Guided Backpacking Trips

Fall color trip this October 18-20, 2019!

Hiker overlooking the appalachian mountains

Join us for a Fall Color Trip along the Appalachian Trail

What to Expect:

  • An epic Appalachian Trail itinerary during peak fall color!
  • 3 days and 2 nights of scenery and relaxation along the mountaintops
  • Meals and their preparation included
  • Tent and backpack rental included
  • Assistance in your camping needs
  • Around 4 to 6 miles of moderate hiking, with backpack, each day
  • 3 experienced naturalists guiding you along the trails
  • Engaging workshop on native plants and wildlife
  • “Rise with the birds” morning to discover Appalachian birds!
  • Fun skills course on primitive fire building
  • Small group experience with only 7 guests + 3 guides on trip

Trip Instructors and Guides

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Bill Sanderson, MS Naturalist & Tour Guide

As a longtime resident of Asheville, I have spent years exploring the mountains of western North Carolina. Carolina. I am a lifelong outdoors enthusiast and trained zoologist, a veteran of 30 years in the high school classroom and over 15 years in the local community college.

I have led hiking groups and participated in search-and-rescue operations in Western North Carolina for over 25 years. I am a volunteer trail maintainer, responsible for a 6-mile section of the Appalachian Trail east of Hot Springs as well as a 2-mile section of the Mountains to Sea Trail near Craggy Gardens.

Identification and natural history of local animals, trees, and wildflowers is information that I enjoy sharing on my trips with Asheville Hiking Tours. While viewing beautiful waterfalls and streams, I discuss the hidden wonders beneath those waters. Brook trout, stonefly nymphs, North America’s largest salamander and endangered mollusks are a few of the inhabitants of these fragile and precious waterways, and I look forward to telling their stories.

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Jennifer Gruhn, PhD Naturalist & Owner

Welcome to Asheville Hiking Tours! It is my passion to provide an inviting and informative experience in the great outdoors. After academic years publishing scientific articles and teaching biology courses, I’m enjoying designing and leading ecotours in my home state.

Due to my early interest in Appalachian ecology, I pursued courses at Highlands Biological Station in Western North Carolina and a biology degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. For 3 years I researched tropical plants of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru and for my Ph.D. I investigated Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada pine forests. I am a Certified Interpretive Guide and have led nature tours for Citizen Science Programs and clubs of nature enthusiasts.

Now, I enjoy every Asheville Hiking Tours adventure, which promises novel experiences and unique wildlife sightings each day. I look forward to sharing with guests an inspiring tour in these beautiful mountains.

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David Wynn, BA Naturalist & Tour Guide

I want to welcome you to the ancient mountains and waterways of Southern Appalachia. Born unto these hills, I’ve spent my whole life playing in clear creeks and losing myself in rhododendron thickets. After a summer hiking the Appalachian Trail, I went to college and graduated from Appalachian State University with a dual degree in English Literature and Sustainable Forestry–a regular woodland poet!

My interest in Deep Nature Connection began with wild food foraging, quickly branching into friction fire, holistic tracking, hide-tanning, and much wandering. Over the last decade, I’ve worked as a whitewater river guide, ski patroller, mushroom forager, ecotherapy guide, and coyote mentor. Currently, I’m attending Western Carolina University for Counseling with the goal of bridging wellness and the outdoors. I’m certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency Care tech, and Swiftwater Rescue technician.

I love providing safe, comfortable, and FUN outdoor experiences! There is beauty, wonder, and mystery to be found in Appalachia, from the spectacular mountain overlooks to the light of the firefly. I’ll see you there!