Carolina Blue backpacking

Carolina Blue: Crags to Coast

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Tuition $3,795





Jun 27 - Jul 12 Jul 15 - Jul 30

Backpack, Hike, Rock Climb, Sea Kayak, Stand Up Paddle Board, Surf, Whitewater Raft

Arrival Location

Charlotte, NC

Departure Location

Charlotte, NC

Trip Overview

The glorious Appalachian region of the Carolinas is surrounded by over one million acres of green, rolling mountains, rushing rivers, craggy rock faces, and cascading waterfalls. Learn to rock climb at Looking Glass Falls, backpack through Pisgah National Forest, and take on the Nantahala and Chattooga Rivers. Then, head east to the shore to explore the low country coastal areas of Charleston by sea kayak and surfboard. Explore the finest crags and coastlines the southeast has to offer, all while making lasting friendships in the great outdoors! Wilderness Adventures is a permittee of Pisgah National Forest.

Carolina Blue backpacking
Carolina Blue rock climbing
Carolina Blue rock climbing
Carolina Blue hiking
Carolina Blue kayaking
Carolina Blue stand up paddle boarding
Carolina Blue surfing
Carolina Blue whitewater rafting
Inflatable whitewater kayaking on the Carolina Blue: Crags to Coast trip


Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.

Backpacking on the Carolina Blue: Crags to Coast trip


Upon arriving in Charlotte, NC, it’s hard not to get the impression that your adventure is already underway. After gathering your bags, you will meet your fellow adventurers and your experienced trip leaders for the first time. Each and every one of your trip mates will have something different to bring to the table, yet you’ll all be equally excited for the journey ahead. From the airport, it is a short drive to your first base camp located within the majestic Appalachian Mountains along the Davidson River. There, as you learn to set up camp for the first time, you’ll get the chance to hang out with your new teammates and begin to get to know them. And finally, once you have all settled in, you’ll get right down to business, planning the first leg of your journey – rock climbing at Looking Glass – as a group.

Your first stop: North Carolina’s esteemed Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah is known for its hardwood forests and whitewater rivers. You’ll learn the ropes of rock climbing and belaying at Looking Glass Rock from the best guides in the area. For two days, you’ll top-rope up, traverse across, and rappel down Pisgah’s impressive crags. You’ll push yourself, your trip mates, and even your leaders to whole new heights.

The Appalachian Mountains formed roughly 480 million years ago and yet, despite their extensive age, there is still so much to discover. After your days of rock climbing, you’ll begin preparing for your next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest. First, you’ll prep for the trip by doing laundry, grocery shopping, and meal planning with your cook crew. Once you’re clean and refreshed, you’ll celebrate the hard work with a nice icy swim at Sliding Rock! Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural rock slide that plummets its daring takers into a 7-foot pool of icy water at its base.

The next day, your group will begin your three-day, two-night backpacking excursion on some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. You’ll work together as a team as you perfect your map and compass skills, learn the essentials of backcountry living, and master the use of Whisperlite stoves at mealtimes. You’ll play games, tell stories, and enjoy the serenity of the area’s wilderness, all the while keeping an eye out for local wildlife!

You’ll head back to the front country and, before anything else, reward yourselves with showers and laundry. From there, you’re off into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days to embark on a trifecta of fun activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, you’ll learn the basics of inflatable kayaking and practice your skills in individual “duckies” along the Nantahala. Class II and III rapids interspersed with swimming holes.

The next day, you’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. The Chattooga was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River back in 1974. Today, remains largely undeveloped. You’ll whitewater raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

At this point on your trip, you and your group will have explored the best crags and forest areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and experienced thrilling river rapids you won’t soon forget. From here on out, your group will hit the shore and explore the low-country coastal areas of the Carolinas. You’ll travel to Charleston, SC and start with a day of sea kayaking in the Barrier Islands. The ecosystem and untouched shorelines of these islands will be nothing like you’ve seen yet! You’ll paddle the coastline and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and other sea wildlife as you navigate through the calm waves and swells of the Atlantic.

For your final day of exploring the Carolina Blue coastal waters, you and your group will learn how to surf and stand up paddle board at Folly Beach. With professional surf instructors, you will learn surfing techniques, how to wax your board, how to navigate ocean currents, and much more. From there, your group will travel back to Charlotte for your celebratory final banquet. After 16 action-packed days, you will bid farewell to your new lifelong friends and head home the next day knowing the true meaning of Carolina Blue.

On my Blue Ridge trip, I learned to appreciate and respect the wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it. Being able to experience the wild outdoors was my favorite part of the summer.

Owen, 2019 Carolina Blue Student

Trip Price Includes

  • Accommodations
  • Activities
  • Meals
  • Group gear

Not Included

  • Personal gear and clothing
  • Airfare to and from the trip start and end
Travelers all jumping in the air

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Tuition $3,795

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