Women's 8 Day Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip
Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Appalachian Trail with our 8 Day Women's Backpacking Trip, taking you along the Tennessee and North Carolina border! From Max Patch to the Roan Highlands, take in the best views the region has to offer. Plus, all the services you need for a stress-free, memorable experience: a night at a rustic hiker hostel, shuttle service to trailheads, and a guide ready to show you the way. What are you waiting for? Take the plunge and start your next adventure!
This trip is considered an intermediate level backpacking trip and is best suited for those that have some previous backpacking experience. This route covers a total of 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail over the course of 8 days and includes several challenging, steep climbs. We will be hiking 3-15 miles per day with up to 3,200' of elevation gain.
- Day 1: Meet at Hot Springs, NC. Your guide will do a shakedown of your gear to make sure you have everything you need, and then you'll take a shuttle to Max Patch (1 hour shuttle drive). You'll hike over the grassy mountain bald of Max Patch, enjoying the fantastic 360 degree views and then continue on to the campsite. (6.7 miles, 1855' elevation gain)
- Day 2: You'll make breakfast and pack up camp, then hike through the winding woodland trail to the next campsite. This section is mostly tree covered, and you may see a variety of wildlife, including birds, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, and maybe even a black bear! (9.8 miles, 2,534' elevation gain)
- Day 3: Hike in to Hot Springs. This is a short day, so you'll be able to sleep in and take your time leaving camp. You'll hike mostly downhill into the town of Hot Springs. Once you get to town, you'll check into the hiker hostel, where you can shower and put on clean clothes. Then you'll have the chance to walk to a restaurant for lunch (not included in the trip price) and explore the town of Hot Springs, which is a cute Appalachian Trail town with several shops and restaurants, as well as a mineral spring spa. We'll resupply here for the rest of the trip. (2.89 miles, 692' elevation gain)
- Day 4: After breakfast, we'll shuttle to Indian Grave Gap to start the next leg of the hike (1 hour 10 minute shuttle drive). Hike over Beauty Spot, an open grassy mountain bald, and to the campsite. (5 miles, 2,275' elevation gain)
- Day 5: Hike over the spruce covered summit of Unaka Mountain and to the next campsite (12.1 miles, 2,813' elevation gain)
- Day 6: Hike to the next campsite (7.7 miles, 3,150' elevation gain)
- Day 7: Hike over Roan Mountain, which has the highest elevation shelter on the Appalachian Trail, and into the Roan Highlands, which include a series of mountain balds. These grassy mountain top meadows are full of wildflowers and offer great views of the surrounding mountains. You'll cross Round Bald, Jane Bald, Little Hump Mountain, and Hump Mountain. (13.3 miles, 2,620' elevation gain)
- Day 8: Hike to road crossing for shuttle pickup. The shuttle will return us to Hot Springs, NC (1.5 hour shuttle drive). (2.9 miles, 492' elevation gain)
Itinerary and daily mileage may vary. Your guide will make adjustments to best fit the group's needs and experience level.
What to Bring:
Your guide will provide you with a detailed gear checklist a couple of months before your trip that’s tailored to your trip location and expected weather. You’ll be expected to bring your own backpacking gear, clothing, footwear, food, and medications. Gear rentals are available on request for an additional fee. You will also have the opportunity to ask specific gear questions during your Pre-Hike Virtual Orientation with your guide. Here are some general guidelines for your gear:
- Gear: You'll need a 55-65 L backpack, trekking poles, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag or quilt, water filtration system, backpacking stove, cook kit, and a bear canister or bear bag and rope. Some campsites have bear cables available for hanging food bags, but most locations will require you to hang your food from a tree or use a bear canister to protect your food.
- Clothing: You’ll need a system of layering for your backpacking clothes. Remember that cotton kills! Cotton clothing has a tendency to absorb water, become heavy and uncomfortable, and takes a long time to dry! Athletic clothes with breathable fabrics are much better. You won’t need to bring a clean set of clothing for each day. Instead, you’ll want to pack an outfit for hiking, an outfit for sleeping, a warm layer, and a rain jacket. An extra pair of socks and underwear are a good idea, too. Don't forget to pack a clean set of clothes to leave in your car for the end of the trip!
- Shoes: Generally, a pair of comfortable running shoes or trail shoes are better suited for the terrain and weather of the Appalachian Mountains than heavy hiking boots. Many backpackers also choose to bring a pair of lightweight sandals or camp shoes to wear in the evenings. Whatever you wear, make sure to test them out at home before bringing them on a week-long trip!
- Toiletries: Toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste, a small bottle of soap, and hand sanitizer are all you need! Leave the deodorant, make-up, hair products, lotions, and other scented items at home. Embrace your natural self while backpacking!
- Food: Everyone has different food preferences, dietary restrictions, and caloric needs. Packing the right amount of food for a backpacking trip can be challenging. Your guide will send you a list of suggested foods and a sample menu to help you come up with your own food supply. You’ll also be able to ask questions and get advice during your Pre-Hike Virtual Orientation. You will have an opportunity to resupply halfway through the trip, so you will only need to carry 3-4 days worth of food at a time.
- Trip cost includes a non-refundable $300 booking deposit. The remainder of the cost is due 1 week prior to the trip. Trips may be canceled up to 1 week before the start date for a refund, minus the deposit. Within 1 week of the trip, a 50% refund will be offered for cancellations. No refunds will be offered for cancellations within 48 hours of the trip start date.
- We hike rain or shine! Backpacking is a challenging endurance sport, and it can be uncomfortable during inclement weather. We do our best to make sure hikers are adequately prepared for adverse weather. However, safety is our biggest priority. In the case of severe weather that could affect the safety of our hikers, our guides have the discretion to cancel a trip. In this case, full refunds will be offered or vouchers given to reschedule.
Book a Trip with Wildwood Hiking Co.
Explore the Wild with an Experienced Backpacking Guide
Hi, I'm Nicole, founder of Wildwood Hiking Company! I started Wildwood after completing my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2022, a 2,194 mile trek from Georgia to Maine over the course of 6 months. My time on the trail was life-changing and empowering, and my experiences helped me gain the strength and courage to go out and build a life I love! I hope to share the joy and beauty of nature with others through backpacking.
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