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Branch Out activities are designed to enhance Great Smoky Mountains Association members' knowledge and appreciation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and are scheduled monthly. Our goal is to offer programs in both the Tennessee and North Carolina regions of the park each month.

View Our

2017 Schedule

Hiking 101 with GSMA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is “Paradise Found” for people who like to walk in the mountains. Over 150 different trails are maintained in the park—more than 800 miles in all—offering hikers a lifetime’s worth of exploration and adventure.

Hiking 101 is designed to enhance our members’ knowledge of and appreciation of park trails. The program is intended to help members explore lesser-used areas of the park in a group setting while re-enforcing “Leave No Trace” principles and other hiking values designed to ensure safe, satisfying exploration of this national park. 

Click HERE for Hiking 101 Program Details

Go Backpacking!

NEW: With support from naturalist and guide leader Liz Domingue, we've added two Women's ONLY backpacking trips to our lineup this season.

Back for a third year, we are also once again working with Chris Hoge of Wildland Trekking to provide our members two co-ed, total Smoky Mountains immersion experiences. Shorter trips are designed for those who are new to backpacking, in the hopes that they’ll develop the confidence they need to one day plan their own backcountry experience. Longer trips open the park’s harder-to-reach places to more eyes. In addition to providing a safe, enjoyable experience, both Liz and Chris will share their knowledge of park history, as well as its flora and fauna.

Click HERE for Backpacking Program Details

This Event Is SOLD OUT!
So We've Started a WAIT LIST

Best DAM View of the Eclipse


Picture It... You and 39 other GSMA members climb aboard three pontoon boats at the Lake Fontana Marina just as the sky begins to darken on Monday, August 21, the day of the All-American Solar Eclipse. Following a hearty boxed lunch with beverages of your choice, you'll chat with your new friends as you float around the lake's center until the sun completely disappears for just over 2 full minutes, creating a brief nighttime experience in the middle of the afternoon.

If that sounds like the eclipse view you've been looking for, put your name on our wait list for this once-in-a-lifetime event. If your boat reservation is confirmed via email, reserve a room with GSMA Business Member Fontana Village by calling the Front Desk (available 24/7) at 828.498.2211 or toll-free at 800.849.2258 to make reservations, letting the reservationist know you are with the GSMA 2017 group to receive a discount. Special GSMA event pricing (for this event), King or Two Queen rooms at the Lodge for $119 per night, one bedroom cabins starting at $133 and two bedroom cabins starting at $149.

Prior to the big event on Monday, Fontana Village will host a full weekend of eclipse fun, all outlined HERE


Deadline to Register: Monday, July 24

Deadline to Reserve Room: Friday, May 19
(Due to an expectation of high demand, a 90-day pre-registration is required)


Totally Separate Eclipse Happenings

Click HERE to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park's plans for the eclipse

Click HERE to learn more about the All-American Eclipse

How to Register
for Branch Out events

Online - Each program includes a link to an online registration form 

By Phone865.436.7318, Ext. 349 and 254

Program Fees

GSMA's goal with program fees is to secure the services of some of the most knowledgeable leaders in the area, ensuring members are more than satisfied with their experience. Payment is required in advance and by credit card only.

Cancellation Policy

In most cases, refunds are not available; instead; your payment will be considered a tax-deductible donation to GSMA if you are unable to attend. For more about information about our cancellation policy...

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