Trails Carolina Reviews

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Wilderness Therapy Reviews From Our Students & Families

At Trails Carolina we care about families. We care about our students. We are proud of our clinically sophisticated and time-tested program that results in changes that last a lifetime. Please see what our alumni families are saying about their experience:

trails carolina reviews

Trails Carolina Reviews

"Highly recommend Trails for their unrivaled therapists, wilderness and base camps, and parent parallel process and support. Healing the whole family concept."

Alumni Parent June 2022


Jessica's Story

Jessica is a 15 year old girl from Dallas, Texas. She came to Trails Carolina in the Spring of 2015.

Some of the struggles that Jessica was facing before she came to Trails Carolina were depression, anxiety, and unhealthy relationships. Reflecting back, Jessica states, “I wasn’t appreciating myself like I should be.” Through her journey at Trails, Jessica has learned that it’s alright to make mistakes because those mistakes don’t define you.

“The staff, they really care. It’s just a really supportive place to be.”

Berto's Story

Berto is a 13 year old who came to Trails Carolina in the Spring of 2015 because he was struggling with anger and respect towards his parents.

Elaborating further, Berto commented, “I had some anger issues. I wasn’t communicating with my family very well, I was really rude.”

Through his time at Trails, Berto has been able to grow in a wilderness setting, and help to correct some of the problems he was struggling with. “Being out in the wilderness has really helped, being away from all of my distractions at home.”


Trails Carolina Reviews

"I went to Trails Carolina on January 7, 2019 and it was such a wake up call for me. I grew there so much as a person and so did my family.

My therapist there was amazing and helped me through so much. I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for Trails. The wilderness skills that you learn here are incredible.

The staff are supportive, fun, but also know how to enforce boundaries which is extremely important. I have made so many friends there as well.

If you are considering Trails, I highly recommend it. It is scary and hard at first but your family and child will start to grow and develop with healthy habits and coping mechanisms."

M. Vellano January 2022

Luna's Story

Luna is a 16 year old girl who struggled with anxiety before coming to Trails Carolina.

She found the emphasis on nature at Trails to be helpful and provide peace that she didn’t get at home in the city. She was able to get to a better place through her time at the program.

“I was excited to go home and show everyone what I had learned in the program,” she reflects. While it may have been hard at times, Luna’s time at Trails Carolina was worth it. “Even if it seems rough right now, there’s a good outcome for it.”


Trails Carolina Reviews

 “We are pleased with the progress that our son made at Trails. Trails gave us hope and support when we felt like we had exhausted our resources at home. Their philosophy of emphasizing the core values (trust, respect, accountability, integrity, leadership and service) was very important to us, as parents.”

A. Corning April 2022


Patrick's Story

Patrick is a 17 year old boy who was using marijuana to cope with deeper underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, and insecurities.

However, since coming to Trails, he feels like he is better equipped to handle those issues with the new skills he has learned. “Trails has given me a greater mindset to accomplish my goals in the future.”

Taylor's Story

Taylor is a 14 year-old teen girl from Nashville, Tennessee who came to Trails Carolina for a variety of issues. Some areas where she was struggling included behavioral issues with her family, inappropriate relationships with her peers, and self-harm.

Through her experiences at Trails, Taylor has been able to learn much about herself. “Just because you’ve done wrong doesn’t mean you are wrong”.


Trails Carolina Reviews

"Trails Carolina has changed my son's life. We are still in the post-graduation honeymoon phase, but his future looks really promising. The program is unique in that it includes individual therapy, family therapy, family support sessions, transitions, and more. The staff is easy to talk to. Pick up the phone and call Trails, it could be a life-saving phone call."

P. Ridinger May 2022

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022



Being immersed in nature and away from all distractions allows for teens to have the opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with themselves.

They can grow, learn, and not just survive, but thrive in the real world. Trails Carolina offers many benefits, including:

Personal, reflective growth: While at Trail Carolina, teens have the opportunity to better understand themselves.

This transformation, which takes place in the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains can help them to be better about knowing themselves, understanding others and how their actions, words, and lives can impact others.

