Why hire a guide?

A Walk in the Woods has taken over 55,000 people out into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. People often tell us that they have hiked for years but after they hiked with a guide, they felt that their experience was so much richer. Anybody can walk through an art museum and enjoy the beauty. However, when you learn a little about art, the experience is deeper and more rewarding. Our guides are trained naturalists who will show you the small worlds that operate inside what is considered to be the most bio-diverse place in the temperate zone. We will point out plants only found in this area, have you taste delicious wild foods and teas, introduce you to nature's perfume, and have you come away with a more complete understanding of this amazing place. The things you learn and experience on your walk with us will further enhance the rest of the time you spend in the Park, and in nature itself.


Where do we meet for walks and hikes?

We do not meet at A Walk in the Woods office. We meet at a location convenient to your walk. Some of the most common meeting places include the Sugarlands Visitors Center, the Greenbrier entrance to the Park and the Cosby campground. When you make your reservations, we will email you a confirmation which includes directions to the meeting place. Please give yourself ample time to get to the area, as traffic in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and in the Smokies can get heavy during peak tourist season.


Can I use my GPS to find the meeting point?

No! Please don't try to use a GPS to get to the various trail heads. For some reason, they can be inaccurate for the area and will often lead you miles out of your way.


What is provided on your walks and hikes?

A knowledgeable professional guide. Most walks include nut-based snacks, walking sticks and emergency ponchos. We can provide lunch on half day and full day programs for a small additional fee.

What should you bring on walks and hikes?

Comfortable walking shoes or boots. Drinking water. Poncho or other light rain gear. Layers for upper elevation walks and hikes. Camera and extra batteries! A day pack or bag to carry your things in.

Do you go rain or shine?

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a temperate rain forest. As a result, our trips go out rain or shine. We strongly recommend rain jackets or at least ponchos. We do not go if there is a serious thunderstorm or blizzard. We never go if the conditions are hazardous, and we do not charge for real weather related cancellations.


What is your cancellation policy?

All outings with A Walk in the Woods are meant to be enjoyable. We do not charge for serious weather related cancellations. 

For Hikes, Walks and Shuttle Service : For reasons other than weather, walks canceled by clients within 48 hours of scheduled departure will be charged 50% of cost. Walks canceled by clients within 24 hours of scheduled departure will be charged full cost.

Cancellation policy details for Large Groups, Classes and Backpacking trips are included in the written quote and confirmation.



Do your guides accept tips?

If you're happy with the hike, it is the best way to show your appreciation.


Is transportation provided?

Generally, the group will meet at a central location and than follow the guide via vehicle to the trailhead. We do offer transportation from most Gatlinburg locations for a small extra fee based on availability. Please make arrangements when you book.


Is my car safe at the trail head?

Overall, the Park is a very safe place to leave a vehicle. The Park gets over 4 million cars a year. On average, there is only about 150 reported break ins. The ones that do get hit tend to have something of value visible in the cab section of their car. We suggest that you leave as much out of view in the cab of your vehicle as possible, either in your trunk, or hidden from view.


Should we be worried about bears?

All our guides are trained in techniques to travel through bear country safely, and will share that with you.


Where can we see a bear?

The Smokies have somewhere between 1,600 and 1,800 black bears. However, they are in their most wild and natural state, afraid of humans and solitary. Bear location and activity level varies by the season, and by what food sources are doing well or poorly. You will probably see signs that bears are around, but seeing them in person is not guaranteed.


Will we see wildlife on our trip?

The Park is a half a million acre wildlife habitat with dense forests providing plenty of hiding places.


Where is your office?

A Walk in the Woods is a guide service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We do not have a store. Office visits are for equipment rental or backpacking trips and by appointment only. Our Walks, Hikes and Classes meet at locations convenient to the program. If you are in the area, and want to find out what is available, please call (865) 436-8283 for an up to date schedule.




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