Sweat:GROUP TWO: We will be paddling on Fontana Lake in stable recreational kayaks where instructors will provide techniques for confidence and success. We'll start with a "classroom style" session reviewing the basics of lake kayaking and going over the necessary equipment to enjoy the sport. We will also introduce and study the ecology of our area so we'll be able to identify the plants and wildlife that abound in the Smoky Mountains as we explore the lake in our boats. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP ONE: The morning will find you soaring through the air on NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour. NOC aerial guides will lead you through two miles of unique mountain-to-mountain ziplines that get you out of the forest and into the open air. Enjoy panoramic views of Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The highlight of the trip is our heart-stopping half-mile Mega Zip where you experience one full minute of flying 350 feet above the forest floor. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP TWO: The Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking course begins at the lake where we will become acquainted with more maneuverable whitewater kayaks like you may have seen on the Nantahala River during your rafting trip. The group will learn new maneuvers in these boats, including the ""wet exit", in preparation for a trip on a gentle section of moving water in the afternoon.

Lunch: Enjoy deli-style lunch.

Afternoon: Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP ONE: The afternoon will find you soaring through the air on NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour. NOC aerial guides will lead you through two miles of unique mountain-to-mountain ziplines that get you out of the forest and into the open air. Enjoy panoramic views of Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The highlight of the trip is our heart-stopping half-mile Mega Zip where you experience one full minute of flying 350 feet above the forest floor. Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP TWO: Lake kayaking continued. Outdoor: Spirited:GROUP ONE: The afternoon you will return to the Nantahala River for more whitewater excitement! Your program guides will be with you as you paddle down the 8 mile stretch of the Nantahala River in your own inflatable kayak. Outdoor: Spirited:GROUP TWO: The afternoon will be spent on a small section of mild whitewater applying the skills you learned during your morning lake session.

Dinner: Dinner at Relia's Garden Restaurant at NOC.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Relaxed & Active: Train Excursion
Bryson City, NC
B,L,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Train Excursion and Exploring Bryson City: Dress appropriately for the weather. Train car is open-aired. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are recommended.

Breakfast: At accommodation.

Morning: Experience a relaxing ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through the Nantahala Gorge. This excursion departs Bryson City and travels 44 miles round trip and offers highlights like Horseshoe Curve, Fontana Lake Tressie (a 100 foot high tressle bridge that spans 780 feet across the lake), Little Tennessee River and the Nantahala Gorge.

Lunch: Lunch at NOC Big Wesser BBQ during train layover.

Afternoon: Continue back to Bryson City by train then explore the quaint town on your own.

Dinner: Dinner at the historic Fryemont Inn in Bryson City. Shuttles will be provided from Fryemont Inn to the NOC after dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Relaxed: Hike, Zip & Lake Kayak Active: Zip & River Kayak
Bryson City, NC
B,L,D
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Cabins

Activity note: Comfort around and in the water with confident swimming ability is required. On the hike, expect to encounter unimproved (or semi-improved) trails with exposed rocks, roots, and slick footing. Mountain Top Zip Line Tour: Weight between 100-250 pounds. Those not comfortable participating in this activity are happy to sit it out. We recommend enjoying shopping at the Outfitter’s Store, reading a book by the river or exploring the campus.

Breakfast: At accommodation.

Morning: Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP ONE: We will be paddling on Fontana Lake in stable recreational kayaks where instructors will provide techniques for confidence and success. We'll start with a "classroom style" session reviewing the basics of lake kayaking and going over the necessary equipment to enjoy the sport. We will also introduce and study the ecology of our area so we'll be able to identify plants and wildlife that abound in the Smoky Mountains as we explore the lake in our boats. Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP TWO: Enjoy an easy hike on local trails taking in the scenery our area. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP ONE: The introduction to Whitewater Kayaking course begins at the lake where we will become acquainted to more maneuverable whitewater kayaks like you may have seen on the Nantahala River during your rafting trip. The group will learn new maneuvers in these boats, including the "wet exit", in preparation for a trip on a gentle section of moving water in the afternoon. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP TWO: The morning will find you soaring through the air on NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour. NOC aerial guides will lead you through two miles of unique mountain-to-mountain ziplines that get you out of the forest and into the open air. Enjoy panoramic views of Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The highlight of the trip is our heart-stopping half-mile Mega Zip where you experience one full minute of flying 350 feet above the forest floor.

Lunch: Enjoy deli-style lunch.

Afternoon: Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP ONE: Continue lake kayaking. Outdoor: No Sweat: GROUP TWO: The afternoon will find you soaring through the air on NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour. NOC aerial guides will lead you through two miles of unique mountain-to-mountain ziplines that get you out of the forest and into the open air. Enjoy panoramic views of Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The highlight of the trip is our heart-stopping half-mile Mega Zip where you experience one full minute of flying 350 feet above the forest floor. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP ONE: The afternoon will be spent on a small section of mild whitewater applying the skills you learned during your morning lake session. Outdoor: Spirited: GROUP TWO: The afternoon you will return to the Nantahala River for more whitewater excitement! Your program guides will be with you as you paddle down the 8 mile stretch of the Nantahala River in your own inflatable kayak.

Dinner: Enjoy farewell dinner at NOC's (location determined by weather). An alcoholic beverage (beer or wine) is included in this meal.

Evening: The evening will conclude with a celebration including a live performance by a local musician and a slideshow with photos of the week.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Bryson City, NC
B

Activity note: Prepare to depart and board shuttles to Asheville, NC Airport.

Breakfast: At your accommodation.






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