Did you know that REI offers guided backpacking trips in the Great Smoky Mountains? If you’re new to the park, or new to backpacking, this is a great way to explore the Smokies with experienced and professional guides.
REIs challenging Appalachian Trail tour follows the crest of the western Smoky Mountains. Along the way participants visit Clingmans Dome, Derrick Knob, Thunderhead Mountain, Rocky Top and Spence Field. Along the way hikers stay in backcountry shelters, and REI provides breakfast and dinners. The trip is considered challenging for experienced backpackers or very fit beginners. REI runs this guided trip about a dozen times this year, but half are already sold out.
For a backpacking excursion that’s a little less challenging, and a little more family friendly, REI introduced a new three day backpacking loop hike this year, designed for families with children ages 9 and up. The trip starts and ends in the Big Creek area, and includes a visit to the Mt. Sterling fire tower. Along the way hikers pass by old growth Hemlock and Spruce trees, streams, pools and cascading waterfalls. There are still two dates available for this year; however, you do have the option of organizing a privately guided trip.
For those seeking the ultimate in adventure, REI offers an introductory course in rock climbing in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. During this two-day course participants spend time at Looking Glass and Cedar Rock, two areas ideal for beginner climbers. The course is run by professional instructors that are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, and have many years experience in teaching “Rock Climbing 101”. All meals, camping accommodations and required technical equipment are provided. Several dates are still available.
For more information on these guided trips, as well as a variety of other adventures in national parks and outdoor areas across the country - and around the world - please click here.