About the Program
Get connected with some of the oldest mountains in North America! Yep, that’s right – the Appalachian range, including the Blue Ridge, is listed by geologists among the most ancient mountains on our part of the globe. But here, everything is so lush that you’ll almost forget how old the bedrock is. Rain can fall daily even in the summer, renewing vegetation and feeding the numerous waterfalls tucked away in hidden nooks, just waiting to be discovered by YOU. The magic of this temperate, deciduous rainforest lies in the abundant natural secrets of fresh air, plant life, animals and water features available to those who take a closer look. Get ready for some of the best Class I-IV whitewater rafting in the area through our partners USA Raft and Wildwater! Depending on conditions, we’ll also spend a day either zip lining high up in the tree canopy, or going underground with headlamps to explore the chilly, historic Worley’s Cave. We designed this trip to combine high adventure with a stunning destination to awaken wonder, confidence, leadership, and friendship. It’s an action-packed program with splashy whitewater rafting outings, educational volunteer service, team building, instruction in backcountry skills, and hiking trips. The highlight is a challenging but rewarding 5-day backpacking trip in the incredible Pisgah National Forest.
|16 Day Blue Ridge Expedition + Service Itinerary||No Previous Experience or Expensive Gear Required!|
|Day 1||Welcome to Camp / Travel|
|Day 2||Zip Lines Smoky Mountains|
|Day 3||EPIC Clinic - Day Hike to River Overlook|
|Day 4-5||Overnight Backpacking Trip to Eagles Bluff|
|Day 6||Caving / Laundry|
|Day 7||Whitewater Rafting - Nolichuky River|
|Day 8||Service Day with River Link|
|Day 9-13||Backpacking Trip, Waterfalls, and Sliding Rock|
|Day 14||Whitewater Rafting - Ocoee River|
|Day 15||EPIC Banquet, Pack and Clean Gear, Travel|
|Day 16||Depart for Home|
The Ocoee River (Class III – IV) is an awesome, big water river with huge, splashy rapids. It is 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!
The Nolichucky River Gorge whitewater rafting trip is an adventurous 9 miles of action with 25+ Class II-IV rapids. 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.
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! In our wilderness clinic, campers learn wilderness travel and backcountry skills, such as properly 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. 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!
We visit an unspoiled, wild cave that is known for its voluminous size. There are rooms more than 75 feet wide and 250 feet long, with high ceilings that often exceed 100 feet. It is noted for its beautiful formations. After a wild, wet and muddy caving trip, swimming will be a welcome activity, followed by a delicious meal we prepare ourselves outdoors while camping in a National Forest Campground.
This hidden place is perched 2000 feet above the Nolichucky River overlooking one of the Class IV rapids we will raft. From here the rafts will look like little rubber ducks floating down the river! We will hike down to the rim of the second deepest river gorge on the East coast, crossing several creeks and streams along the way. A great way to warm up and get ready for our multi-day backpacking trip.
Located at the edge of the Smoky Mountains, this zip line trip is action packed and exhilarating. Discover the tree tops as you zip along a 1300-foot long zip line course 120 feet above the river! This is sure to get your adventure juices flowing.