Everything you need to know before you go and a few essential details for the well prepared.
On every adventure there are certain items a well prepared hiker should consider bringing along to aid in their travels. Some of these items aren't necessary and some are essential to enjoying your time with us. For example, cameras arn't necessary to enjoy the great outdoors, but sunscreen well help keep the sun at bay and keep you from spending the rest of your vacation indoors.
In addition to the stuff you might want to bring along, we feel that our guests should be well informed on our policies and procedures before you step out of your comfort zone and into the great unknown. We've provided our company policies for you to review, they are just as important to us as a good pair of sturdy shoes and a reasonable understanding of the weather in our neck of the woods.
LEAVE THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND
CELL PHONES, CAMERAS & ELECTRONICS
Binoculars and cameras are welcome, but keep in mind that inclement conditions are possible.
Other electronics such as IPODs, cellular phones, and other electronics that disrupt the tours are not allowed. Any participant whose actions disrupt the tour will be removed from the trip without a refund.
GEAR UP FOR ADVENTURE
WHAT TO WEAR
You should wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty and wet. A sturdy pair of shoes is suitable for most trips, though comfortable hiking boots/shoes are recommended for half day and full day hikes. Do not wear a new pair of shoes or boots – your feet will regret it.
The Smokys vary in elevation and so do the temperatures. Always be prepared for changes in weather by wearing layers that can be added or removed. Loose fitting pants and long sleeves are good for protecting you from the sun, insects, poison ivy, etc.
BEES, YELLOW JACKETS & WASPS
Our guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Your safety is our priority, but occasionally biting and stinging insects can be problematic. Wearing bug spray is recommended.
Do not wear perfume or scented deodorant; they attract yellowjackets. If someone in your party is allergic to bee stings you must bring their epi pen and/or any prescribed medications.
LEAVE THEM BEHIND
Some of our tours depart from remote locations. We recommend leaving your valuables at your place of accommodation. If valuables are left in your car place them out of sight and lock your doors.
BEING PREPARED FOR
The Great Smoky Mountains are known for its varied climate. Some of our hike take you through temperate rainforests where rainfall can reach more than 100 inches per year. As a outdoor adventure based company, we believe that occasionally getting wet is part of experiencing the Great Smoky Mountains. Think of the experience as getting to know one of the most important elements responcible for creating one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.
Be prepared to get wet any time of year. Tours depart rain or shine.
NEED TO KNOW
WHAT TO BRING
An adventurous spirit ready to explore some of the greatest mountains on earth is essential. Of course, you should also bring enough bottled water for each member of your party. On a 2 ½ to 3-hour tour 1 quart of water per person is usually sufficient. On half and full day hikes, guides carry a water filtration system to refill your bottles with some of the freshest water you can find.
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are recommended on all tours, and they are essential on our high elevation hikes. Binoculars and cameras are welcome, but keep in mind that inclement conditions are possible. A small backpack to carry your belongings is handy. Bring any medications or prescriptions that may be needed during the duration of the tour. If someone in your party is allergic to bee stings you must bring their epi pen.
NEED TO KNOW
WHAT NOT TO BRING
Do not bring your pets, expensive electronics, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, firearms, or illegal drugs.
BE PREPARED TO SIGN
Our owners, staff, and guides have a vested interest in providing you and your family with a professional and enjoyable trip. However, wilderness areas include inherent elements of risk that cannot be removed. Every tour participant must read and sign a waiver prior to the tour. By signing the waiver form, you agree to follow the instruction and directions of the guides and staff of American Hikes.
The use of illegal drugs and alcohol are prohibited on or before our tours. Any participant under the influence will be removed from the trip without a refund.
JUST THE WAY WE FOUND IT
LEAVE NO TRACE
At the beginning of each tour your guide introduces you to Leave No Trace and throughout the tour you will learn why it is important to minimize our impact on nature. Our guides love everything green and make it a priority to preserve their favorite places. We carry out all of our trash, and encourage you to pick up litter along the way to keep these beautiful places unspoiled. If we pack it in, we pack it out.
Restrooms are not available in the backcountry, and we follow Leave No Trace ethics to dispose of human waste. This includes using the restroom at least 100 feet from a campsite or water source and out of sight of the trail. Solid waste must be buried in a 6 to 8 inch hole at least 200 feet from any water, campsite, or trail.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
RESERVATIONSAll of our tours require advance reservations. Typically, reservations for our morning tours must be made the previous day. Same day reservations for afternoon tours can be made up to two hours prior to the tour time. To make a reservation, please call (828) 488-6688 to book your trip.
NEED TO KNOW
Reservations cancelled 72 hours prior to the tour receive a 100% refund. Tours cancelled outside the cancellation period will not receive a refund, however, a rain check may be issued at the company's discretion. No-shows and last minute cancellations will not receive a refund or a rain check.
PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE
All reservations are prepay in full. We accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card, and American Express. Please be prepared to pay for your tour before you call.