North America Vacations
North Carolina | Blue Ridge Mountains | Adult Only
Hike through the mountainous landscape to view thundering waterfalls and rich forests that cover the southeastern Blue Ridge Mountains
6 Days / 5 Nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Moderate to Challenging
Combine the best of both natural and man-made worlds on this down-home North Carolina adventure. Enjoy experiences in the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains, quaint southern smalltowns, and an extravagant historical estate boasting beautiful architecture. Traipse through the rolling landscape to view thundering waterfalls and rich forests that cover the southeastern Blue Ridge Mountains. Overlooks on your hikes will get you “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing at the vast country sprawling beneath you. After getting your fill of the wild North Carolina scenery, immerse yourself in an insider’s look at America’s largest private home, Biltmore Estate. This property will no doubt remind you of extravagant European architecture and the royals who resided within. Take a tour inside the mansion and enjoy a bike ride outside to get a comprehensive experience of the Biltmore grounds. This captivating six-day vacation will have you wanting to return after you hear “Y’all come back now!” from the locals.
- Hike to Linville Falls that tumbles and thunders down three tiers of rock nestled in a forest
- Get a bird’s eye view of the rolling forested hills that make up the Blue Ridge Mountains as you hike up Rough Ridge Trail
- Paddle along Price Lake in a canoe or kayak, surrounded by tranquil wooded hills that frame the lake
- Delight in the aromas and rich bodied tastes of local wine at a wine tasting
- Venture into the iconic Grandfather Mountain State Park and take a breathtaking walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge that is suspended above an 80-foot chasm
- Choose to trek up the more challenging MacRae Peak or stroll through the Grandfather Mountain Zoo to say hello to the animals
- Walk amongst “the Chimneys”, natural dramatic rock formations featured in Linville Gorge’s Canyon rim
- Step back into history as you explore Biltmore Estate, an architectural jewel, on an immersive tour where you can view the ins and outs of the property
*Operating under permit in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina
**The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202_ 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
A few more reasons you gotta go:
The Blue Ridge Parkway: This 469-mile National Parkway is an All-American Road that you've gotta see to believe. The views are unreal!
Linville Gorge: Known as "The Grand Canyon of the East," this scenic and rugged wilderness is as awe-inspiring as it is beautiful.
The Biltmore Estate: An exclusive, behind-the scenes tour with a knowledgeable expert will answer any questions you might have about America's largest privately owned home.
Asheville, North Carolina AVL
Asheville, North Carolina AVL
Asheville / Linville Falls / Blowing Rock
Morning pick-up at your Asheville Hotel. Travel one hour to Linville Falls, a spectacular three-tiered waterfall plunging into the Linville Gorge. Here, we prepare for a hike to the falls nestled in dense rock and forest where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. Next, we shuttle to the Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive,” featuring long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Hike up Rough Ridge Trail where you’ll have stunning landscape views of rolling hills studded with trees as far as the eye can see. Transfer to Blowing Rock before checking into Chetola Resort. Dinner is prepared at Timberlake’s, a beautiful timber-framed setting.
About Chetola Resort Lodge
Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock is a 78-acre resort within walking distance of the quaint mountain village of Blowing Rock and surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Our group will reside in the Chetola Lodge during our stay which includes 42 well-appointed rooms with views of Chetola Lake or overlooking the beautiful grounds. Those staying at Chetola Resort have access to the Highlands Sports and Recreation Center, Chetola Lake, and the onsite trails which adjoin with 3,600-acre Moses Cone Park. The indoor heated pool, dry sauna, and Jacuzzi beckon guests after a day spent exploring the wilds of North Carolina.
Price Lake / Linville Falls / Blowing Rock
Dive into today’s activities right away by hopping in a kayak or canoe this morning for a paddle along nearby Price Lake’s shoreline. Afterward, enjoy a guide-prepared picnic lunch. Wet your palate afterward with a trip to a nearby winery for a wine tasting before having time to wander around Blowing Rock. This charming small town has plenty of niche shops and boutiques to nose around in. Tonight you’ll feast at The Speckled Trout.
Grandfather Mountain State Park / Blowing Rock
Today’s activities revolve around hiking in Grandfather Mountain State Park. Grandfather Mountain has been an icon in North Carolina’s landscape for generations, offering stunning scenery and unmatched ecological diversity. To start our day, we can’t miss a trip across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension bridge spanning an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. Afterward, we’ll begin our short, but challenging trek to MacRae Peak. Everyone will begin the scenic first half of the hike together; the second half is where the terrain gets challenging and is not for the faint of heart. You’ll embark up a series of cables and steep ladders to eventually summit MacRae Peak – quite the accomplishment! Those who don’t choose to get their adrenaline pumping on the second half of the trail will check out the nearby Grandfather Mountain Zoo. This evening you’ll be rewarded with some downtime all to yourself before enjoying dinner together at a local restaurant.
