Carolina Compass

New Student Adventures

“…physically challenging natural environment based orientation programs emphasizing small group work help first year students adjust to college life.” – Devlin, 1996

Carolina Compass is an action packed expedition where you are challenged to learn new skills while getting to know other Tarheels as you go on a wilderness-adventure with your crew.  

Our goal is to give you as a participant a challenging, yet safe environment to step out of your comfort zone to gain confidence, work collaboratively with others, and discover the beauty of North Carolina.

You will be given the freedom to explore your own leadership style and experience the consequences of your decisions. We believe that learning to collaborate with a new and diverse group of people in an unfamiliar environment, prepares you to take on similar challenges during your college career.    

Internal Link (Which adventure is right for you?)

Who Are Your Instructors?

“This was a wonderful trip!  The instructors were very educational and fun…  Trip has definitely inspired me to go outdoors more.  I would recommend to others.” 

Our instructors are fellow undergraduate college students. They work with professional staff, are certified in first aid, and have the training to give you the best possible experience. In the event that we have a need for more staff in the field, we’ll pull our professional staff into the mix.

Instructors will facilitate your group’s development into a self-sufficient, high-functioning crew. Instructors are not “guides” in the literal sense of the word and will give you the freedom to learn by experience.

What Is Carolina Adventures?

Carolina Adventures is part of the larger UNC Campus Recreation network.

Carolina Adventures is deeply rooted in the traditions of experiential education and the adventure process where we take people who have never met each other and place them in challenging situations which inspire them to become the best version of themselves.

Trips are structured to require participants as a group to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results. Through each person’s commitment to a positive group culture, students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the way they relate to others. 

Do I Need Previous Experience in the outdoors?

No previous experience is required to attend these trips. Our goal is to meet you where you’re at and make sure that you’re well equipped for the next set of challenges. All equipment, food and supplies are provided. You just bring your personal clothing.

Dates (Internal link that goes directly to trip dates)

Discover Which Adventure Is Right For You!

“This trip was fulfilling and fun…we learned a lot from this trip as most of us don’t have such experience before.”  (Exchange student on a Carolina Adventures trip)  

3-Day Basecamp Adventure: This action filled expedition will have you rock climbing, hiking to majestic vistas, and paddling near the Piedmont area of NC within a few hours from UNC. This trip has more of a “car-camping” type of feel but we still hold true to the values of overcoming challenges, deepening connections with each other, and sharing meaningful adventure together.

5-6 Day Carolina Compass: You will spend the week in Pisgah National Forest where you will expedition, camp, and rock climb in one of the most beautiful places of Western North Carolina. You will get a chance to see majestic views, rich biodiversity, waterfalls, and become thoroughly acquainted with some of the oldest mountains in the world. Once empowered with the knowledge to navigate using a map & compass, you’ll learn to collaborate with your teammates, problem solve, and apply critical thinking skills to discover a new level of resilience and adaptability.

6-Day State Adventure Tour: Do you like the idea of the Adventure Basecamp but want more than just 3 days? Then this trip is for you! We’ll explore, climb, hike, see waterfalls, and paddle together for these 6 days. Includes paddling and camping in the Outer Banks where you’ll see the Atlantic Ocean and the famous wild horses of Shackleford Island.

Your perseverance and teamwork will soon pay off with triumphant celebrations and feelings of camaraderie. You are guaranteed to emerge from the wilderness with a great confidence in your ability to take on your next challenge@ UNC!

Trip Dates & Fees




Early Bird = 20% off

6/21 – 25th

5-Day Backpack & Climbing


$320 (until 6/11)

7/12 – 16th

5-Day Backpack & Climbing


$320 (until 6/12)

7/21 – 23rd

Basecamp Adventure


$208 (until 6/21)





Early Bird (until 7/15)


6-Day Backpack & Climbing (All Women’s)




6-Day Backpack & Climbing (Open Enrollment)




State Adventure Tour



The fee covers all trip costs (travel, food, equipment, etc.). For information on the Susan Porucznik Cole Scholarship, which covers up to half of the trip fee, click here

Refunds and Transfer To A Different Trip:

We know that plans and situations change and try to balance that with giving our program the appropriate financial support so that we can keep doing cool trips. If you find that you need to cancel your Carolina Compass trip, here’s a breakdown of our refund policy.

Number of Days from Trip Start

Refund %







If you need to move from one Carolina Compass trip to another one, get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do–although a variety of factors come into play at this point. Generally the sooner you can communicate with us the better.


To register for a Carolina Compass trip online and pay by credit card, click here.

If paying by credit card is not an option or if the trip you are hoping to sign up for is full, please contact Shane Ambro.