Blue Ridge Rambling

Destination: Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

| Activities: Hiking, White Water Rafting, and Culture

The Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina are rich with scenic beauty, opportunities for outdoor adventure, and cultural traditions. Fall, with its crisp air and beautiful fall foliage, is the perfect time to sample all the possibilities, and Montreat provides a peaceful and relaxing setting from which to enjoy it. During our six days we'll combine moderate mountain hiking and whitewater rafting with visiting some of the area's iconic destinations, including the Biltmore Estate, Black Mountain, and Folk Art Center. Maximum group size: 12


  • Hiking in crisp and cool fall air in the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Whitewater rafting on the French Broad River
  • Visiting the Biltmore Estate and Antler Hill Winery
  • Enjoying the very popular towns of Black Mountain and Asheville
  • Relaxing in the beautiful surroundings of Montreat and the warm hospitality of the William Black Lodge

Departures and Prices

September 22 to September 27, 2024
$2995.00 - FULL
Join Waitlist
Notify Me of Next Years Dates
Looking for another date?
Click below, and a member of our team will contact you.
Request A Private Tour


  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • All activities on the itinerary, including whitewater rafting, ziplining, and the Biltmore Estate visit
  • All meals from Sunday dinner through breakfast the next Friday with the exception of one lunch
  • Five nights lodging in single occupancy rooms
  • Transportation during the trip including round trip transfer from the Asheville airport
Not included: Transportation to Asheville, alcoholic beverages, one lunch, optional activities, guide gratuities, and items of a personal nature

Trip Info

This trip is appropriate for any active woman who regularly walks for exercise and wants a vacation that mixes being active in the outdoors with historical and cultural exploration. No particular experience is needed but please note that almost all the hiking involves ups and downs. The trip is rated 2. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be walking regularly, including hills or stairs, at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes.Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5.

On this multisport adventure vacation, we'll combine moderate hiking and whitewater rafting with visiting some of the Blue Ridge Mountains' iconic destinations, including the Biltmore Estate, Black Mountain, and Folk Art Center.

