Smokies Wilderness Elite A.T. Crew (SWEAT)



Times of day


Time Commitment

Full time (30+ hrs/wk)


Short-Term (few weeks/months)


199 Soak Ash Creek Road
United States


“Elite” is the operative word. This A.T. crew is arguably the most challenging since it addresses trail maintenance issues deep within the most remote backcountry areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The crew backpacks in 6–11 miles over terrain with several thousand feet in elevation change to reach their camping and work sites, carrying everything they need for their six-day hitch in the field —from gear, tools, and safety equipment to shelter and sustenance.

Essential Volunteer Functions

Volunteers spend six consecutive days and five nights working in remote backcountry locations, far from medical facilities, performing physically demanding manual labor in a variety of intense weather conditions. In addition to trail work activities, volunteers also actively contribute to community chores and always practice Leave No Trace.

Essential Functions Include

  • Backpacking and hiking long distances on challenging terrain carrying required personal and group gear, tools, and safety equipment (40%). Hiking pace should be 2 mph in this strenuous mountainous terrain.
  • The hike in will be between 6-11 miles over challenging terrain with thousands of feet of elevation change, carrying as much as 55-65 lbs. along with tools. 
  • Daily hikes to and from worksite can be up to 8 miles, in addition to the performance of trail work. 
  • Performing trail work (45%)
  • Tasks include cutting annual growth, raking or digging out drains, installing erosion control features, or moving heavy logs or rocks.
  • Managing backcountry camp (15%), including sharing in duties associated with preparing, cooking, and cleaning up from meals, maintaining sanitation at camp and worksite, cleaning and storing group tools and gear, and other tasks to cooperatively share in work of the entire crew.
  • Concurrent to those functions, volunteers who see the greatest success:
  • Have an enthusiasm for the experience;
  • Have an ability to get along with and work cooperatively with others;
  • Keep safety top of mind;
  • Have a desire to work hard; and
  • Arrive with a level of fitness commensurate with the volunteer job functions.


  • Training Provided
  • Housing Available


  • Groups
  • International Volunteers