Classes and Seminars
A Walk in the Woods offers a wide range of classes and seminars to help you enjoy nature to its fullest! With all our classes, we try to engage all of your senses in a fun, hands on environment. We mix classroom type teaching with fun activities and direct experiences in nature.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to study! With an estimated 100,000 species of life big enough to see with the naked eye, 9 distinct forest types, and over 20,000 types of mushrooms, it is a dramatic reservoir of life and learning.

A Walk in the Woods offer classes on Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Edible Mushrooms, Backpacking, Nature Exploration with Children, Primitive Skills, Compass Navigation and more.

We have worked with schools, scouts, business, civic and church groups. We can even come to your setting and perform classes on your land. In addition to working with groups setting up programs to fit their needs, we also offer regularly scheduled classes for individuals and families.

Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Upcoming Events for 2017:

Title of Trip AT Shakedown Backpack
Length/Price
Three Days Two Nights
$629. *All participants must have their own backpacking gear for this trip. (We will provide a recommended food list and recommended gear list for this trip when we send the confirmation)
Rating

Moderate to Strenuous. For hikers seriously considering a section or thru hike.

Upcoming Dates
January 27th - 29th (Friday - Sunday)
February 24th - 26th (Friday - Sunday)
To reserve, please call (865) 436-8283 or reserve course online
Description Are you planning an AT thru hike? You've done your research and purchased your gear, but are overwhelmed at all the information on the web for preparing to leave civilization behind for a few months? Let an experienced long-distance hiker help you! Jen “Sprinkles” Kelley will be your guide on this 2-night excursion. She has not only thru hiked the AT, but also the Long Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail and half the Finger Lakes Trail. With more than 7,500 miles under her feet, she can help you learn how to handle mentally and physically demanding days on the trail. She also worked in a hostel outside of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine helping new Southbound AT hikers successfully make their way through the most infamous portion of the Appalachian Trail. On our AT Shakedown trips you'll not only get to practice using all your new gear, you'll also learn how to throw a bear line, use your guide book to plan out your days, and even how to plan and prep mail drops or resupply stops. We will also cover basic first aid and fire-building skills. After your shakedown hike you'll feel confident and ready to tackle the journey of a lifetime!
Title of Class Nature is Sense-sational! Using your 5 senses to find your place in nature
Length/Price
Two Hours
$78 for first person, $25 each additional person ($75, $23 respectively with Cash Discount).
Great for school kids, scouts or families .
Rating Easy. Suitable for anybody in reasonable shape.
Upcoming Dates
Call for schedule (865) 436-8283 or reserve class online
Description

Leave the electronic age behind as you immerse yourself in nature through a journey of the senses. On this gentle two hour walk, you will explore the world around you up close through touch, sound, taste, smell as well as sight. We rely on our sight to identify our surroundings but often leave the rest of our senses by the wayside. Sure, you can look at a leaf to identify it but what is the scent of that leaf when crushed? Does a twig from that tree smell the same? The forest offers a palate of tastes if we venture to take a sample. Have you ever walked barefoot through a forest? Tune your feet to know if you are still on the trail. And what is that brook babbling about anyway? Stop to listen and you might learn a secret or two. Get in touch with your five senses and maybe even find a sixth! This program is great for kids of all ages!

Title of Class You're Barking Up the Right Tree ... Learning the Basics of Tree Identification
Length/Price
Two Hours
$78 for first person, $25 each additional person ($75, $23 respectively with Cash Discount).
Great for school kids, scouts or families .
Rating Easy. Suitable for anybody in reasonable shape.
Upcoming Dates
Call for schedule (865) 436-8283 or reserve class online
Description

The Smokies have over 140 different types of trees, more than all of Europe. So many of them look similar, how can you tell them apart? Our Naturalists will introduce you to some of the trees of the area and what makes them special. You'll gain greater knowledge about bark, buds and leaves and the overall personality of the individual trees. This class will help you to become an expert on some of the more common trees of the Eastern United States, and their many uses. Caution: this class has been known to turn participants into tree huggers!

Title of Class These Flowers are Wild ... Learning Basic Tricks to Plant Identification
Length/Price
Two Hours
$78 for first person, $25 each additional person ($75, $23 respectively with Cash Discount).
Great for school kids, scouts or families .
Rating Easy. Suitable for anybody in reasonable shape.
Upcoming Dates
Call for schedule (865) 436-8283 or reserve class online
Description

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most biodiverse place in the the world North of the Tropics, with forest types found from Canada to Northern Florida. The Park is the perfect classroom for learning about plants that grow all over North America. Take a walk in the woods with an experienced Naturalist and unlock the mysteries of plant identification. We'll show you the best field guides to use, simple strategies to learning the individual personality of each plant, and even what common plants to use for wild foods and medicines.

Title of Class Backpacking 101: Everything you ever wanted to learn about backpacking, but were afraid to ask. Just like Samantha Brown did on the Travel Channel
Length/Price
Two Days One Night

$275 total/includes all backpacking gear, meals and guide. $245 total if you provide your own backpacking gear. Outing size restricted to 8 people total including guide.