We'll spend five nights at the William Black Lodge in the Montreat Retreat Center. All rooms are clean, comfortable, and have en suite bathrooms. The lodge is known for its delicious meals; we will be eating all breakfasts and three out of five dinners there.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Please plan to arrive at the Asheville Airport (AVL) by 1:30 pm or at Montreat by 2:30 pm. We'll meet you there and after brief introductions, we'll be on our way to Montreat, our home base for the trip. Located about 18 miles outside of Asheville, this small town/retreat center is known for its peaceful and beautiful setting and great hiking trails. We'll settle into our home for the week and then head out for a hike to introduce you to the area and terrain (lots of rocks and roots) and to stretch your legs The hike is a 2.5 mile loop on part of the Greybeard trail that connects to the Harry Bryant Trail with a short detour to a small waterfall and then ends at the Wildlife Sanctuary. We return to the lodge for our first dinner together. After dinner - those rocking chairs on the front porch may be calling! (D)
After a hearty breakfast, we drive about an hour on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell. Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, has a road ascending to the summit where an observation tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding Black Mountains. Weather permitting, our destination today will be Mount Craig, the second-highest peak in the eastern US. The trail begins from the parking lot of Mount Mitchell and trails through a lush, high-elevation forest that’s home to some rare and endangered plants, shaded by sweet-scented spruce and balsam fir trees. While the destination is less than 1 mile, it takes about an hour and does require climbing (part of the way on stairs), and some rock scrambling as we descend one peak and summit another. Another option for those who prefer not to scramble is to explore the Balsam Nature Trail and visit the gift shop and café. On the way back we'll stop at the Folk Art Center, home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Started in 1930, the guild is a band of artists who joined together to create a market for high quality authentic mountain crafts. Their efforts have resulted in keeping traditional crafts alive that might otherwise have been lost. Depending on time, there may be an option to stop in the town of Black Mountain, known for its numerous upscale gift shops, galleries, and Appalachian style craft stores, with local craftsmen demonstrating iron works, wood bowl turning, and hand thrown pottery. Upon our return to the lodge we will gather for another delicious dinner. (B, L, D)
This morning we head west for a great half day of whitewater rafting on French Broad, the area's premiere whitewater river. Our expert raft guides will help us navigate class II and III rapids, suitable for novice and experienced rafters alike. After rafting you can either choose a zipline tour, or to spend the afternoon soaking in the mineral waters of Hot Springs, N.C., both excellent choices! Zip-lining is a canopy tour offered by our rafting company where you’ll be zipping from tree to tree in a beautiful mountain setting. The tour is an exciting combination of zips, rappels, and short hikes. Not appealing? Then join your guide for a relaxing soak in the local mineral water hot springs! Regardless of your choice, the group will eventually reunite in Black Mountain for dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to the lodge and enjoying the satisfaction of another excellent day. (B, L, D)
We'll spend the day visiting Asheville's best known site: the Biltmore Estate. This grand mansion (which is an understatement since, at 178,926 square feet, it is the largest mansion in America) and the 8,000 acre grounds have been impressing people since George Washington Vanderbilt built it in the late 1890s. If you've ever wondered what the Gilded Age looked like, this would be it. We'll spend the morning touring the main house and gardens.
Lunch will be on your own to allow time for exploration after our scheduled tour of the house. There is a lovely cafe next to the house, adjacent to the gardens. Following our house tour, Antler Hill Village beckons with its array of shops it's an adventure into local crafts and plenty of souvenirs. Not into shopping? Other options available: exploring the grounds on foot or by bicycle on some of the 22 miles of hiking/biking trails found on the estate, walking along the French Broad River, through lush green forest, spending more time strolling on the 2.5 miles of paths in the manicured gardens and just enjoying the feel of that glorious Gilded Age. But wait - still more to come - we'll complete the afternoon with a visit to the Antler Hill Winery, the Biltmore winery. We'll learn how the original dairy barn was converted into our state-of-the-art winery, and how they developed a winemaking philosophy. And, of course, no winery tour is complete without the opportunity to taste the product! After touring, hiking, biking, shopping and wine tasting, we'll head back to the inn for dinner and relaxing on the porch! (B, D)
This morning we’ll head the opposite direction on the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in some new and beautiful views. Our hike today will be on the Graveyard Fields trail, a 3-mile loop that takes you through a high mountain meadow and winds its way past several stunning waterfalls. The trail isn’t as spooky as it sounds – its name comes from tree stumps left behind from logging and fire that look like gravestones. After lunch on the trail and finishing the hike, we’ll pay a visit to the revered Mt. Pisgah Inn on our way home. You can explore the Inn’s trails, visit the gift shop, or take in 180-degree views from the observation deck. Our day ends with dinner at one of the many local restaurants in Asheville before heading back to the lodge for our last night together on the porch. (B, L, D)
It’s just so hard to leave, so we’ll take one last walk to hopefully ‘fill up’ on nature and take it with us as we depart. We’ll hike Elizabeth’s Path, located just northeast of the Montreat Gate. As we meander along we’ll soak in the beautiful treed canopy, the sounds of the Flat Creek stream and just being outside in this wonderful Blue Ridge Mountain scenery. Eventually we do have to head back to the lodge and finish packing and say our ‘good byes’ to our mountain home. We'll have you back to the Asheville airport by noon and you can plan to fly home any time after 1:30PM. (B)


(63 reviews)
4.4 Food
4.3 Lodging
4.9 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Sort By:
Most Recent

Cindy C.
9 months ago

Sharon A.
9 months ago

This was my first AGC trip and it exceeded my expectations in every way. Well planned, beautiful places to visit, wonderful guides and amazing group of women to share it with.

