North Carolina

Hike, Raft & Ride: The Great Smoky Mountains With Your Grandchild

Share your passion for the great outdoors with your grandchild as you hike, raft, ride a historic railroad and learn the story of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
Program No. 23531RJ
5 days
Starts at
999 / ADULT
649 / CHILD
5 days
4 nights
11 meals
4B 3L 4D
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At a Glance

Over the river, and through the wood — to the Great Smoky Mountains we go! Share the rugged mountains of western North Carolina with your grandchild as you hike and raft your way into memories that will last a lifetime. Experience the thrill of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokies as you raft crystal-clear water through the forested river gorge, hike on the Appalachian Trail and summit Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee. When not on the trail, learn about what life was like for the Cherokee and early European settlers in authentic villages and enjoy a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 4 miles on rocky uphill terrain; elevation above 6,000 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Venture into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to hike along the Appalachian Trail and view the remnants of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
  • Dive deep into Cherokee history and culture as you explore the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
  • Journey to Bryson City to ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad across fertile valleys and over Lake Fontana to go river rafting on the Nantahala River.
Featured Expert
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Freeman Owle
Born and reared on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Freeman Owle received a master’s degree from Florida State University. After teaching in the Cherokee school system, Freeman now teaches and lectures on Cherokee history and legends throughout the United States. He enjoys stone and wood carving, a legacy of his Cherokee ancestry.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Freeman Owle
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Sue Wasserman
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Lindsey Ebaugh
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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.
The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears
by Theda Perdue and Michael A. Green
Appalachian Trail Trees & Wildflowers
by Waterford Press Inc.
Handy for a pocket or backpack, this durable, fold-out reference features flora and fauna that travelers will likely encounter on the Appalachian Trail.
A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson
The entertaining account of Bryson's hike up the Appalachian trail, combining biting satire with a certain warmth. A fond memoir and a very entertaining read.
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.
Great Smoky Mountains Wildlife
by James Kavanagh
A folding wildlife guide designed for quick reference in the field. With full-color images and text, it features more than 140 creatures often seen in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Birth of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains
by Carlos C. Campbell
The Great Smoky Mountains national park is among the nation's favorites. This is the story of how the beloved park came to be.
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.

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