Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage

October 25-30, 2021 • 6 Days • $2550

The delightful North Carolina city of Asheville provides an outstanding base from which to explore the surrounding lush Appalachian and Blue Ridge region, with its diverse forests, vibrant fall colors, rushing mountain streams, plunging waterfalls, and eye-popping scenic drives.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

The Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina offer a treasure trove of outdoor delights that can be enjoyed during any season of the year. Autumn in the Smokies especially brings out the vibrant personality of this lush Appalachian region, with its fantastic fall foliage. Asheville, nestled in the middle of this wonderland, serves as an excellent venue for a six-day mini Adventure. Within the town itself are numerous art museums, delectable culinary choices, and the magnificent Biltmore Estate, which is a 250-room French chateau built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s.

Within close driving range to Asheville are a host of other terrific destinations to explore, including the dazzling Blue Ridge Parkway, rugged Linville Gorge, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Smoky Mountains Railroad, Chimney Rock, and the wonderful waterfalls of DuPont State Forest. All of this, and much more, will be explored from our home base at our hotel in downtown Asheville, where you can unpack and unwind for five nights of fun during our Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure!

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • All five nights at a centrally-located superior tourist class hotel in downtown Asheville
  • 6 meals: all breakfasts and 1 lunch as denoted (B)reakfast and (L)unch
  • 3 walks
  • Fees for walking credit (for those collecting AVA credit)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tips for the coach driver and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $840. We provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Visits to/Admission Fees:

  • Biltmore Estate and Winery (largest privately-owned house in the USA)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (one of America’s most scenic drives)
  • Linville Falls
  • Moses Cone Memorial Park
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest
  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and Park
  • More fun stops than we can list!

“WAI always takes you to interesting places, tours are well planned, tour guides are exceptional, and volksmarchers generally make good traveling companions…Another great WAI Adventure!”

-John F; Anchorage, AK


“Well planned – Good operation and office staff and guides show much care and concern for the traveler.”

-Jim L; Port Orange, FL


“Great combination of education and exercise, augmented by congenial travel companions…Great venue, personable, knowledgeable guides.”

-Mary Jane R; Orchard Park, NY


“Excellent pre-planning, reasonable cost, knowledgeable tour leaders, good group size, friendly intelligent participants.”

-William R; Orchard Park, NY


“We were very well informed during the tour, Scott did a wonderful job with the information he provided.”

-Al & Sharon M; Ellicott City, MD


“Organized, thoughtful people, lovely traveling companions!”

-Rowena M; Bedford, IN

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Contact Us

Important Info

Group Size

Maximum 18 travelers in a full size motorcoach

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotel for 5 nights in Asheville

Meals

7 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner as denoted (BLD)

Airfare

Not included. The start/finish point for this tour is our hotel in Asheville. The closest airport is the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

Transportation

Included. For groups of 12 to 18, we use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 50+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guide

Scott Isom has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Currently living in Puyallup, Washington, Scott loves to explore the unknown, knows how to have a good time, and enjoys including others in the fun! As one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners, Scott has led tours on all 7 continents. “The Smoky Mountains during fall foliage season have always been near and dear to my heart,” reflects Scott. “The combination of colorful deciduous forest, quiet trails, dazzling waterfalls, and the surprisingly hip and vibrant Asheville scene make it a top-notch place for an adventure!”

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. BL refers to meals included, Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 1: Arrive Asheville, North Carolina

You arrive today into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), where you transfer on your own to our hotel, located in downtown Asheville, one of America’s most welcoming and vibrant cities.  This thriving mountain town serves as our base for all five nights of the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure. Feel free to enjoy the eclectic and artsy vibe of downtown on foot from our nicely-situated hotel.  Our first group activity is a welcome reception this evening after you’ve had dinner on your own.

Day 2: Activities from Asheville (B)

Biltmore Estate Walk – 7 km, rated 2B

Delight in the grand and gracious grounds of Biltmore, America’s largest home (250 rooms!), during a morning walk and afternoon guided tour of this impressive estate. Stroll through Frederick Olmsted-designed gardens, a newly renovated conservatory, and along Biltmore paths and trails that aren’t normally seen by visitors, finishing with an impressive walk through this massive chateau built by George Vanderbilt at the end of the 19th century.  In addition to soaking up the wonderful hues of autumn, you also have time to visit Biltmore’s historic winery before we return to our hotel for dinner on your own.