Diane C.
9 months ago

Comraderie of the women. Really excellent guides. Beautiful scenery. Great variety of activities

Jennifer D.
9 months ago

It was great to try out something new and different while spending time with amazing women.

Barbara W.
9 months ago

This was my first group trip with all women and it was outstanding, well planned, safe and NO DRAMA. I am already signed up for the next trip with AIGC.

Susan C.
9 months ago

It was an amazing group of women from many areas that blended and bonded.

Julie K.
1 year ago

This was the first time I treated myself to a guided vacation tour. I loved so much about this trip. What made it special was the itinerary, loved the balanced of the various activities. The guides were great. Jaime was encouraging and established a tone early to leave home home, enjoy being present and to support each other. Alicia was knowledgable and adaptable. Of course, the weather being great didn't hurt. I enjoyed the company of the ladies and especially at meals when we'd have larger group conversations. Establishing connections and memories makes me happy and this trip did both.

Patricia B.
1 year ago

Weather was nearly perfect as was the scenery. Leaders were well organized and supported EVERYONE on this trip

Heidi P.
1 year ago

Mary H.
1 year ago

A stellar Hiking location; Participants who were great ‘good company’ and immersed in the outings; Guides whom had all of our enjoyment and well being as the upmost goal.

Lyn S.
1 year ago

Linda S.
2 years ago

The camaraderie that developed among our group. We were kindred spirits with similar passions. It was so great to connect with these women! The guides were not only leaders but integral group members who became friends with all of us.

Betsy A.
2 years ago

Great weather, variety of activities with lots of flexibility. Chance to be a tourist, hiker, adventurer.

Jean W.
2 years ago

Kathleen G.
2 years ago

I loved the lodge and the accommodations. I felt safe with the Covid 19 protocols. Great balance of activities - too bad we missed the soak - maybe a longer rafting trip or ziplining. Great GUIDES!!! The best ever.

Kathy W.
2 years ago

Lovely lodging, variety of activities, great guides (as usual) and friendly people

Lisa N.
2 years ago

Great mix of hiking and "other" adventures. This was my first AGC trip and I couldn't have asked for a better experience! The guides, Lainie and Jaime were awesome and knowledgeable and all the participants meshed well together. The awesome weather all week was the "cherry on top"!

Maryjane L.
2 years ago

I liked the balance of activity and down time. Black mtn shopping and breweries added a nice contrast to hiking.

Pam B.
3 years ago

Patti F.
3 years ago

I can’t believe how much we packed into 6 days! I particularly liked the variety of activities. The zip line option, white water rafting, as perfect.

Valerie W.
3 years ago

Bonnie S.
3 years ago

Rosa W.
3 years ago

Yes, the trip definitely lived up to my expectations.

Aimee C.
3 years ago

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect!

Cindy M.
4 years ago

I'd always wanted to go to Asheville, NC, to see the fall colors. The hiking trip was rated a 2, which is more in line with my level of activity. All the activities were fun and I always enjoy getting to know the other women on the trip. The lodging was comfortable and the food was delicious. This is my second trip with AGC and I definitely wasn't disappointed.

Gail S.
4 years ago

Loved the White Water rafting trip and the Biltmore. Not quite enough hiking for me (previous trips were level 3, so I know to always choose at least a level 3 in the future). This was my first trip where women didn't hang out at the end of the day and enjoy a couple of beers and fellowship! But all the women were great, just not their thing, I guess. But I missed that.

Barbara R.
4 years ago

Actually, I was a little surprised by this trip. There was more activity than I expected (I probably should read the itinerary more closely), and I was pleasantly surprised by the challenges of the hiking piece. I also really enjoyed rafting on the French Broad.

