Blue Ridge Explorer

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

$3,495

  • June 29th - July 12th
  • July 15th - July 28th
  • Charlotte, NC

Day 1

Upon arrival to 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 venturers and your experienced trip leaders 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 an easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains. 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 really 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 as a group.

Day 2-4

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 your trail legs ready to roll, you’ll summit Mt. Mitchell together as a group and celebrate your accomplishment atop this grand summit with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll head off the mountain and make way to your next home: North Carolina’s esteemed Pisgah National Forest. Once in Pisgah, you’ll head straight into your next group activity at Looking Glass Rock. You’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. You’ll learn to belay and you’ll push yourself, your tripmates, and even your 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 your days of rock climbing, you’ll begin preparing for your next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  You’ll prep for the trip by doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with your cook crew, and you will get to enjoy a bit of townie civilization while you’re at it. Once you’re clean and refreshed, you’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, you and your group will begin your four-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. You’ll work together as a team, perfecting your map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering 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!

Day 9-11

You’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward yourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. From there, you’re off into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days to embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, you’ll learn the basics of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice your 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 zip-line canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, you’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. You’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Day 12-14

You’ll head off the water and back on land for your 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, you will enjoy your last group hike together along the rim trails and partake in a canopy tour of the area. From there, you’ll pack up camp and head to our last campsite of the trip. You’ll end your amazing adventure with a traditional WA banquet, bid your tearful farewell to your new lifelong friends, and head home the next day.

Day 1

Upon arrival to 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 venturers and your experienced trip leaders 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 an easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains. 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 really 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 as a group.

Day 2-4

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 your trail legs ready to roll, you’ll summit Mt. Mitchell together as a group and celebrate your accomplishment atop this grand summit with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll head off the mountain and make way to your next home: North Carolina’s esteemed Pisgah National Forest. Once in Pisgah, you’ll head straight into your next group activity at Looking Glass Rock. You’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. You’ll learn to belay and you’ll push yourself, your tripmates, and even your 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 your days of rock climbing, you’ll begin preparing for your next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  You’ll prep for the trip by doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with your cook crew, and you will get to enjoy a bit of townie civilization while you’re at it. Once you’re clean and refreshed, you’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, you and your group will begin your four-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. You’ll work together as a team, perfecting your map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering 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!

Day 9-11

You’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward yourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. From there, you’re off into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days to embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, you’ll learn the basics of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice your 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 zip-line canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, you’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. You’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Day 12-14

You’ll head off the water and back on land for your 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, you will enjoy your last group hike together along the rim trails and partake in a canopy tour of the area. From there, you’ll pack up camp and head to our last campsite of the trip. You’ll end your amazing adventure with a traditional WA banquet, bid your tearful farewell to your new lifelong friends, and head home the next day.

"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