Virginia Hiking & Survival 101
Find your bold on a Women’s weekend hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Slay the most iconic summits on the Appalachian Trail – Dragon’s Tooth, Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob – as you earn your survivor badge in Catawba, Virginia. Between hikes, you’ll learn basic hands-on wilderness skills from emergency bug-hunting to fire-building in the rain.
You’ll kick off your adventure on Thursday arriving to our lodge in the woods in the late afternoon. Your feet won’t be settled for long as we gear up to tick off the first jewel in the crown: Dragon’s Tooth. It’s the shortest of the three hikes, but the most exciting as you scramble up rocks and via ferrata-type ladders to reach the summit and the huge monolith stretching to the sky on the summit. Feeling daring? Climb up the monolith for 360 degree views of the valley below and all the bragging rights.
The next morning, you’ll embark on your hike with the most elevation gain – Tinker Cliffs. It’s a beautiful hike that takes you a across a field where you’ll be able to stare way up to our goal. It’s a lovely hike through the “Green Tunnel” with a gnarly steep section before you connect with the Appalachian Trail to reach the summit. Then you get to kick back, break out that sandwich, and bask in the view of the next day’s summit: McAfee Knob.
On Saturday morning, we’ll take a short hike to our outdoor classroom where we’ll spend the day learning and practicing wilderness survival skills. You’ll want to grab a notebook and a pen to scratch down some notes. Throughout the day you’ll learn a variety of knots, how to construct a few types of wilderness shelters, how to start and feed a fire even in the rain, and which bugs are the tastiest for eating! 🦗 Yes, it is completely hands-on. You will be building fires and shelters all with a supportive group of like-minded, fun women
In the evening, we’ll hit a mall walker’s stride as we jump on the trail to catch one of the best sunsets. The hustle up the mountain is totally worth the burning quads as you rest your hiker booty and kick your legs off the edge of the world on McAfee’s Knob. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. (And, one of our favorites!).
On your final day in wilderness paradise you’ll learn hands on Backcountry Personal Self Protection. During this hands-on course you’ll gain the necessary skills to break free from a stranger’s hold, recognize the signs of threatening behavior, and objects that you carry in your day pack that can be used as a weapon. You’ll be able to practice in a supportive environment with a “Red-Man Suit” while learning a proper palm strike, finger fan, knee jab, knee strike, and blocking moves. KA-POW!!! We’ll say goodbye Sunday afternoon, after refueling our bodies during one last delicious lunch at our Mountain Lodge.
Each night, you’ll be resting your head at a beautiful lodge nestled in Catawba,Virginia. It lays at the base of the mountains surrounded by woods without another trace of humanity in sight. You’ll call the place home with freedom to stretch your legs on the lawn soaking up the sun after hiking, sharing stories around a campfire, or knocking back a few beers in the communal area. And, food! Your dinners and breakfasts will be home-cooked goodness served up on a plate! (Don’t worry! Bugs are optional and not on the menu!)
It’s a wonderfully wild weekend with a small group of women hiking the Appalachian Trail and learning wilderness survival tactics. Over the course of a long weekend you’ll quickly grow close with your posse of Explorer Chicks as you hike the trails and share memories of summits. Join us to experience this small-group women’s only hiking weekend yourself!
- Enjoy the views from three of the most iconic vistas on the Appalachian trail on daily, challenging hikes – McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs, and Dragon’s Tooth.
- Learn the necessary skills to survive in the Wilderness in an outdoor classroom with hands-on experience and practice.
- Gain confidence and independence learning the Seven Priorities of Survival including building a shelter, starting a fire, tying essential knots, and hunting for edible insects.
- Feel empowered in the wilderness with a hands-on Backcountry Personal Self Protection course learning basic defense moves with a supportive group of Explorer Chicks!
- Kick back after your adventures next to a campfire at our Lodge nestled in the woods at the base of the mountains.
- Relax with a comprehensive itinerary that makes the logistics, transportation, navigation, meal planning, lodging, and everything in-between easy.