 

Rating Moderate. For beginner and intermediate backpackers.
Upcoming Dates

March 18th - March 19th (Saturday - Sunday)
April 22nd - April 23rd (Saturday - Sunday)
May 20th - 21st (Saturday - Sunday)
June 17th - 18th (Saturday - Sunday)
July 15th - 16th (Saturday - Sunday)
August 5th - 6th (Saturday - Sunday)
September 2nd - 3rd (Saturday - Sunday)
October 8th - 9th (Sunday - Monday)
October 28th - 29th (Saturday - Sunday)
To reserve, please call (865) 436-8283 or reserve course online
 
Description

Turn that curiosity into knowledge with a one night trip into the woods. Learn everything about the exciting and challenging sport of backpacking while meeting other people. On this trip, you will learn all the steps needed to become a proficient backpacker. Find out what to pack and not to pack, and how to wear your pack for the most comfort. You'll learn how to use the best gear and what to do in the event that things don't go as planned, if the weather changes or your gear doesn't work well. You'll learn how to identify wild plants, which ones are edible and poisonous, how to cure headaches and poison ivy, and how to survive in case of emergency. We'll start with a brief class on backpacking and apply it in real life.

Title of Trip Survival Smoky Mountains Ultimate Backpacking Adventure!
Length/Price
Three Days Two Nights
$669 includes all backpacking gear*, meals and guide. $629 if you provide your own backpacking gear. Outing size restricted to 8 people total including guide.
Rating

Strenuous. For fit beginners and intermediate backpackers.

Upcoming Dates
June 30th - July 2nd (Friday - Sunday)
To reserve, please call (865) 436-8283 or reserve course online
Description On these two night high adventure trips, you will learn fire making skills, cooking over a fire, navigation, how to set up and comfortably sleep under a tarp, rope tying and deal with the mental challenges of a tough day in the backcountry. You will also learn the basics of non lethal bear aversion techniques, leave no trace, wilderness safety skills, how to identify edible plants and more. These adventure programs will leave you feeling challenged and ready to take on the adventure that is daily life in this modern world.
Title of Trip Winter Wonderland Backpacking 101
Length/Price
Two Days One Night
$295 includes all backpacking gear*, meals and guide.
$265 if you provide your own backpacking gear.
Outing size restricted to 8 people total including guide.
Rating Moderate. For beginner and intermediate backpackers.
Upcoming Dates
February 18th - 19th (Saturday - Sunday)
To reserve, please call (865) 436-8283 or reserve course online
Description

Learn everything you need to know about safely enjoying the sport of winter backpacking as you experience the solitude of the Smokies in winter. You will increase your confidence as you enter a different world. During these trips we will have greater opportunities to view wildlife, learn animal tracking, explore homestead sites normally hidden in the thick foliage, and encounter the Park during the quiet season.  Our guides will teach you the tricks to staying warm, dry and comfortable on cold winter nights in the backcountry. Learn how to make a fire even in a wet environment, basic survival skills, how to prevent hypothermia and more, all designed to help you gain the expertise to backpack in any weather!

Title of Walk Birding Tours
Length/Price

Half day tour: $150 for first person, $20 each additional.
Full day tour: $250 for first person, $25 each additional. Special group rates available.

Upcoming Dates Call for schedule (865) 436-8283 or request walk online
Description

Join us for a 3 hour tour with Naturalist, Jaimie Matzko, as she shows you the wonders of spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spend the morning exploring the different habitats, including one found only in the Southern Appalachians, a Cove hardwood forest as well as a Spruce- fir forest in search of wildflowers, migrating songbirds and other signs of spring. You'll be learning some simple birding ID techniques by sight and sound, so bring your binoculars. This tour will include some short, but moderate walks so be prepared to get out and go exploring!

Rating: For a 3 Hour walk this is Easy with some Moderate spots.

Title of Class MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE SMOKIES
Length/Price
Two hours.
$75 for first person, $25 each additional person.
Rating Easy. Suitable for anybody in reasonable shape.
Upcoming Dates

Call for schedule (865) 436-8283 or reserve class online

Description

Have you ever wondered what plants were used for ailments in the days before our modern-day medicines? Take a walk back in time to learn the history, lore and traditional uses of local plants practiced by the Cherokee and early settlers of the area. On this walk, you learn to identify common plants to use at home for anything from arthritis, aches and pains, fevers, influenza, childbirth, insomnia, respiratory disorders, and overall health. Each season showcases different herbs.  You'll be amazed at the abundance of green medicine found in your own backyard.

Title of Class Introduction to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants (subtitled "Waiter, there's a Weed on my Plate!")
Length/Price
Half Day
$105 for first person, $52 each additional person ($100, $50 respectively with Cash Discount).
Class size restricted to 15 people
Rating Easy. Suitable for anybody in reasonable shape.
Upcoming Dates
Available on Request. To reserve, please call (865) 436-8283 or reserve class online
Description

Remember when you had a cold or sore throat and grandma would make you a nice soothing cup of tea from wild herbs? Ever wonder what she used to make you feel better? Would you like to learn what grandma knew?

Make new friends while you spend a day in the Smokies with A Walk in the Woods. Learn how to identify wild edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms that you may find in your own yard, nearby meadows or neighborhood woods. A Walk in the Woods puts fun back into learning about nature! All of our classes are hands on and we use all of our senses to experience nature in a new way. Our day begins in an outdoor classroom setting learning how to identify plants and common mushrooms, than we'll go for a walk to explore various types of outdoor settings and what is found there. We'll discuss the nutritional values of wild plants, what the Native Americans and settlers used them for and what modern science has to say.

 

A Walk in the Woods is starting our 18th year of business. In that time we have safely helped over 73,500 people enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We are permitted through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and insured. We are certified in Wilderness First Responder, Professional Level CPR and Non-Lethal Aversive Bear Conditioning.

Please call (865) 436-8283 or email for reservations and more information.

 

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