Debra G.
4 years ago

Food - excellent Guides - excellent Variety of activities

Cheryl P.
4 years ago

A highlight for me was the camaraderie with the women, we all got along so well. The leaders were great, Wendy's laugh is infectious and always gave me joy, Liz was inspiring with all of her adventures. The rafting was fun, Biltmore, the food at the lodge was delicious. Loved having my own room, nice mixture of being together and being alone. Too bad the area was having a heat wave, it really affected me as I'm not good in such high temps. But there's nothing to be done about weather.

Gaye W.
4 years ago

The rafting was my favorite activity, it was beautiful! The guide we had was great and it was so much fun. I also enjoyed the hike at Craggy gardens and the Folk Art Center. It is too bad the weather was so freaking hot! I know you have no control over that.

Joan J.
4 years ago

In order: rafting, hiking, Biltmore, Chef Jack’s cooking, zip lining.

Becky K.
4 years ago

The lodge selected for our accommodations was clean, comfortable, and well located. The staff members were warm and responsive. The food served in the dining room was outstanding. I particularly liked the multi-sport aspect of this trip itinerary, and found that there was plenty of flexibility for different desires/interests/energy levels. I had certainly hoped for cooler weather, but what can be done about an unseasonable heat wave? A top highlight for me was the camaraderie among the women—guides included.

Nancy B.
4 years ago

Rafting, zip line, hiking, group of ladies,

Janine G.
5 years ago

food was great, hike leaders were great, agenda was great.

Christy D.
5 years ago

We had a good group of women. The views form the hikes were just gorgeous. The rafting/zipling was awesome. The guides were great.

Meg O.
5 years ago

The highlight was how welcoming and inclusive most of the women were. I have not laughed that much in a long time! From an itinerary perspective, the whitewater rafting was a highlight.

Susan H.
5 years ago

The Biltmore was amazing! I was glad that we were able to remain for the night time exhibition of the Chihuly pieces - I will go back to explore the Biltmore further !

Deborah M.
5 years ago

I was not as prepared as I should have been. I went on Smoky mountain trip last year and it was difficult but I participated in all the hikes and was comfortable. I was expecting much the same type of trip and was disappointed that I found myself unable to keep up. I had an injection in my bad knee prior to the trip in anticipation of it being a challenge but it didn't last.

Roxanne M.
5 years ago

the Biltmore estate and the rafting I was looking for a longer rafting trip. It was over too soon.

Patricia Z.
5 years ago

Since this was my first trip, I wasn't sure what to expect but it was all I had hoped for and more! It's hard to choose highlights, there were so many! Getting acquainted with new friends, conquering fears ...especially Zip Lining!

Barbara C.
5 years ago

Enjoyed the differing activities offered. Loved being able to see the Biltmore and the Chihuly exhibit, especially adding the night portion as well. Thanks!

Barbara N.
5 years ago

I enjoy traveling with women's groups, and this was a fun and interesting group of women.

Susan M.
5 years ago

For my first AGC trip, this was a homerun. As a hiker, what I really enjoyed was the multi-sport mix and the rafting and ziplining was my favorite part of the trip. I've never done either, and this was a safe way to push the personal boundary a bit and overcome my trepidation. The pace was brisk for someone not used to being on the go for 12 hours a day. I enjoyed the Biltmore and opportunity to see the Chihuly exhibit too! The trip exceeded my expectations in the warm group dynamic among the women. Kim and Wendy did a great job in getting conversations going and ensuring a positive group dynamic, and we traveled together easily.

Jo H.
6 years ago

Making it to the top of Mt Mitchell, white water rafting, the great food served at the lodge. and the guides Kim and Wendy were absolutely wonderful.

Ellie K.
6 years ago

I especially enjoyed the Mount Craig hike that began in the Mt. Mitchell parking lot. Also, the raft trip was just exciting enough for me without being scary. Traveling with a women’s only group is very special and so different from coed groups. Excellent guides. One very minor concern — on the raft trip, it would have been nice to have a somewhat easier way “to pee.” I really didn’t want to wade out into waist deep water (as the river guide suggested), and the only trail went very steeply down a little hill to a gully. I wondered how many rafters had used the exact location. Perhaps just a more useable trail?

