Wilderness Adventure Therapy Admissions Process

Application & Admissions Information

Wilderness Adventure Therapy: How To Get Started

At Trails Carolina, we understand the struggles parents face when trying to help their teens. We use evidence-based practices developed over 15 years to guide our actions and support families.

Getting help for your child can be an extremely urgent and overwhelming matter. And we know how important it is to choose the best treatment program possible for your child. 

That's why our admissions process prioritizes getting an accurate clinical assessment of your child to ensure our level of care and physical requirements are appropriate and making this process as efficient and timely as possible.

Our entire admissions process can easily be completed in a few days or within 24 hours if necessary.

To get started, check out the steps below:

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Step 1: Take Our Assessment

To best understand the challenges you and your family are facing, we offer a convenient assessment that delivers immediate results. Our assessment is quick and easy to fill out (only 12 questions). After completion, you'll receive personalized resources based on your answers and our Admissions Team will contact you within 24 hours to answer any questions you may have.

Completing the assessment is free and confidential. It does not represent any obligation, so feel free to take the assessment and see if wilderness therapy is right for your family. We take your privacy seriously and we will never share your information with any third party.

Step 2: Talk To Our Admissions Team

Our Admissions Team and Executive Director are available 7 days a week to help every family make this a positive, life-changing experience. 

With decades of therapy placement experience, our admission counselors will guide you through the application, admissions, and enrollment processes answering all of your questions along the way.

Let us help you determine if Trails is the right fit for your child.

Step 3: Fill Out An Application

We accept applications 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Upon submitting your application, our admissions team will review it and get back to you within 48 hours.

The Application provides us with a much more in-depth and comprehensive view of your child’s specific needs, behaviors, challenges, coping mechanisms, mindset, and goals compared to the Self-Assessment. 

Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.

Next Steps In The Admissions Process

Submit Enrollment Forms

Before we can begin working with your child we need to have the appropriate documentation on file. You can access the Enrollment Documents by clicking on the icon above. You will be required to insert a password, so please contact Admissions at 800-975-7303 once you are ready to complete the documents.

Prepare for Arrival

Our Admissions Team will work with your family on travel arrangements and airport selection. Trails Carolina is 1 hour away from the Asheville Regional Airport, 3 hours from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and 2 hours away from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. We work with our students’ home school to successfully transition them to Trails Carolina and back home.

Arrival Day

Your child’s schedule on the first day of admission consists of a physical, getting outfitted with clothing and gear, and preparing to meet with the group. Parents will receive a call letting them know how their child is doing and when they can expect to hear from the therapist that has been assigned to work with the family. Therapists make every effort to reach out to the family within 72 hours of the child’s arrival via email to schedule the first conference call.

Put Your Mind At Ease

For most parents, this is often the hardest part. This is a tough decision, but you have made the right one in choosing Trails Carolina’s adventure-based therapy. Rest assured that with more than 100 years of collective experience, your child is in very capable hands. We take great pride in meeting each student where they are to make their wilderness experience here as effective as possible.

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Repairing Family Relationships

Our dedication to family involvement isn’t just a statement. We have a comprehensive family program including a dedicated family coach who helps guide parents and siblings through the healing process.


Education Beyond Academics

Unlike other programs, we don’t make you choose between outdoor coursework and accredited academics in a traditional classroom setting. Students experience multiple academic environments during their time at Trails.

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Proven To Produce Positive Results

In a eight-year independent study of families & students, Trails Carolina was proven to have a measurable and lasting positive impact on student behavior, emotional well being and family dynamics.


A: Wilderness therapy is a form of treatment that takes place in the natural environment, rather than in a traditional residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school.

In the case of Trails Carolina, students become immersed in the beautiful setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our programs combine research-backed mental and behavioral therapy with outdoor adventures that lead to the positive personal growth of our students.

A: While the immediate benefits of enrolling your child in our program are often seen in improved mental and emotional well-being, reduced risk of substance abuse, and improved behavior, the long-term benefits are just as significant.

Trails Carolina has developed a 5-year outcome study to allow us to better understand the efficacy of our program. Many of our alumni report increased self-confidence, autonomy, and motivation in their lives after completing our program. In addition, they often form lasting friendships and develop a greater appreciation for nature and the outdoors, which can help strengthen healthy relationships within families.

A: Wilderness therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment modality for a variety of issues. We are results-driven at Trails Carolina, and our outcome data speaks for itself.


One year after graduation:

  • 86% of students showed improvement in anxiety symptoms
  • 93% of students showed improvement in depression symptoms
  • 96% of students reported experiencing a decrease in substance use
  • 98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in suicidal thoughts
  • 98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in aggressive behaviors
  • 87% of students felt excited about school.

A: The cost of wilderness therapy programs can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the length of the program, the location, and the type of services provided. Typically, the enrollment fee covers food, lodging, transportation, and equipment. Please see above for a more extensive list of the services and materials covered by tuition at Trails Carolina.

A: At Trails Carolina we offer a flexible payment plan that allows families to pay for the program over time. We also accept many major health insurance plans. Please contact our Admissions Team to learn more about our payment options.

A: Trails Carolina is a proud partner of Sky's The Limit Fund. Sky's The Limit is an organization that has helped nearly a thousand families find the support they need to enroll their children in wilderness therapy programs. For more information, reach out to our Trails Carolina Admissions Team.

A: The average enrollment fee at Trails Carolina is comparable to other wilderness therapy programs and the best residential treatment centers. Unlike traditional treatment centers or therapeutic boarding schools, Trails Carolina has the added value of nature-based programming, which produces positive, research-backed results.

A: The average length of our therapeutic wilderness program is 70-90 days.

A: We serve youths (ages 10-13), teens (ages 13-17), and young adults (ages 18-25) who struggle with behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, and/or substance use.

A: Families are an important part of the wilderness therapy process, and we offer a number of resources to support them throughout their child’s treatment. These resources include weekly parent education and support calls, a parent workshop, and family reunification and graduation celebration.

A: We partner with a number of schools to provide integrated academic programming for our students. Our residential staff includes certified educators to help keep your child on track academically. Students can maintain or even improve their grades while enrolled in our program.

A: Our admissions team will work with you to determine whether our program is a good fit for your child.

A: The staff at Trails Carolina are highly skilled and experienced professionals who are dedicated to helping our students reach their full potential. Our team includes Licensed Mental Health Professionals, Certified Teachers, Certified Wilderness First Responders, and more.

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A Comprehensive Wilderness Therapy Program Combined With Residential Programming, Base Camp And Accredited Academics