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Gatlinburg Overnight Experience to raise funds for National Park

ASHEVILLE, NC – Friends of the Smokies has opened registration for the 2019 Classic Hikes of the Smokies “Overnight Experience,” which will take place on June 25-26 in Gatlinburg, TN.

Day one of this special event features a guided experience of the Twin Creeks area of the Smokies, home to exciting and diverse park treasures like the Twin Creeks Science Center and Ogle Homestead, and an easy afternoon hike.

laurel falls
Laurel Falls; image courtesy of NPS

Day two offers a choice between two guided hikes, one moderate and one strenuous. The first, a 5.4 mile hike, will highlight the recently completed restoration work of the highly-skilled Trails Forever crew and end at stunning Rainbow Falls. The second guided hike will combine three trails for a 15-mile adventure across the southern exposures of Roundtop and Little Roundtop Mountains to a section of the Smokies that few visitors ever experience.

Participants will be treated to a surprise guest who will speak about the current state of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lodging and meals are provided at The Buckhorn, East Tennessee’s classic country inn, which features stunning views of Mt. Le Conte.

Since 1993, Friends of the Smokies has helped fund critical projects and programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, like environmental education for schoolchildren, trail rehabilitation, and protection against invasive species. The proceeds from the Gatlinburg Overnight Experience will further these efforts by supporting suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid infestation using a multipronged approach, including treatment of 30,000 trees and the release of 570,000 biological control beetles. The overnight experience will also raise money for the park to treat trees in high-use areas that are at risk of the emerald ash borer, another invasive species.

The cost to attend is $300 per person. Those who register should be prepared to hike at least six miles and climb more than 1,500 feet on challenging terrain. Visit for more information and to register.

Published June 3, 2019

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