- Geek out with supportive and encouraging Explorer Chicks on a private, women-only, small group adventure tour.
- 4 Days/3 nights in shared occupancy bunk room accommodations in a mountain lodge. Rooms contain 4 bunk beds, but only shared by 2 women.
- All meals from Day 1 Dinner to Day 4 Lunch.
- Private Explorer Chick Shuttle service daily to and from the trail heads.
- Daily guided hiking to: McAfee Knob (8.63 miles/1,643 elevation gain); Tinker Cliffs (7.7 miles/1,945 elevation gain); Dragon’s Tooth (4.5 miles/1,103 elevation gain).
- Hands-on, immersive Wilderness Survival 101 instruction tailored for Explorer Chick.
- Backcountry Personal Self Protection course with hands-on instruction tailored for Explorer Chick.
- A commemorative Explorer Chick shirt.
- A detailed Travel Guide upon booking with everything you need to know for your trip.
- The freedom to enjoy your vacation and mindlessly wander!
- One experienced Explorer Chick Leader ensuring your trip is seamless and unforgettable!
- Small Group experience! Your Explorer Chick Adventure is exclusive and limited to 14 women.
*Packages do NOT include your airfare, airport transportation, alcoholic beverages, Explorer Chick guide tips, or costs for additional activities..
*Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents.
You will receive a Travel Guide attached to your booking confirmation with all the hotel and all the information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip!
Your adventure begins and ends at our lodge in Catawba, VA.
Day 1: Plan to arrive promptly in Catawba between 3- 4pm EST on Day 1.
Day 4: We’ll wrap up weekend after lunch. Plan to depart after 1pm.
The nearest airport is Roanoke (ROA) which is approx a 30 minute drive time.
We require a minimum of 5 Explorer Chicks for this trip. Please confirm your trip is guaranteed before booking your airfare.
During your Virginia Hiking adventure, you will complete the Triple Crown, an experience that features some of the best hiking on the AT in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Dragon’s Tooth (4.5 miles/1,103 elevation gain
- Tinker Cliffs (7.7 miles/1,945’ – Approx 6.5 hours)
- McAfee Knob (8.63 miles/1,643 elevation gain)
We highly recommend training prior to your adventure. The itinerary is packed full of hiking. You should be comfortable with hiking up to 9 miles in a day carrying a light day pack with elevations gains up to 1,945 feet.
You should be training on rough and rugged terrain – not perfectly paved sidewalks. Also, find steps, a hill, or the StairMaster and get to climbing! Your quads, booty, and calves will thank you.
Train your tootsies! Do not show up with brand new hiking boots or trail shoes. You should be spending hours upon hours in your boots leading up to your adventure to break them in. Better to suffer blisters at home than to miss out on a hike due painful hot spots on your feet. This is our number one injury. Don’t let it happen to you!
Explorer Chick prides itself in curating trips for women who live an active, healthy lifestyle. What this means is we tackle the big climbs, the long trails, the bucket lists, and the uncomfortable. To get the most from your adventure we recommend having a solid fitness base with training on trails in a variety of weather conditions and hill/stair climbing. Train how you play!
Please consider your ability to meet the physical demands very seriously. It is for the safety of both you and our group. All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking.
Still not convinced that THIS is the adventure for you?
We’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts, so you can get to know us a bit better and learn what really goes down on your Explorer Chick Adventure.
- Remember How it Feels to Play
- You are NOT Alone
- The Power of Explorer Chick
- What Does an Explorer Chick Look Like?
- Easy Doesn’t Change You
- We Do Dumb Stuff
- The Explorer Chick Purpose
- The Traveler vs. the Tourist
- 6 Benefits to Booking with a Tour Company
You can always reach us by email with more questions! Info@ExplorerChick.com
To protect your travel investment and your hide, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive an no-hassle, online quote in less than 2 minutes.
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Non-Refundable Deposit: $200 due at booking to secure your spot