Blue Ridge Explorer

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Blue Ridge Explorer


North Carolina

Current Grades

7th, 8th


16 Days

view dates and prices
Meeting Place

​Arrive & depart: Asheville, NC (AVL)

2024 dates, tuition, and itineraries will be finalized in fall 2023. More details coming soon!

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 Pisgah or Nantahala 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.

Overview Image

Blue Ridge Adventure Itinerary

Backpack in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hike for four days through the magical Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most biodiverse national park in the US and home to some of the highest peaks in the East! (It’s so wondrous, in fact, that it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) As you hike through lushly vegetated forests of spruce fir, hemlock, pine, and more, keep an eye out for one of 1,500 wildflowers that dot the forest floors. Black bear and elk may make an appearance in the distance.

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.

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, a Hunger Games filming site!

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
  • Departure Day
  • Return Day
  • Price
Departure Day Return Day Price
Included in tuition:
  • All meals
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, and all group gear
  • Guided activities
Not included in tuition:
  • Airfare to and from Asheville, NC (AVL)
  • Trip insurance (more info here)
  • Personal clothing and items (packing lists available for enrolled families)

Most of our nights are spent at “frontcountry” campsites, where we’ll generally have a more developed campsite with running water, toilets, and sometimes cell phone service. This may be a public or private campground. We often stay at the same frontcountry site a few days in a row.

The other nights will be spent “backcountry” camping, referring to wilderness locations where we are most likely out of cell phone service and away from our vehicles, electricity, and other amenities. Many multi-day activities like backpacking take place in the backcountry.

Challenge/fitness level

No experience necessary; all skill levels welcome!

Fitness and physical challenge are subjective, so Adventure Treks does not “rate” its trips based on challenge. However, because we’ll be highly engaged in backcountry activities throughout trip, our students have the responsibility to be physically fit. We know physical fitness looks different for everyone, but it’s important to come prepared so that you and your fellow students can succeed. One student not coming prepared with physical fitness will negatively impact the entire group. In the months leading up to their trip, students should develop a routine that emphasizes stamina and sustaining a moderate level of exertion for many hours, several days in a row. Running, swimming, bicycling, aerobics classes, and team sports are all beneficial and will help improve cardiovascular fitness in preparation for a student’s trip.



Mountain biking

Rock climbing

Whitewater rafting