About the Program

Tour Snapshot

Dates:DaysAgesCostRound Trip
6/18-7/9
2213-17$2,900Dallas, or Austin, TX
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  • Blue Ridge Expedition
  • Blue Ridge Expedition
  • Blue Ridge Expedition
  • Blue Ridge Expedition
  • Blue Ridge Expedition
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Just like all of our trips, we pick up campers in Austin and then in Dallas on our way to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and East Tennessee. We travel round trip from Texas via a 15 passenger van and trailer. NO AIRFARE or expensive equipment to purchase! Similar to our Blue Ridge Expedition, this classic trip through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains is the perfect mix of service, outdoor adventure, and travel making this trip EPIC! Teens get the opportunity to explore the best parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains where hiking, rafting, volunteering, camping, caving, climbing, zip lining, and making friends happens every day!

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An occurring theme across all of our programs is that we want our campers to take time to reflect on their lives and the world around them. We know that through intimate outdoor experiences, students become more aware of the natural wonders of the world, themselves, and others. Honoring the desire and willingness to lend a helping hand is something we are proud to take part in. The feeling of giving back is a feeling that is rarely matched. Reaching out to help share the excitement of rafting with special needs teens and helping to restore the French Broad River back to its native state are extremely worthwhile causes. Volunteering is an excellent and rewarding way for campers to gain a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of knowing they made a difference is unforgettable. We take things for granted and volunteering is a great way to gain appreciation for the little things.

22 Day Blue Ridge Service ItineraryNo Previous Experience or Expensive Gear Required!
Day 1Welcome to Camp / Travel
Day 2Zip Lining Smoky Mountains
Day 38 Hours of Volunteering -Whitewater Rafting with Special Needs Teens- Watauga River
Day 4-5EPIC Clinic - Overnight Trip to Eagles Bluff
Day 6Caving
Day 7-8Whitewater Rafting - Nolichucky River
Day 9-10Hike Mount Mitchell
Day 11-12River Conservation Service Project
Day 13Rock Climbing - Start Backpacking Trip
Day 14-17 Finish Backpacking Trip / Waterfalls and Sliding Rock
Day 18SUP's
Day 19Duck the Nantahala River
Day 20Whitewater Rafting - Ocoee River
Day 21EPIC Banquet, Pack and Clean Gear, Travel
Day 22Depart for Home

Activities

On our Blue Ridge Teen Service trip, we give back to the community and the environment three ways. The first is by spending an afternoon working with a group of special needs teens and taking them whitewater rafting down the Watauga River. Working together with local rafting outfitters and school districts, our campers will help to facilitate and encourage them to have a great time. Seeing how much fun these teens have and how appreciative they are will certainly put a smile on both our campers faces as well as the special needs teens’ faces, leaving a lasting impression.

riverlink
Together with Riverlink.org we have also organized a river cleanup project on some of the local streams and tributaries that feed into the French Broad River. This is a local project but one that unfortunately could take place just about anywhere on earth. It is very easy to take for granted that trash out of sight is out of mind. Of all of the projects we do, this one is especially impactfull and eye opening when the amount of trash is pilled up at the end of the day. Teens are always amazed at how many small pieces of trash find their way into the river. At some point the majority of all litter will find its way into a watershed.

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Finally, we will volunteer again with Riverlink.org to work on an invasive species removal project. Teens will learn to identify and remove non-native plants that pose a threat to the overall well-being of the local watershed. Spending the day paddling and hiking along creeks, streams, and rivers finding and removing these destructive plants is sure to be full of adventure. This is also a great educational experience where teens learn the value of conservation and how to be a good steward of the environment.

zip line
Discover the tree tops by zipping along a 1300′ long line 120′ high above the river and treetops! On our first full day, get started by flying across the river on a zip line trip. Located on the edge of the Smoky Mountains, this zip line trip is action packed and exhilarating. Originally zip lines were used in the Himalayas to traverse dangerous territory and to receive supplies. Nowadays they are all about fun and excitement. If you have ever wondered what it was like to fly like a bird across the tree tops this must be pretty close.


This hidden place is perched 2000’ above the Nolichucky River overlooking Rooster Tail, one of the class IV rapids we will raft in the coming days. From up top, the rafts look like little rubber ducks floating down the river! Our camp site for the night is perched along a bald spot near the edge of the second deepest river gorge East of the Mississippi River and it is easy to see why the Cherokee Indians called it Eagle’s Bluff. In our wilderness clinic, campers learn wilderness travel and backcountry skills, such as packing a pack, route finding, using a map/compass, building a tarp shelter, Leave No Trace ethics, good expedition behavior, preventing injuries and risk management. Crossing several creeks and streams along the way, this overnight backpacking trip is a great warm up for our bigger backpacking trip later on.