In the wilderness, these teens are allowed to take a step back, reflect and see the world from another’s point of view without any distractions.

Transferable life skills: Not only do teens learn hard such as how to pitch a tent, how to build and keep a fire going, as well as how to navigate through the wilderness, they also learn valuable life lessons which are transferable to the real world. Some of these include leadership, teamwork, respect, responsibility, and self-awareness.

Individualized therapeutic and academic programming: Individualized therapeutic programming is the crux of why Trails Carolina works so well. When the academics and therapy are specific to an individual, it creates an environment that is personalized which enhances learning.

Teens struggling with defiance may have different therapeutic methods for dealing with this than other teens who may be struggling with different problems such as anxiety.

Family-focused programming: One of the ultimate goals of Trails Carolina is helping to repair the family unit. While their son or daughter is away in the wilderness, some programs offer family therapy sessions that help both the parents and the siblings work through problems which the family has been struggling with.

When the focus is brought back to the family, it can ensure lasting change when the child transitions home from a therapeutic program.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

If your son or daughter is struggling with behavioral, emotional, or mental health issues like defiance, anxiety, or depression and it has started to impact their day to day lives, now is the time to examine possible options for treatment for your teen.

Wilderness therapy programs, which are inpatient mental health treatment programs, can help child or teen explore what is troubling them, why they are acting out, and how they can better relate to their family and friends.

Removing teens from their hectic lives, technology, peers, bad habits, distractions, and influences is one of the many reasons why wilderness therapy programs work.

Wilderness therapy programs may offer an array of therapeutic techniques including, but not limited to equine relational programming, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and mindfulness techniques.

Wilderness therapy programs accept students on a case by case basis. The selection usually depends upon the clinical programing of wilderness therapy programs and the behaviors exhibited by a potential student.

Some programs may accept teens dealing with more clinically complex issues while others chose to focus on students with more easily managed difficulties.

That being said, most all wilderness therapy programs provide therapeutic programming for struggling teens with behavior problems and emotional difficulties including:

Neurodevelopmental Disorders- These include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Nonverbal Learning Disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

School refusal- Many teens entering wilderness therapy programs are struggling with school refusal problems. Which is why wilderness therapy programs are great for treating teens who refuse school, who are frequently truant, or even suspended.

Substance experimentation or use– While most wilderness therapy programs deal with substance abuse in some degree, there are some wilderness therapy programs which are specified to help treat teens who are struggling with substance use issues, whether that be alcohol or marijuana use.

Defiance– Whether this is disruptive behavior in school and at home, wilderness therapy programs can help get to the root of these problems and address these issues in teens. This may also include Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

Anxiety– Social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder can be crippling for teens. It inhibits their functionality around peers, in the classroom, at work and with their family. Many wilderness programs provide help for teens struggling with some form of anxiety.

Depression– Depression can be tough, especially with teens which is why wilderness therapy programs offer therapeutic help to teens who are struggling with this.

Trails has wilderness therapy programs designed for pre-teens ages 10-13, adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults 18-25. Our clinically proven methods work exceptionally well with:

We are passionate about helping students overcome challenges and reach their full potential, and committed to creating the most effective wilderness therapy program possible for students and their families. Our entire team is honored to dedicate their professional lives to changing the lives of troubled teens.

The average stay at our wilderness therapy program is 70-90 days.

Students will typically transition back home or to a step down type residential program (Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center, as examples).

Parents have multiple weekly touchpoints at the program. There is a separate program specifically designed for the involvement of the family.

We also provide in-person opportunities during a student’s time at trails for families to get on campus and do work with their child. We have some of the highest-rated family services within the industry. 

91% of students showed improvement in extremely significant symptoms of depression, 12 months after graduation.

91% of students showed improvement in extremely significant symptoms of anxiety, 12 months after graduation.

Learn more: Treatment For Anxiety In Teens: How Wilderness Therapy Can Help

79% of students reported experiencing a decrease in suicidal thoughts, 12 months after graduation.