North Carolina | Backpacking & Rock Climbing | Teen Adventure

Discover North Carolina’s remote, technical terrain, as you backpack & climb across rugged wilderness on a 14-day teen adventure.

Questions? Call NCOAE Support (910) 399-8090


At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning the technical skills to travel & explore remote destinations in wild North Carolina!

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14 days


Course Information

Adventure First

During this 14-day North Carolina backpacking & rock climbing course, you’ll find yourself exploring North Carolina's remote wilderness.

With NCOAE’s North Carolina Backpacking & Rock Climbing course, you’ll explore some of America’s most historic terrain – the majestic Blue Ridge mountains and rugged gorges of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – the Grand Canyon of the East. Our adventure begins and ends with North Carolina wilderness, and in the middle you’ll find solitude. Travel along cold-mountain streams, cascading waterfalls, and remote mountain passes, as you explore some of the tallest rock faces on the East Coast.  And, all of this provides the true  adventure of a lifetime!

During your expedition, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your backpacking skills, traveling into remote technical terrain where you’ll need tools, such as fixed lines, to finally reach the summit. Spend several days rock climbing, as you develop skills to climb peaks and summit mountains, including rock climbing and backpacking skills, climbing rescue skills, backcountry navigation, hazard assessment, and personal skill development. You may even get the chance to apply your new skills in the last few days of the course with a “graduation climb” up a mountain peak.

During this 14-Day North Carolina Backpacking & Rock Climbing course, you’ll find yourself exploring the heart of the America’s first National Forest. As you travel through the Appalachian mountain range, exploring rocky ridges and breathtaking mountain vistas, you’ll be learning, sharpening, and practicing the skills to plan and lead adventure-based experiential education trips.

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  • Duration: 14 days
  • Minimum Age: 14
  • Tuition: $2,680.00
  • Credit Hours: 0.5
Available Dates
May 29, 2020 - Jun 11, 2020
May 28, 2021 - Jun 10, 2021

Education Always

  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer certification
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • Rock Climbing skills
  • Advanced Backpacking skills
  • Remote wilderness camp craft, including backcountry cooking and food planning
  • Climbing rescue techniques
  • Teaching-level knowledge of the NCOAE
  • Itinerary
  • FAQs
  • Credits
  • Outcomes
  • Downloads

Itinerary Highlights

  • NCOAE core curriculum
  • LNT Awareness training
  • Gain experience in expedition planning, wilderness risk management, mountaineering skills, environmental studies, backcountry navigation, leadership in the wilderness, outdoor technology skills, and more

Why Take This Course

  • Develop Backpacking & Rock Climbing skills
  • Explore the Appalachian mountain range
  • Advance your knowledge of environmental science and outdoor leadership curriculum — while living and learning in North Carolina’s wild, beautiful places
  • Discover which areas of outdoor and wilderness education are best suited to your strengths
  • Acquire the skills needed to travel in remote, pristine destinations around the world!

Where You’ll Be

  • Wilderness of Pisgah National Forest — America’s first National Forest
  • Appalachian Mountain Range
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
What is the 14-day North Carolina - Backpacking & Rock Climbing teen adventure course?

The North Carolina Backpacking & Rock Climbing course is a multi-day wilderness adventure during which you’ll participate in backpacking, rock climbing, and camping activities – while learning how to travel in the outdoors on a multi-day backcountry course.

You’ll visit a variety of remote areas in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, such as the Pisgah National Forest, the 30-mile-long Art Loeb Trail, Cedar Rock, Stone Depot, Lower West Rights, and the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Along the way, you’ll explore the rugged ridges of these mountain areas as you practice the basics of camp setup, rock climbing, backpacking, and other outdoor skills.

How far will I be hiking?

You and your party will travel more than 30 miles across mountains, cool mountain streams, and cascading waterfalls, practicing backpacking, climbing, & mountaineering skills needed to explore rugged, remote areas around the world!

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be living in tents and enjoying our evenings in different areas most nights, identifying the stars and sharing highlights of our learning.

Who should take this course?

This course is best suited to those who want to challenge themselves in rugged, backcountry conditions.

Is the 14-day course offered in other locations or on different dates?

We offer this course in a variety of locations and during different periods throughout the summer to accommodate the destination and schedule that works best for you. You can also  explore Alaska or the Pacific Northwest on a 14-day summer expedition!

What do I need to do to physically prepare for this course?

You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to carry your own pack, with your own gear and some group gear. Your pack will weigh between 40 and 50 pounds at any given time. You will be hiking over rugged terrain, crossing rivers, and climbing rugged ridges.

What is the average group size and instructor/student ratio?

Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 12 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every six students.

What are the minimum and average ages of participants?

Students enrolled in this course are 14-18 years old.

What gear and equipment do I need?

NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the NCOAE 14-day North Carolina Backpacking & Rock Climbing teen adventure pack list.

Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in North Carolina?

Your tuition with NCOAE covers all major costs related to your room, board, and lodging, except when specified in the itinerary. Each student should bring a small amount of spending money for personal items; such as souvenirs, extra snacks, and gifts.

What kind of food will I be eating?

Since we will be carrying all of our food on our backs, we’ll be eating many of the items that begin in their dehydrated forms; water weight is not something we want to carry. Expect meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even fresh baked bread and pizza! Of course, you’ll be making them all from scratch — learning to cook backcountry gourmet on the trail.

Academic Credit

Learning achieved through NCOAE’s 14-day Backpacking teen adventure course may be eligible for high school credits through Blueprint Education, an accredited distance learning school for grades seven through 12 with a mission of inspiring students to make better choices and be champions of their own learning.

Academic Course Hours and Credits

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) curriculum maintains and exceeds U.S. high school standards for seat-time. Students may be eligible for the following high school credits:

  • Physical Education: Achieved through learning and showing proficiency in mountaineering, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, surfing, standup paddle boarding, alpine, and/or backpacking activities.
  • Outdoor Leadership: Achieved through learning and showing proficiency in interpersonal development, small group dynamics, critical thinking, and decision making.
  • Environmental Studies: Achieved through learning about and showing proficiency in water conservation, astronomy, environmental sustainability, Leave No Trace (LNT), cycle of rain clouds, and oceanography.

In our beautiful home state, you’ll acquire self and group assessment and management skills.  This 14-day course will additionally expose you to a unique variety of environmental settings, as you backpack and rock climbing, explore mountains and rivers, and encounter remote flora, fauna, and landscapes.

Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?

This course will prepare you with the self-reliance and skill necessary to travel in remote locations. You will learn effectual communication skills, understand the importance of making positive personal choices for your life, and help you understand how to become an influential member of your community.

How will NCOAE help you get there?

The 14-day North Carolina – Backpacking & Rock Climbing teen adventure course is the affordable adventure option if you are seeking extraordinary outdoor skill development, including: wilderness risk management, backpacking, climbing, backcountry cooking and living, and expedition planning.

Best of all, you’ll advance your opportunities to travel in the wilderness, and to affect positive changes in the world.

Upcoming Dates / Reserve Your Spot

This 14-day North Carolina - Backpacking & Rock Climbing course for teens is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in our home state.

Available Dates
May 29, 2020 - Jun 11, 2020
May 28, 2021 - Jun 10, 2021

You’ll develop your personal leadership style, gain wilderness skills, and learn effective tools for communication.