Trip Details

  • Sunday, June 23- Saturday, July 6
  • 14 days
  • Ages 15-17
  • $2,940*
  • *Scholarships available, contact us for more information

Trip Highlights

  • Explore “The Mountain State” of WV
  • Backpack in the Otter Creek Wilderness Area
  • Canoe and Raft the Cheat River
  • Get to know “outdoorsy” Davis, WV, “artsy” Thomas, WV and Blackwater Falls State Park

Trip Overview

High in the mountains of northeastern West Virginia, a small spring bubbles up from ancient rock. This water makes its way into a small creek, which joins another creek, and another, until it meets the upper reaches of the Glady Fork, one of the “five forks of the Cheat River” in the Monongahela National Forest. The Cheat River Watershed is the largest free-flowing watershed in the Eastern United States, meaning that there are no dams interfering with its wilderness character.

On the Cheat River Watershed Expedition we will follow this water from the headwaters to the Cheat River itself. On a five-day backpacking trip in the Otter Creek Wilderness Area, we will drink from the springs and creeks, learning backpacking and leadership skills, while studying the ecology of this pristine wilderness. We will follow the path of the water on foot, along creeks and past waterfalls, as it flows downstream. Once we reach the Cheat, we will spend three days canoeing, rafting, and camping along the river as it winds its way through the hills and hollers of West Virginia. To wrap up the trip we will head “back up the mountain” to explore the small towns of Davis and Thomas, as well as Blackwater Falls State Park. On the closing day our group will celebrate our challenges and successes!

No experience is necessary to join the trip. The only things you need are a sense of curiosity about this unique and little explored region of the country, the willingness to learn about yourself, and an open mind. We are confident that when you “drive off the mountain” and head home, you will have a greater sense of yourself, how you work with your peers, and an appreciation for this unique place in “almost heaven” West Virginia.

Trip FAQ’s

Do I need to have prior experience backpacking or canoeing to do this trip?

No prior experience backpacking or canoeing is necessary to join an Appalachian Expeditions trip, but participants should be in good physical condition. No matter how physically fit you are, we do encourage participants to train for the expedition. It is important that participants want to join the trip and come with an open mind!

What is the hiking like? What is the river like? Can you tell me about the camping?

Hiking in West Virginia is gorgeous! Picture yourself in a tunnel of Rhododendrons with creeks and waterfalls gushing nearby. The trails are remote and sometimes rugged with rocks, roots, and water on the trail. We will teach you the skills you need to navigate and camp comfortably and will celebrate the sense of accomplishment we feel at the end!

The section of the Cheat River we will be canoeing is mostly flatwater, with occasional riffles. The river flows through a deep, wooded gorge punctuated with swimming holes, side hikes, and wildflowers. At the end of the trip we will put our skills to the test as we raft through the Cheat Narrows with guides from Blackwater Outdoor Adventures. This class III section of river is classic West Virginia whitewater!

We will camp each night under the stars, in a tent provided by Appalachian Expeditions. Participants, separated by gender, will share a tent with their 3-4 “tent mates.” We will spend five nights in the front country, where we will have access to bathrooms and running water, and eight nights in the backcountry. We will prepare all of our meals on a camp stove.

What is the total cost of the trip?

The tuition is $2,940. This covers meals, accomodations, and all other trip costs. Participants families will have to pay for transportation to and from Davis, WV, hiking boots, and rental equipment such as backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc.

Where will my child meet the group on arrival day? Where will I pick them up on the final day?

Apex staff will meet you at a designated campsite in Blackwater Falls State Park on both arrival and pick up day between 11am- 3pm. More details to come.