Appalachian Trail Explorers
ATe is much more than a walk in the woods. Our Hikers, boys and girls, ages 13 to 17, experience the ultimate youth summer adventure in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.
Backpacking, tent camping, mountain ziplines, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing and more all under the leadership of an experienced, encouraging and enthusiastic trail staff.
To ensure a great experience, only 10 hikers may attend each of the ATe Sessions.
Day By Day Schedule
Arrive at the Nantahala OutDoor Center near Bryson City, NC.
Hikers may travel together from Camp Frontier in Florida or may come directly to the NOC. Pick-up from the Ashville Airport is available. Our huge cabin at the NOC serves as basecamp for all.
Guided by experienced professionals, our hikers engage in two full days of training in several areas such as tent camping, map reading, hiking, equipment use, trail hygiene, gathering water and cooking on the trail.
Also, all enjoy an exciting guided white water rafting trip on the Nantahala River.
1st Section Hike: A 28 mile hike north on the AT from Winding Stair Gap (near Franklin, NC) back to our cabin at the NOC. Lasting four days and three nights, our hikers experience some of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail and nights of tent camping and shelters along the way.
Back at our cabin at the NOC, hikers rest up, do their laundry, resupply, repack, enjoy an afternoon of guided fly fishing and one of the longest mountain zip lines in the US.
2nd Section Hike: Hikers complete another 29 miles on the AT from Fontana Dam hiking south back to our cabin at the NOC over four days and three nights of tent camping and trail shelters. On the final hiking day, Cheoah Bald rewards hikes with amazing views, at 5062 feet, followed by a day long decent down to the NOC.
Back at our basecamp cabin at the NOC, hikers celebrate their accomplishment. Solo duck boats on the Nantahala River are a favorite final activity for Hikers and Staff. All depart on Day 15 with many new friends and a lifetime of memories.