Promote greater understanding and appreciation of self, others & the natural world.


For all facility hours and program and event dates, check out the Campus Recreation Calendar.

Experiential Education

Your expeditions will be structured to require the group to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results. After presenting the necessary skills, our Instructors step back and allow the group to take ownership over their trip and learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes. The group must rely on one another; forcing leaders to emerge, individuals to collaborate, and participants to gain a greater understanding of themselves and others. Our Instructors are not guides, but fellow students who are passionate about sharing their experience, and trained to teach essential technical skills, ensure physical and emotional safety, and facilitate the learning process. 


Activity Level

There is no previous experience required to participate in our programs, however, wilderness travel is physically demanding by nature. Each trip is different depending on the fitness level of the participants and the unpredictable weather conditions. The group helps plan their route at the pre-trip meeting, taking into account the individual fitness levels of all participants. Typically, kayaking trips paddle 4-5 hours per day and backpacking trips cover about 10 miles per day with packs weighing 30-45 lbs. Day hiking trips cover 5-7 miles and rock climbing trips allow the most flexibility in terms of exertion level (everyone selects the level of difficulty and number of climbs they complete). Trips are designated E - EASY, M - MODERATE, or S - STRENUOUS dependinog on activity level and potential for challenging weather conditions.


Pre-trip Meetings

There is a mandatory pre-trip meeting the week of each trip. At the pre-trip meeting, we plan our route, pack our food, prepare our gear for the trip and decide our departure and return times. All food, transportation and equipment are included; participants just provide their personal clothing. Pre-trip meetings for day trips last about one hour and overnight trip meetins last about an hour and a half.

Registering for a Trip

To register, go to the Campus Recreation Office located in 101 Student Recreation Center. The fee includes transportation, food, and equipment. You can pay with cash or your One Card. To check for available spaces call 843-7529. Registration for expedition trips opens on the first day of class each semester.


Still Have Questions about Expeditions?

Check out our FAQ or contact Rebekah Phipps at rjphipps@email.unc.edu.


Summer 2014 Trips & Expeditions



Pre-trip meeting




Act. Lev.




7 pm

Three Rivers


As the Eno River merges with the Flat River and empties into the backwaters of Falls Lake, it slows and creates a paddling experience reminiscent of Coastal salt marsh. Wind through a maze of tiny islands in search of wildlife including osprey, egrets, and great blue heron.






7 pm

New Hope Creek


This trip will explore the lower reached of New Hope Creek as it flows into the back waters of Jordan Lake. Your kayaks will allow you access to the shallow marshes and creeks that powerboats can't reach. Ducks, gesse, great blue heron, snowy egrets, solitude, relaxation...






Cape Fear River


New for 2014! Known as "Sapona" by the native Carolinians, the upper Cape Fear is steeped in history, myth and legend. Mermaids are said to have swum from the coast to wash the salty water from their hair in the river. Italian explorer Verrazano, backed by the French government to find a westward passage to Asia, came to the Cape Fear in 1524. This trip will explore the section of river that transitions from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain. Our scouting trip to the course reported bald eagles!




*The fee includes transportation, food and equipment.

Interested in working at the Outdoor Education Center? Click here for 2014 Staff Training information.

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