NORTH CAROLINA: Smoky Mountains Autumn Journey



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2024 :: October 13 - October 18
2024 :: October 20 - October 25



From: $3,975 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Asheville, NC (AVL)


4-7 Participants


2024 TRIP 1: 7 Spaces Available

2025 TRIP 2: 7 Spaces Available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

  • If not already completed, please enter the tour name above.


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Highlights of NORTH CAROLINA: Smoky Mountains Autumn Journey

  • Explore the beautiful fall colors and the scenic mountains of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

  • Photograph the beautiful waterfalls and rivers in some of the oldest streams and rivers in the country.

  • The abundant wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains include abundant black bears, wild turkey, whitetail deer, and elk.

  • Soak in the area’s culture where the spirit of the Cherokee and the pioneers is still strong.

  • Learn about photography and the region from prolific magazine and commercial photographer, speaker, and book author Russell Graves.

Description of NORTH CAROLINA: Smoky Mountains Autumn Journey

Travel deep into the Great Smoky Mountains to take in the culture, the wildlife, and the incredible scenery of the immense forests as the leaves change for the season. As the landscape lightens, watch white clouds wisp in and out of the mountain valleys at a mesmerizing speed. The Smoky Mountains are geologic wonders. Formed 300 million years ago before the Pangaeal split, these mountains were once higher than the Rocky Mountains today. Through crustal shifting on a global scale, the Smokies heaved from the bowels of the earth that exposed ancient granite, rich gneiss deposits, and antediluvian fossil beds whose age is thought to be nearing half a trillion years old.

The minute mountains are born, the elemental forces of wind and water constantly and incessantly conspire to wear down what tectonic forces steadily built. As a result, the mountains are shorter and less sharp than newer eminences – their peaks rounded by the passage of time, as well as all the natural forces that have carved a sliver here and cleaved a sliver there. What’s left is nature’s indiscriminate best: an intersection of woods, water, and rock put together in a way that’s inspired artists, songmakers, and photographers alike. These are the Smoky Mountains, and this place is magical.

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Asheville, North Carolina

Day 2 – 5 – Explore the various areas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Clingman’s Dome, North Carolina, Cades Cove, and the area’s rivers and streams.

Day 6 – Half-day shoot and depart for home.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Asheville and check into the hotel.

We will meet this evening for dinner and a meet and greet. We will also discuss the coming week, photography strategies, logistics, and expectations.

Days 2 through 5 – Explore the various areas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Clingman’s Dome, North Carolina, Cades Cove, and the area’s rivers and streams*.

*The following opportunities will be arranged day-to-day as weather and wildlife conditions dictate.*

North Carolina

We’ll head to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to photograph landscapes. We’ll head to the Deep Creek Trail area, where we’ll spend the morning photographing waterfalls, and moss-laden rapids, and walking through the Rhododendron and hardwood forest, taking in the serenity the Smoky Mountains provides us.


We’ll spend our nights in Tennessee. From our base lodging in Gatlinburg and Townsend, we’ll head out daily to photograph mountain vistas, incredible fall colors, pristine mountain streams and waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. Words can’t describe the kaleidoscope of colors in the Southern mountains this time of year. And, of course, we’ll visit Cade’s Cove. Cades Cove is the quintessential area of the Smokies. Here, we’ll look for bears and other wildlife while taking in more incredible scenery where the mountains seem to go on forever. This is also the place to see rustic pioneer cabins against a crisp fall backdrop.

The Smokies are incredible!

Day 6

We’ll wake up on day six and head out for a morning shoot where we’ll look for more wildlife and iconic scenes. After a late breakfast, we’ll make the short trip to Knoxville, where we’ll head home.


Cost is $3,975 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Asheville, NC (Airport code AVL.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $1,110 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $750 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

We’ll stay at the Park Vista in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is an incredible property that overlooks Gatlinburg. Each room has a photo-worthy view of the mountains. In Townsend, we’ll stay at the Dancing Bear Lodge – a quaint property with quaint cabins and an unparalleled atmosphere.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Mirrorless or DSLR camera

Wide angle lens (16-35mm)

Medium Telephoto (70-200mm)

Telephoto lens for wildlife (400mm+)

Extension tubes or macro lens


Extra memory cards

Extra batteries

Camera backpack

Polarizing filter

ND Filter

Laptop for post-processing lessons and image work

The weather varies in the mountains, so think of layers. Mornings can be in the low 30s, and afternoons in the 60s, so think layers.

Rain gear is advised as well.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map