Late Fall is a magical time in the mountains: autumnal color lingers, the hordes who come to see it do not. There’s a special quiet you won’t find at any other time of year. And one of the best places for a hiker to enjoy this quiet — and catch some great late fall color — is on the Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, N.C.
The weekend of Nov. 12-14 we will gather in Hot Springs for two days of hiking and enjoying the ambience of downtown Hot Springs (through which the Appalachian Trail passes). Our agenda for the weekend:
Friday: Arrive after 4 p.m. We will serve dinner at 6:30, followed by a campfire and smores.
Saturday: Pancake breakfast at 7:30. We willl catch the shuttle to Garenflo Gap on the AT at 9:30, arriving by 10 for our 7-mile hike on the AT that will bring us back into town that afternoon. We will provide lunch; dinner is in town, on your own.
Sunday: Continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. At 9, we will drive a short distance to Tanyard Gap for the 6.5-mile hike on the AT back into town. We should be finished by noon.
This trip includes
- 2 breakfasts (Saturday and Sunday mornings)
- 2 lunches (build-your-own lunch buffet)
- 1 dinner, on Friday evening
- Trail snacks
- 2 hikes
- Saturday shuttle to Garenflo Gap
- eguide for both hikes and for the weekend in general (including information on restaurants in Hot Springs)
Saturday: the 7-mile hike from Garenflo Gap into town trends downhill, rolling at first, then downhill for the last couple of miles. Should be some good lingering fall color. Easy to moderate difficulty.
Sunday: Likewise, this 6.5-mile hike starts high, ends low and offers great views of the French Broad River. Easy to moderate difficulty.
Lodging is not provided on this trip. Our base camp will be at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa, which offers a range of accommodations, including camping, small cabins, bigger cabins, two houses and rooms in the lodge. Campsites start at $45 a night, cabins start at $75 a night, rooms in the lodge start at $120 a night. Meals will be served at a campsite to be identified upon registration. The resort is just across the railroad tracks from downtown Hot Springs, a 5-minute walk, tops.
If you sign up for this trip, the folks at Hot Springs Resort and Spa recommend booking lodging by Sept. 15. You can make reservations by either visiting the website or calling 828-622-7676.