Trails Carolina
Quick Facts
Wilderness Program

10 to 13


Avg. Duration:
60 Days


Is Individual Psychotherapy Available?
Contact Info

(828) 885-5922


500 Winding Gap Road
Lake Toxaway, NC 28747
Program Description

Designed for struggling adolescents ages 13 to 17, Trails Carolina is a comprehensive therapeutic wilderness program set amid the tranquil North Carolina Mountains. Developed specifically to address the “whole child”, our proven methods and clinical therapies help change troubling behavior, guide adolescents up new paths of self-awareness, lead families toward reunification and healing, and re-engage students in an appreciation of academic challenge and learning.

Adolescents today are continually exposed to a fast-paced world of school, home, and a variety of relationships with the expectation that they are prepared to internally motivate and self-regulate. Unfortunately, many adolescents navigate their environment through poor choices, dangerous behaviors, and negative acting out. These destructive choices sabotage their ability to achieve success while damaging family relationships. Through the integration of adventure-based activities, wilderness expeditions, experiential education, and academic coursework , adolescents are guided toward cultivating a more centralized sense of the whole self, an awareness of personal strengths and abilities, an acceptance and accountability of the full impact of their poor decisions, and the insight and tools needed to succeed through life’s ongoing challenges.

Trails Carolina operates from the premise that a student’s ability to effectively integrate their wilderness experience into real-world skills is every bit as important as the program experience itself. For this reason, a comprehensive and educational family inclusion program is built into the program model. Parents and caregivers are expected to actively participate in their child’s experience by working with their student’s therapist to complete a course curriculum which parallels the curriculum of their child and by participating in parents workshops designed specifically to address their family’s needs. Parents are empowered to help their child better transition their Trails Carolina experience to their “real” lives, as well as enhance the student’s experience by being an active participant in the growth and recovery of the family unit. Additionally, students take part in a comprehensive, experiential-based academic program that helps to continue their formal education while on trail. This ensures that a very central part of an adolescents life (school and schoolwork), is not sacrificed as part of a necessary intervention. Academics are presented in such a manner to re-frame the educational experience to elicit excitement in the task of learning.  This better prepares the student to more seamlessly return to a challenging academic environment with an improved attitude towards learning and without significant disruption in their academic coursework.

Trails Carolina integrates clinically sophisticated and research-based modalities including equine therapy (EAP), group and individual therapy with licensed therapists, structured academics with a certified teacher, and comprehensive family inclusion to provide students with an impactful experience that encourages and supports self-awareness and confidence and develops unique and effective tools to ensure continued post-program success.

Accreditation, Licensure, Approval:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services - Division of Health Service Regulation