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This two day adventure gives teens the chance to raft the best to sections of the river. Following a comprehensive instruction course covering river hydrology, proper paddling technique and basic river awareness, teens will get the chance to self guide their own duck down the lower Nolichucky.  These inflatable kayaks are always a big hit with the campers as it gives them complete control and the ability to test their skills navigating through a class III rapid and many more class II.

On day two we step it up a bit and spend the day in the Upper Nolichucky River Gorge (class II – IV).  This whitewater rafting trip is an adventurous 9 miles of action with 25+ class II-IV rapids. Quarter Mile, Rooster Tail, Roller Coaster, and On the Rocks are sure to get your blood flowing.  Starting just below the headwaters of the river, the trip winds through the deepest river gorge in the South along the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee surrounded by towering cliffs and flowery rhododendron. The headwaters and tributaries that feed the river are all from the slopes of Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain on the entire East coast.

Hike to the highest peak East of the Mississippi River!  Along the way we will see where many creeks and streams that feed into the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers begin. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating wild blueberries and blackberries along the way.  We will camp out near the top of this 6366’ mountain peak where smoke can be seen floating through the valleys! Waking up and preparing pancakes high up in the mountains will certainly make a lasting memory.  Fun fact: until Texas joined the union in 1845, this was the highest point in the United States!

Adventure into a remote, wild cave that is known for its voluminous size with rooms more than 75 feet wide and 250 feet long, with high ceilings that often exceed 100 feet.  No handrails or fancy lights, just our headlamps,a map, and our guides! Teens will work their way back to Ferries Ballroom and work together to climb Devil’s Staircase before passing through a narrow passage way into another shaft containing an underwater river! Originally discovered during the Civil War as a mine for saltpeter (used to make gunpowder), it is now noted for it’s beautiful formations. After a wild, wet and muddy caving trip, swimming will be a welcome activity as well as  a delicious meal we prepare ourselves outdoors while camping in a National Forest Campground. This is a camper favorite every year!

Since EPIC Adventures is an adventure camp, when we go rock climbing we  climb on real rock outside, not in a gym or a man-made climbing wall. Looking Glass is the premier rock climbing destination in the Southeast, attracting climbers from across the globe. This is also part of our backpacking trip as we will camp near the rock and meet our AMGA certified climbing guides who will provide proper hands-on instruction teaching teens belaying techniques, knot tying, climbing skills, rappelling, and how to care for the climbing equipment. We will have several climbing routes set up ensuring everyone is challenged and has an EPIC climb!

teen Backpacking camp Teens consistently learn more from our backpacking trips than any other element of camp. They are challenged appropriately and must work together as teams to follow routes, choose campsites, lead the group, build shelters, find and treat water, attend to good health and more! Depending on the terrain and elevation gain/loss, hiking will be in the 5-8 mile per day range in the high Blue Ridge Mountains. Campers prepare meals over campfires or stoves each night and set up and sleep in tarp shelters. After the backpacking trip, campers will enjoy a well deserved pizza and ice cream party, wash clothes, and enjoy hot showers!

Find out what the SUP craze is all about! We will spend some time learning to stand and paddle with proper technique before heading out across Fontana Lake to discover some of the most remote parts of the Smokey Mountains that can only be accessed by water. Fontana Lake is hidden between the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We will take our SUP boards out to some of the more isolated coves to discover waterfalls and wildlife that has escaped the crowds. This peaceful adventure provides a perfect chance for teens to reflect on their accomplishment.

On this Class II-III rafting trip we will take inflatable kayaks, duckies, down one of the Southeast quintessential rivers. Nantahala is Cherokee for “land of the noonday sun.” Winding through this narrow gorge with rapids like Whirlpool, Bulls Run, and The Falls where parts of the river only see direct sunlight when the sun is directly overhead in the middle of the day due to the steep walls. In 2013, the Nantahala River was home to the Kayak World Freestyle Championships attracting paddlers from across the globe. This is one of those rivers where anyone who kayaks knows about the Nanny.

slide2The Ocoee River (class III – IV) is an awesome big water river with huge, splashy rapids and action packed from start to finish! There are over 26 adventure class rapids on this 5 mile stretch of river with names such as Grumpys, Double Trouble, Tablesaw and Diamond Splitter, which make it one of the South’s most popular rivers. The Ocoee River was also home to the whitewater sports for the 1996 Summer Olympics!

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