Sandra L.
6 years ago

Yes. I really enjoyed the trip and all the planned activities, there was hardly a moment to spare. Hard to say exactly what the highlights were, the number of activities in the number of days was just right.

Sandra B.
6 years ago

Visit to Biltmore, zip lining and white water rafting. Hiking was more strenuous than expected with a 2 rating.

Sally M.
6 years ago

Zona S.
6 years ago

This was my first all woman's hiking trip and I just loved it. It was nice to be able to hike with people who "looked like me" and were supportive all along the way. The guides were terrific each in their own way and everything combined to make it great. The resort was terrific. The cook made a great effort to take care of my dietary preference with grace and good humor.

Barbara A.
6 years ago

French Broad Adventures was an amazing experience, the food was fantastic and the organization and timeliness of the activities was spot on.

Karen B.
6 years ago

I don't even know where to start! Everyday was wonderful- hiking, water rafting, zip-lining, socializing The food definitely exceeding my expectations, excellent at every meal! This was a wonderful group of women that got along very well. The weather was even perfect. Our guides were detailed, organized, and FUN. We connected very well. I want to do more trips with Kim and Wendy.

Cynthia O.
6 years ago

Victoria E.
6 years ago

The hiking was outstanding. Given the spectacular weather I would have liked to do about 1 to 2 more miles each day. The rafting was fun but rather short in relation to the driving distance and preparation time. If the hot tub were dropped, the rafting could be longer.

Vickie S.
6 years ago

See rating of trip, below.

Janette G.
7 years ago

Great activities, guides were very helpful and provided tips to help develop our hiking skills. Down time given to explore local town and alternative options provided for travelers who chose to pass on an activity.

Margaret W.
7 years ago

Loved learning more about hiking. This .was my first true hiking trip.also loved the white eater rafting. Especially enjoyed getting to know all the ladies in the group and was amazed at how fast we all bonded. Ann and Kim were fabulous!

Carolyn H.
7 years ago

This was my very first "real mountain" hiking trip (I'm sure Kim and Ann can attest to that!), overall it was great! Before my next trip (and I do plan more trips with AGC), I will train more to be better prepared. The scenery was beautiful, and I could not have selected a better group of ladies to spend the week with. Kim and Ann were the BEST guides! I never felt pressured to keep up and anytime I needed help or had a question, they were right there. I really loved whitewater rafting! Wish I had the courage to zip line.....maybe on my next AGC trip.

Karen B.
7 years ago

Everything had been well-planned out, and our days were full of activities. The hiking was great; the mountains are beautiful. I would have liked more time at the Biltmore Estate to see more of the gardens.

Lorie B.
7 years ago

Debra C.
7 years ago

whitewater rafting and the Biltmore Meeting Kim and other great women and seeing Anne again

Bernadette B.
7 years ago

Beautiful forest Great rafting and zip lining experience Women and Guides were great and enjoyable to be with Beautiful flowers Wonderful cool weather

Mary P.
7 years ago

The fun, the safety, the fun! Meeting ladies from all walks (hikes) of life and yet having so much in common. The variety of activities and how they were spread out. Kim made me feel welcomed in her 'backyard. I really enjoyed Anne's sense of humor and perspective. These two work (play) well together. I felt safe and involved/included. I liked the optional choices we were offered. The lodge was warm and friendly and clean. The food was good too. Great trip! Thank you.

Debra C.
7 years ago

I thought the combination of activities was perfect. There was never a dull moment, although there was definitely sufficient time to regroup from a full day of exertion. I loved everything about it.

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts and some dinners will be buffet meals at the lodge where you are staying. Other dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu. Before you leave in the morning the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you'll take a packed lunch.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    All the rooms are singles on this trip! But on any of our trips you only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.