Blue Ridge Expedition

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Blue Ridge Expedition


North Carolina
South Carolina

Current Grades



19 Days

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Meeting Place

​Arrive & depart: Hendersonville, NC

Embrace the beauty of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains this summer! This wild land is known for the world over for its biodiversity with plant and wildlife species. Backpack among cascading waterfalls and lush forests in Linville Gorge and Pisgah National Forest. Learn canoe strokes on Lake Jocassee, and hone your rafting skills on two Wild and Scenic Rivers. Rock climb on ancient granite, and then take on world-renowned trails in DuPont State Forest on your bike.

*Blue Ridge Expedition will be open only to returning students currently enrolled on the Alaska Expedition until Wednesday, May 27. Then, new and eligible students may be considered. 

*This itinerary is subject to change.

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Blue Ridge Adventure Itinerary

Backpack in Pisgah National Forest and Linville Gorge

During one backpack, you’ll wander for three days through the magical Pisgah National Forest, where you’ll find some of the highest peaks (reaching over 6,000 feet) on the east coast. In fact, you may get to stand atop a mountain whose summit affords views into four different states. More than 250 waterfalls abound in western NC, and you’ll get to splash around in many of them. On another backpack, you’ll travel through Linville Gorge, a rugged canyon carved by the Linville River. The landscape is so stunning, especially in summer, that it’s been designated as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Covered in deciduous hardwood and pine forests, with soaring rock faces cropping up everywhere you look, Linville Gorge is the perfect place to hone your navigation skills.

Canoe on Lake Jocassee

Dramatic is the word that comes to mind when visiting the Jocassee Gorges. Four rivers come together to form Jocassee Lake, whose crystal-clear waters (you can often see up to 30 feet down) we’ll spend several days gliding through. This gorge is made even more special by the dozen tumbling waterfalls that line its shores, several of which we’ll get to hike and jump into. Keep your eyes peeled for black bear (but don’t be scared—they’re fearful of humans and keep their distance), bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and the rare Oconee Bell, a beautiful white and yellow wildflower found only in this wilderness. Fun fact: Lake Jocassee was a filming site for the 2012 film Hunger Games!

Whitewater raft the Chattooga River

The gem of the Southeast’s rivers, the Chattooga awaits our two-day rafting excursion. Designated a Wild & Scenic River in 1974, its protected banks are rugged and untouched. Some calmer sections are more leisurely, where we’ll jump into swimming holes and have splash wars. Other sections will pick up the pace and get your adrenaline flowing as you bounce down the most fun rapids you’ve ever experienced.

Rock climb at Gilbert's Rock

This granite formation peeking out from the hills is 250 million years old! We’ll set up many routes of varying difficulties, so you can work your way up the challenge ladder as you feel ready. When you reach the top after being cheered on by your friends, take a minute to soak in the 50-mile view.

Mountain bike in DuPont State Forest

Acclaimed single-track trails await in this pine woodland, whose 100 miles of trails are perfect for riders of all abilities. Small lakes and creeks flow throughout DuPont’s 10,000 acres, which means we’ll get to take a mid-day dip. You’ll pedal past thundering waterfalls and over slickrock—a rare find in North Carolina, as it’s very similar to what you’d find out West. Bonus: Ride past Triple Falls, another Hunger Games filming site!

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
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  • Return Day
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Departure 2
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Departure Day Return Day Price Availability
Included in Tuition:
  • All meals
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, and all group gear
  • Guided activities
Not Included in Tuition:
  • Trip insurance
  • Personal clothing and items




Mountain Biking

Rock Climbing

Whitewater Rafting