Rooted in Adventure. Rooted in Appalachia.

Cheat River Watershed Expedition

Cheat River Watershed Expedition

Two full weeks of boating and backpacking adventure while exploring the majestic Cheat River watershed.

Trip Overview

The Cheat River Watershed is the largest free-flowing watershed in the eastern United States, meaning that there are no dams altering its wilderness character. On the Cheat River Watershed Expedition, we will travel from the headwaters of the Cheat River in the Otter Creek Wilderness Area to the mainstem of the Cheat. On a five-day backpacking trip, we’ll hike 15-20 miles through lush forest while passing creeks and waterfalls. Along the way, we’ll drink from fresh springs and creeks, learn backpacking and leadership skills, and study the ecology of this pristine wilderness area. Once we reach the Cheat, we’ll spend three days canoeing, rafting, and camping along the river as it winds its way through the hills and hollows of West Virginia. To wrap up the trip, we’ll explore the small towns of Davis and Thomas, as well as Blackwater Falls State Park. On closing day, our group will celebrate our challenges and successes!

No experience is necessary to join the trip. All you need is a curious, open mind and the willingness to learn about yourself.

Check out more photos from 2022 in our expedition gallery.


Intended Outcomes

  • Have fun! Participants will get outside and experience outdoor adventures they may or may not have experienced previously.
  • Create a community of friends who live nearby.
  • Learn technical skills such as canoeing, rafting, and navigation. These skills will prepare participants for future trips with Appalachian Expeditions or on their own.
  • Learn leadership and communication skills that will make participants more effective and engaged members of their communities.
  • Explore the cultural and natural history of this beautiful region.

Travel Information

If you are getting dropped off and picked up in Davis…
July 16- Meet us at the Pendleton Point Picnic Shelter at Blackwater Falls State Park at 9am
July 29- Pick up at Pendleton Point Picnic Shelter at Blackwater Falls State Park at 11am

If you are arriving by plane…
Fly in and out of Dulles International Airport. We will meet you at the airport at the set times below and transport you from the city to the mountains! We’ll camp at Blackwater Falls State Park.
Arrival Day (day BEFORE start of program) – July 15, schedule your flight to arrive between 2-5pm
Departure Day (last day of program) – July 29, schedule your flight to depart between 4-7pm

What is the total cost of the trip?


Why do we Charge This?

Safety, fun and learning are our main priorities. Tuition from these programs goes towards our highly developed risk management systems and top of the line gear that will keep participants warm, dry, and safe. Our instructors are the face of our programs, we seek to employ and retain highly qualified instructors and pay them a livable wage so that we can create the best possible experiences for our students. Lastly, as an education program, we are committed to teaching our intentional curriculum to create better leaders and more engaged citizens of this planet. Education is an investment in ourselves and our communities. If you are excited about our programs, but unable to afford the full tuition, consider applying for a scholarship or contacting us directly.

Tuition covers all trip costs including meals, travel, and accommodations. Participants will be responsible for hiking boots, personal items, and transportation to and from Davis, WV. APEX will provide group gear (e.g. tents, stoves, water systems, etc.) and has some personal equipment for rental (e.g. sleeping bags, and sleeping pads). For more information on needs based scholarships visit our scholarship application. Please submit program application before submitting your scholarship application.

Trip Details

July 16-29

Ages: 15-17

Activities: Backpacking, Canoeing,
and Rafting

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park (prep days and transitions), Otter Creek Wilderness Area (backpacking), Cheat River (canoeing and rafting)

Difficulty: 7/10

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