Dolly Sods Wilderness Backpacking & Potomac River Canoeing

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We plan our West Virginia courses to set students up for success no matter where they are starting on the spectrum of wilderness experience. The mental, social and physical challenges they will encounter are very real. Likewise, meeting these challenges is a very real accomplishment.


Wild wonderful West Virginia invites you to explore the remote regions of “The Mountain State.” West Virginia is approximately 75% forest land and contains 2,029 miles of named trails. The backpacking component of your course will be in Monongahela National Forest which contains over 700 miles of these trails. This course area is rugged and seems to take you back to a time before modern civilization made its big mark on our land. The river portion of the course will take place on the Potomac River. The Potomac River is a beautiful waterway meandering the border between Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.


Hike the Monongahela National Forest and explore diverse ecosystems; travel over high mountain ridges, into deep valleys and past waterfall laden streams as you backpack through Dolly Sods Wilderness and other areas. You will also experience life on the river when you switch over to canoeing. Learn the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of water conditions as well as map and compass reading, navigation, expedition planning, and Leave No-Trace¨ wilderness living. Paddling partners work together to navigate a variety of river features.

During your course, you will have the opportunity to participate in solo (a period of rest and reflection alone in the woods), at least one service project and we typically end our courses with a Final Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This might take the form of a run or a climbing activity, followed by an quick swim.