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area / Biltmore Estate / Asheville
Get ready for another hike as we shuttle to Linville Gorge Wilderness Area this morning. Trek up Table Rock Mountain on this out-and-back trail. Your summit will be a rewarding, expansive birds-eye view of the forested, rolling wilderness that lies before you. After lunch back at the base, we’ll transfer back towards Asheville where we check into our next accommodation: Antler Hill Village at Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore Estate is spread out across 8,000 acres and includes a French Renaissance castle built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. Antler Hill Village is an area on the estate that highlights George Vanderbilt’s farming legacy and our centrally located lodging is just steps away from the Winery, restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities galore. Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own at one of the nearby restaurants on the estate.
Antler Hill Village at Biltmore
The newest accommodation on the Biltmore Estate, the Village Hotel is located about two miles from the Biltmore House in the Antler Hill Village. A casual and relaxing way to extend your Biltmore experience, Antler Hill Village connects the estate’s past and present with dining, shopping, exhibits, the Farmyard, the Winery, and more. The Village Hotel is just a short stroll away from all that charming Antler Hill Village has to offer and is the perfect home base from which to enjoy Biltmore’s 8,000-acre estate. The hotel’s amenities include a fitness center, heated outdoor pool, access to The Spa Biltmore (at the nearby Inn), and plenty of lovely in-room amenities that are sure to make your stay enjoyable.
Biltmore Estate / Asheville
This morning, a local historian leads our small group on a private behind-the-scenes tour through the Biltmore House. The Biltmore is an architectural jewel and the largest privately-owned house in the United States featuring nearly 179,000 square feet of floor space including 250 rooms. After we’ve spent a morning learning the fascinating stories of the Biltmore Estate, we’ll sit down to lunch at the Stables Café, a restaurant that was once the estate’s horse stable. This afternoon, take a stroll among the ground’s gardens to ponder the history of the place. Then, hop on a bike to pedal through the undulating trails of the estate with your guides. Enjoy a special delicious dinner with your guides tonight in Asheville to celebrate the end of a wonderful trip!
Biltmore Estate / Asheville
This morning, you may opt to enjoy a walk on the Biltmore Estate with your guides or choose to sleep in and eat a leisurely breakfast. Then it’s time to say our fond farewells, or as they say in the Carolinas… “Y’all come back now”! Your guides will drop you off at Asheville’s airport or hotels.
*Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather, and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts at 8:00 or 8:15 am, depending on your hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Asheville airport (12:00 pm) or your Asheville hotel (12:30 pm).
Hiking: 1 to 3 miles per hike with moderate terrain; sometimes multiple hikes will be done in one day. The most challenging trek on this itinerary is the hike/climb up MacRae Peak on Day 3. This trek is only 2 miles round trip but takes 3+ hours due to the challenging 2nd half of the trail which features stretches of cables and ladders to reach the summit. There is a “bailout” option on this trail and those who do not wish to summit can hike half of the trail and spend the latter part of the day exploring the Grandfather Mountain Zoo.
Biking: There is 1 bike ride on the afternoon of Day 5 on this trip. With over 20 miles of biking trails on the Biltmore Estate, there are plenty of options for exploring the estate by bike and your guides will help you choose a distance and route that’s right for you.
Kayaking/Canoeing: No experience necessary. The lake is calm and flat: perfect for beginners!
Discovery: Gain an understanding of the wild species and plant life that call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. Hear interpretations of the land from your guides as you explore Grandfather
Mountain and the Swinging Bridge, a historical landmark of the region where you can indulge in 360- degree panoramic view of Grandfather Mountain and an 80-foot chasm. Learn about the rich southern history of Asheville and the legend behind Blowing Rock. Spoil your tastebuds with local wines from Linville Falls Winery and hear about the local vineyards. Experience the grandeur of Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private home and French Renaissance chateau built by a Vanderbilt in the late 1880s which would be passed down among Vanderbilt generations.
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all
equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions – except one dinner on your own – are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire, and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets, and other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags, and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities, and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- One dinner on your own.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
North Carolina Expert
As President of Austin Adventures, Kasey Austin can tell you the logistical ins and outs of every single trip. More than that, though, Kasey has lived and breathed most of the company’s featured destinations and will eagerly share her contagious passion for the transformational power of active travel. Kasey grew up in the adventure travel business; she knows the positive, lifelong impact of family travel, a quality that earned her the distinction of being named top family travel guide by Outside Magazine in 2014.