Blue Ridge Explorer Trip

Blue Ridge Explorer

Explorer Adventure - Grades 7-9

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. Explore North Carolina’s finest wilderness areas while making lasting friendships in the great outdoors!

14 Days

$3,195

  • June 24th - July 7th
  • July 9th - July 22nd
  • July 24th - August 6th
  • Charlotte, NC

Day 1

Upon arrival into one of the most beautiful cities in North Carolina, Charlotte, it’s hard not to get the impression that our adventure is already underway. After gathering your bags, your adventure begins as you meet your experienced trip leaders as well as your fellow venturers for the first time. You can imagine how exciting it will be to meet kids your age from all over the country. Each and every one of your trip mates will have something different to bring to the table, and yet you’ll all be as equally excited for the journey ahead. From the airport, it is a quick and easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains. There, as we learn to set up camp for the first time, you’ll get the chance to hang out with your new teammates and really get to know them. Right before your eyes, your trip will begin to take shape. And finally, once we have all settled in, we’ll get right down to business, planning the first leg of our journey.

Day 2-4

We’ll spend the first days of our journey getting to know both our mountainous environment and each other better – all the while having lots of fun. Our first stop: the summit of Mt. Mitchell. At 6,684 feet above sea level, Mt. Mitchell stands as not only the highest peak of the Appalachian range, but also east of the Mississippi River. With our trail legs ready to roll, we’ll summit Mt. Mitchell together as a group and celebrate our accomplishment atop this grand summit of North Carolina with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll head off the mountains and shift over to our home for the next few days: Pisgah National Forest. We’ll head straight into our next group activity at Looking Glass Rock. We’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the rocky crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. We’ll learn to belay each other and we’ll push ourselves, our trip mates, and even our leaders to whole new heights.

Day 5-8

The Appalachian Mountains formed roughly 480 million years ago and yet despite their extensive age, there is still so much to discover. After our days of rock climbing, we’ll begin preparing for our next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  We’ll prep for the trip, doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with our cook crews, and enjoying at bit of townie civilization. Once we’re clean and refreshed, we’ll celebrate our 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, we’ll begin our four-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. We’ll work together as a team, perfecting our map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering the use of Whisperlite stoves at mealtimes. We’ll play games, tell stories, and enjoy the serenity of the area’s wilderness, all the while keeping an eye out for local wildlife!

Day 9-11

We’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward ourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. We’ll head into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days and embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, we’ll learn the ins and outs of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice our skills in individual “duckies” along the Nantahala. Class II and III rapids, swimming holes, and great fun will fill the morning before switching gears and zipping through the open air in the afternoon. We’ll take a zipline canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, we’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. We’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Day 12-14

We’ll head off the water and back on land for our next adventure: traversing through Tallulah Gorge. Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular canyon that is over two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Taking in spectacular views of the waterfalls and canyons below us, we will enjoy our last hike together as a group along the rim trails. We’ll pack up camp and head back to our original campsite, making the trip run full circle.  We’ll end our amazing adventure with a traditional WA banquet, bid our tearful farewells to our new lifelong friends, and head home the next day knowing we saw, experienced, and accomplished more than we ever deemed ourselves capable of in just one, single action-packed summer.

Day 1

Upon arrival into one of the most beautiful cities in North Carolina, Charlotte, it’s hard not to get the impression that our adventure is already underway. After gathering your bags, your adventure begins as you meet your experienced trip leaders as well as your fellow venturers for the first time. You can imagine how exciting it will be to meet kids your age from all over the country. Each and every one of your trip mates will have something different to bring to the table, and yet you’ll all be as equally excited for the journey ahead. From the airport, it is a quick and easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains. There, as we learn to set up camp for the first time, you’ll get the chance to hang out with your new teammates and really get to know them. Right before your eyes, your trip will begin to take shape. And finally, once we have all settled in, we’ll get right down to business, planning the first leg of our journey.

Day 2-4

We’ll spend the first days of our journey getting to know both our mountainous environment and each other better – all the while having lots of fun. Our first stop: the summit of Mt. Mitchell. At 6,684 feet above sea level, Mt. Mitchell stands as not only the highest peak of the Appalachian range, but also east of the Mississippi River. With our trail legs ready to roll, we’ll summit Mt. Mitchell together as a group and celebrate our accomplishment atop this grand summit of North Carolina with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll head off the mountains and shift over to our home for the next few days: Pisgah National Forest. We’ll head straight into our next group activity at Looking Glass Rock. We’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the rocky crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. We’ll learn to belay each other and we’ll push ourselves, our trip mates, and even our leaders to whole new heights.

Day 5-8

The Appalachian Mountains formed roughly 480 million years ago and yet despite their extensive age, there is still so much to discover. After our days of rock climbing, we’ll begin preparing for our next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  We’ll prep for the trip, doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with our cook crews, and enjoying at bit of townie civilization. Once we’re clean and refreshed, we’ll celebrate our 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, we’ll begin our four-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. We’ll work together as a team, perfecting our map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering the use of Whisperlite stoves at mealtimes. We’ll play games, tell stories, and enjoy the serenity of the area’s wilderness, all the while keeping an eye out for local wildlife!

Day 9-11

We’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward ourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. We’ll head into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days and embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, we’ll learn the ins and outs of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice our skills in individual “duckies” along the Nantahala. Class II and III rapids, swimming holes, and great fun will fill the morning before switching gears and zipping through the open air in the afternoon. We’ll take a zipline canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, we’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. We’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Day 12-14

We’ll head off the water and back on land for our next adventure: traversing through Tallulah Gorge. Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular canyon that is over two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Taking in spectacular views of the waterfalls and canyons below us, we will enjoy our last hike together as a group along the rim trails. We’ll pack up camp and head back to our original campsite, making the trip run full circle.  We’ll end our amazing adventure with a traditional WA banquet, bid our tearful farewells to our new lifelong friends, and head home the next day knowing we saw, experienced, and accomplished more than we ever deemed ourselves capable of in just one, single action-packed summer.

Meet your Trip Leaders.

Learn more about the staff that make a summer with WA such a life changing experience.

"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 Finsthwait, Lincoln, MA