Day 3: Activities from Asheville (BL)

Blue Ridge Parkway Walk – 7 km, rated 2C

Today we drive one of our country’s most scenic roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway, a winding, bucolic 469-mile road linking Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our day-long journey covers some of the most delightful sections of the Parkway as we enjoy a spectacular loop that also includes stops at dramatic Linville Falls, Moses Cone Memorial Park, and the iconic Linn Cove Viaduct. Walking among these gorgeous vistas provides plenty of wow moments!  Along the way, we treat you to a bit of Appalachian culture and cuisine with an included lunch at Woodlands BBQ.

Day 4: Activities from Asheville (B)

Chimney Rock & DuPont Forest Walk – 10 km, rated 2C

Prepare for more jaw-dropping scenery today amidst the truly spectacular waterfalls and granite formations of Chimney Rock and DuPont State Forest.  The fabulous footpaths and stunning landscapes of these North Carolina locations have been featured in the film “The Hunger Games” as well as the 1992 movie “Last of the Mohicans” (starring Daniel Day-Lewis). Transylvania County, home of DuPont State Forest, is known as the “Land of Waterfalls” and boasts over 250 cataracts scattered throughout its deciduous forests, including Triple Falls and High Falls, two of today’s featured stops.

Day 5: Activities from Asheville (B)

Smoky Mountains Walk – 3 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

This morning we enjoy one last Smoky Mountains riverside stroll before discovering the region’s rich Native American history and culture at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Then it’s all aboard this afternoon as we embark on a train ride in Bryson City, savoring the delights of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, set amidst the picturesque Nantahala Gorge.  Back to Asheville, enjoy an evening on your own or join us for a no-host dinner gathering to recall shared experiences and reminisce about our adventures amongst the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage.

Day 6: Depart from Asheville (B)

Like the wonderful hues of autumn, our short seasonal Adventure comes to a colorful close. Following our final breakfast, feel free to arrange your transfer back to hometown reality via the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). Thank you for sharing the history, culture, and spectacular scenery of our Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Adventure!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To register, a transferable $200 deposit is required to hold your spot. This amount is non-refundable; however, up until 60 days before departure, it can be transferred to a different tour.  A final payment is due 60 days before departure and you will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.

An email with critical information on flight arrangements will be sent soon after registration, with important details about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

Unique Aspects of This Tour

Other than the beautiful Smoky Mountains lit up with fall foliage hues, what makes this itinerary unique is that it is both relatively short (6 days/5 nights) and easy to offer from a single hotel in delightful Asheville. One you unpack, you don’t have to pack up again until we finish our Smoky Mountain Adventure. What could be better than that!

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are hand-crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination–the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see but touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, local walking guides amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Difficulty

Walking boots with good ankle support are strongly advised. Though most of our walks are on well-traveled and maintained trails, there will be some rocks and roots to contend with once in a while. Walking sticks are recommended for Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock, DuPont State Forest, and Smoky Mountains due to segments of the walks that might have occasional challenging footing.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. Because these are group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Tour Accommodations

The fall foliage of the Blue Ridge, waterfall wows, granite grandeur, forested trails, Native American history, Biltmore Estate, and the comfort of lodging all five nights at one hotel in Asheville’s charming downtown all add up to a great excuse for an Appalachian holiday.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start/finish point for this Adventure is in our hotel in Asheville. Travelers will fly into the Asheville Regional Airport (airport code AVL).

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provides air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape have caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

The Our Approach to Fun but Prudent Travel document identifies and explains Covid-19 mitigation policies and procedures WAI is using as a starting point for our 2021 tours. Because the knowledge base about COVID-19 changes daily, we review these policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and will, of course, notify travelers on tour of updates as we approach the departure date of your tour.

Contact our office with any questions at 360.260.9393 or [email protected].

COVID-19 Travel Waiver

During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates worldwide reports and conditions on an ongoing basis. Please read Our Approach to Fun but Prudent Travel document before signing the COVID-19 Travel Waiver. Participation in this tour requires your signature on the COVID-19 Travel Waiver.

Contact our office with any questions at 360.260.9393 or [email protected].

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. You will be able to make that payment online or over the phone as well. Any other payments necessary for optional services or one-off decisions can also be made this way.

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. You will be able to make that payment online or over the phone. Any other payments necessary for optional services or one-off decisions can also be made either way.

A Flight Arrangements email with critical information on booking your flights will be sent soon after registration, as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email.

About 70 days before departure, you will receive a final statement reminder about the final tour payment, which is due 60 days before departure. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the itinerary. The splendor of autumn in the Smoky Mountains is unique. The fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Parkway, waterfall wows, granite grandeur, forested trails, Native American history, Biltmore Estate, and the comfort of lodging all five nights at out boutique luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Asheville, all add up to a great excuse for an Appalachian holiday.  In the end, we think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Join us for this Walking Adventure program in October 2021 as we explore Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage!