West Virginia Wild Weekend
Explorer Chick Wild is an inspiring weekend in West Virginia dedicated to that inner “wild” residing in all women! While New River Gorge camping and whitewater rafting, you’ll gather with dozens of rad chicks for a women’s weekend of outdoor activities, a female outdoor adventurer keynote speaker, endless adventures, and plenty of SHE-nanigans!
Thursday: Welcome Party
Pile all your camping gear, food, and adult beverages into your car and get your booty to the New River Gorge National Park for Wild! We’ll be checking you in from 3pm-6pm. After you come say Hi, we’ll direct you to the top of the mountain – aka Explorer Chick Basecamp – where the besties you never knew you had are awaiting! Okay, and also members of our Explorer Chick Dream Team to help you pitch your tent and settle in.
We officially kick off Wild at 7pm! But we had to go extra with it! You all crushed it in 2021 with the 80’s theme and in 2022 with the 90’s TV Stars, so we just had to bring back Theme Night!
What is the theme for 2023? Are you ready for this? cue drum roll 🥁 It’s “Tropic Like It’s Hot” 🦜🏝! That’s right, we’re bringing the island vibes to the party, and you better be ready to shake your coconuts and show off those grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts. So, pop an umbrella in your drink, because we’re about to kick off one Wild weekend! 🍹🌴
You can fully expect a Costume Contest, Ice Breakers, and lots of prizes!
We’ll also enjoy our first dinner together between all of the SHE-nanigans!
And don’t you worry: The annual Explorer Chick Cribs contest is on. Our Explorer Chick Team will tour our Basecamp looking for the most decked-out camp set up to proclaim this year’s champion!
Friday: Optional Adventures
Friday is your Free Day! You’ll have the option to add Half Day and Full Day guided adventures. Choose from rock climbing, kayaking, SUP, boating, ziplining, an aerial course, ATVing, bridgewalking, a waterpark, or mud run. Got your own gear and expertise? Then meet up with other Explorer Chicks to embark on your own adventures in the New River Gorge National Park!
At check out, you’ll have the option to add guided adventures on Friday to pack more adventure into your weekend. Please keep in mind space is limited on the optional excursions!
Friday Evening: Keynote Speaker + Onesies
Every year at Wild we invite an inspiring woman to come out and share her story, her wisdom with our Explorer Chicks on Friday nights. A lot of time goes into searching for our speaker. We listen to a lot of podcasts. Watch a ton of YouTube videos. Attend events to watch women speak. And we do all of this because it’s important.
What we love about Explorer Chick is that we’re real women embarking on real adventures. We’re ordinary women with the courage to go out and try extraordinary things. So, when looking for our next speaker, it’s important to us that our Friday night speaker is relatable. That we can maybe see a part of ourselves in her. Now, that’s actual inspiration.
“Hey, if she can do that. You know what? Maybe I can too.” It becomes less intimidating. Less impossible. It actually sparks action. It goes from I can do that, to I will do that, to I am doing that!
Past speakers have included awe inspiring women including: Jessi Morton-Langehaug, Stacy Kozel, Sophia Danenberg, Heather “Anish” Anderson, and Khadijah Diggs.
Our 2023 inspirational speaker is the one and only Gail Muller! She’s going to be serving up some serious inspiration while you chow down on dinner. This woman is a real go-getter – she’s an educator, a writer, a thru-hiker, and an adventurer all rolled into one. And get this, she was told she’d be in a wheelchair by age 40. But did she let that stop her? Heck no! She took chronic pain by the horns and showed it who’s boss. At 41, she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail!
And now, four years later, Gail is still living life to the fullest as she takes on the Via Francigena from Canterbury, England all the way to Rome, Italy. She believes our broken bits are our superpowers, and she’s coming to tell you why. So, if you’ve ever felt like life has got you down, this is the story for you. Get ready to be inspired, Explorer Chicks!
Nerves can be high on Friday with rafting the next morning. So we’ve deemed Friday Treat Yo Self night . Throw on your favorite onesie and meet us around the campfire for some good ol’ fashion lady pampering (and a specialty cocktail!)
Saturday: Whitewater Rafting
On Saturday morning Explorer Chicks take to the New River for an adrenaline pumping full day whitewater rafting adventure! The New River won’t know what hit it when boats loaded full of Explorer Chicks go head to head with its Stage 5 Rapids! Bring it on!
We’ll share our final meal together on Saturday night to watch our rafting movie (starring you!) and reliving our rafting adventure!
Sunday: Optional Adventures
If you need to squeeze in just one more adventure with your besties before you head out, sign up for one of our optional adventures on Sunday morning!
Just like Friday’s Optional Adventures, at check out, you’ll have the option to add guided adventures on Sunday too, just in case you need a few more hours of adventure packed into your weekend. Please keep in mind space is limited on the optional excursions!.
Sunday is the saddest day of the weekend: departure day. We’ll pack up camp, share hugs, and say our “See you laters!”.
New River Gorge Camping – Beginner Friendly!
It all goes down at the exclusive Explorer Chick Mountaintop Camp on the ACE Adventure Resort property. You’ll bring your camping gear to share a space with perfect strangers (but not for long!).
Never been camping?
A little nervous?
No idea how to set up your tent?
Don’t own a tent?
Perfect! You’re not alone. That’s why our Explorer Chick guides will be at camp helping with set up. We’re like your personal tent poppin’ pit crew. If you don’t own a tent or can’t find one to borrow, you’ll have the option to rent a 4 person Tent with 4 Sleeping pads. And, we’re car camping. This means you’ll be camping steps away from your vehicle all night long. You’ll also receive a Travel Guide at booking that includes a detailed packing list to get your started.
It’s just a short drive from Explorer Chick Camp to limitless adventure in the New River Gorge National Park including lakes, rivers, rock faces, hiking, and mountain bike trails. ACE Adventure Resort is home to miles of hiking and mountain biking trails for you to explore.
Each night you’ll retell stories around a raging bonfire with your newest friends! (S’mores included!)
Tent, slumber rentals, and other lodging options are available. Please see more details below.
New for 2023
Wild gets bigger and better every darn year! Thank you Explorer Chicks!
The Mud Run! Are you ready to get down and dirty?! Challenge yourself on the ACE Adventure Mud Obstacle course where you will army crawl, climb up steep slopes, run through tires, go over moving bridges, and bond with your fellow Explorer Chicks as you conquer it together! See Optional Adventures below for more information!
- Meet up with Explorer Chicks you traveled with in the past, or experience Explorer Chick for the very first time!
- Whitewater raft the Lower New River tackling up to Stage 5 rapids!
- Cool off and play like a kid at the Inflatable Water park including the Blob!
- Every evening, gather with Explorer Chicks for a picnic style community dinner.
- Be inspired Friday night by our Outdoors Woman keynote speaker
- Unwind each night around the bonfire, roasting marshmallows and sipping, well, whatever!
- Whether traveling solo or in a group, you’ll quickly forge new friendships with outdoor adventurous women!
- Crank up your weekend with optional adventures like rock climbing, kayaking, SUP, boating, ziplining, an aerial course, ATVing, bridgewalking, a waterpark, or mud run.
- Explore the New River Gorge on your own or with other Explorer Chicks – Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing, Swimming, and more!
- A weekend of games, prizes, and SHE-nanigans
- 3 nights of camping at the Exclusive Explorer Chick Mountaintop camp site – Hot showers and Flush Toilets within walking distance
- Full day Lower New River Whitewater Rafting (16′ Raft) including a hot lunch on Saturday
- 3 Dinners: Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Inspiration from an inspiring Outdoors Women during our Friday night dinner (Speaker TBA)
- Access to the ACE Adventure Waterpark Resort
- Commemorative Explorer Chick Shirt and Swag
*Packages do NOT include your airfare, airport transportation, alcoholic beverages, or costs for additional activities.
*Packages do not include Tips for your Guides. We recommend $15-30+ tip for your Rafting Guide. For optional activities 10-20%. We strongly encourage you to recognize your Guides personally for their hard work and keeping you safe.
*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.
*If you choose not to do a specific activity, it cannot be exchanged or refunded.
Explorer Chick West Virginia Wild Weekend will go on RAIN OR SHINE! This is an outdoor event. Please plan accordingly.
All Half Day Optional Adventures take place on Friday (Morning and Afternoon) or Sunday (Morning).
At check out, you’ll have the option to add guided adventures on Friday (Morning and Afternoon) and Sunday (Morning) to pack more adventure into your weekend. Please keep in mind space is limited on the optional excursions.
Upper Gorge Climb/Rappel: A great intro to rock climbing and rappelling for beginners. Located on ACE’s private climbing property.
- TRIP LENGTH: 4.5 hours
- COST: $105
Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): Learn Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the New River while working your balance, core, and shoulders.
- TRIP LENGTH: 4.5 hours
- COST: $105
Zip-Lining: Tour the treetops of West Virginia with a bird’s eye view of the New River Gorge on a World Record Winning Zipline. Trips will depart in waves beginning at the check-in time shown below. You will be notified of your precise start time.
- TRIP LENGTH: 3.5 hours
- WEIGHT REQUIREMENT: 70-250 LBS.
- COST: $105
Mountain Lake Kayaking: Explore the beautiful sandstone cliffs of Summersville Lake while paddling in a sit-on-top kayak.
- TRIP LENGTH: 4.5 hours
- COST: $105
Aerial Adventure Park: Challenge yourself 45′ above the ground on this aerial course. It requires grit, determination, and a little upper body strength. Trips will depart in waves starting at the check-in time shown below. You will be notified of your precise start time.
- TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
- WEIGHT REQUIREMENT: 70-250 LBS.
- COST: $70
Bridge Walk: Take the walk of your life across the catwalk 25′ underneath the New River Gorge Bridge. You’ll walk the entire length of the bridge high above the river with plenty of time to snap photos along the way. Throughout the entire time, you’ll have an interpretive guide sharing the history of the bridge and more. NOTE: This trip departs off property – approximately 20 minutes away.
- TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
- COST: $80
Mud Run: Are you ready to get down and dirty?! Challenge yourself on the ACE Adventure Mud Obstacle course where you will army crawl, climb up steep slopes, run through tires, go over moving bridges, and bond with your fellow Explorer Chicks as you conquer it together. NOTE: This trip at least 6 sign-ups to take place.
- TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
- COST: $79
ATV: This ATV Adventure is geared up for our thrill-seekers who are into driving their own machine on a guided tour. With over 100 miles of trails ranging from beginner to expert, the experienced guides, and top of the line ATVs, riders of all skill levels will enjoy the challenge and adventure of a lifetime. Each rider will driver her own machine for the entirety of the tour. All riders must be 18+ with a valid driver’s license.
- TRIP LENGTH: 3.5 hours
- COST: $210
Summersville Lake Pontoon Adventure: Spend a full day playing on Summersville Lake with a Pontoon boat. Your boat comes with all the equipment to rock climb, kayak, SUP, and swimming. Your captain will be your guide out on the lake taking you to all the secret spots, waterfalls, and best places to play. Meal included. Pack a swimsuit, towel, and extra snacks and water. Optional: Climbing shoes or water shoes. No alcohol permitted on the boat. Available Friday and Sunday mornings.
- CHECK IN: Friday or Sunday Morning
- TRIP LENGTH: 6 hours
- COST: $149
A spacious “safari” style tent equipped with 2 sets of bunk beds. Each bunk bed is a single top and a double bottom. Sleeps up to 6. Rental is the total for all three nights of Wild. Bedding NOT included.
- AVAILABILITY: 7 Tents
- TOTAL COST (3 NIGHTS): $299
Camping Kit: 4 Person Tent with 4 Sleeping Pads – $39.00
Slumber Kit: 1 Sleeping Bag and 1 Pillow – $20.00
*You are responsible for setting your schedule of guided adventures.
Arrival times, day, and approximate trip lengths for each adventure is listed below. All trip length durations are approximate. Actual duration may and will vary. You will receive confirmation of your check-in times and locations on Day 1 of your trip. Spots are limited.
*All guided activities are open to all skill levels.
*Half Day Adventures are curated to be booked back to back if desired (i.e. Embark on a morning and afternoon session)
*For full details on all guided adventures, including restrictions and what to bring, please see Ace Adventure Resort’s website.
Explorer Chick Wild is going down at the ACE Adventure Resort.
You will receive a travel guide attached to your booking confirmation with all the information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip!
1 Concho Road
Minden, WV 25879
Check-in: Thursday, June 15, 2023 3 PM – 6 PM – Late Check-in’s will be redirected to the main office at ACE.
Check out: Sunday, June 18, 2023 at 10 am.
Explorer Chick will officially kick off the weekend Thursday at 7pm with our Welcome Dinner.
TRAVELING BY AIR:
The closest major airport is Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV (CRW). ACE Adventure Resort is located approximately 56 miles and just over an hour from the airport.
Don’t be shy! Invite an Explorer Chick to share gas, stories, and road trip music jams!
Camping – Included in Your Registration: Mountaintop camping at the exclusive Explorer Chick Camp is included. It is car camping style so you can drive right up to your spot. Pack your tents and all of your favorite camping essentials to set up your pop up home among your newest friends.
Cabin Tents: A spacious “safari” style tent equipped with 2 sets of bunkbeds located along Explorer Chick’s camping area. Each bunk bed is a single top and a double bottom. Sleeps up to 6. Rental is the total for all three nights of Wild. Linens NOT included. Limited availability.
Tent and Slumber Rentals: Flying in and don’t want to check your gear? Don’t yet own camping gear? Then rent it! When you register for Wild you will be able to add a tent rental and a slumber rental to your ticket. Your tent will be set up at the Explorer Chick Camp and assigned when you arrive.
Camping Kit: 4-person tent with four 1″ sleeping pads
Slumber Package: One sleeping bag and pillow.
*Cabins: If you want to camp like a queen in one of ACE’s cabins, contact ACE directly. Ask for Agnes and mention you are an Explorer Chick. 877-787-3982. You will still need to register for the event for full access to Explorer Chick Wild.
*RVs and Campers: ACE has limited number of spaces available for RVs and Campers. To reserve a RV spot, please book directly with ACE. Ask for Agnes and mention you are an Explorer Chick. 877-787-3982. You will still need to register for the event for full access to Explorer Chick Wild.
*Note: The Cabins and the RV sites are not located in our camping area. You’ll need to drive or walk to hang at Explorer Chick Basecamp.
Because food is at the forefront of all Explorer Chick’s minds!
Your Wild Pass includes 4 meals: Thursday Dinner, Friday Dinner, Saturday Lunch and Dinner. Vegetarian diets will be accommodated. For other dietary restrictions, please be prepared to supplement the included meals if needed.
For the rest of the weekend, your options are endless!
Pack your food: Yep! We’re camping so pack your camp stove, burner, and cooler to cook your favorite fireside meals. There are no grills at the campsite, so plan accordingly! Ice can be purchased at ACE’s Welcome Center.
Ace Adventure Resort: Ace has 3 restaurants and grills conveniently located on their property.
Local eateries: There are great local eateries located outside of the resort properties. Our favorite is Pies & Pints.
Fuel for your Adventures: However you intend to satiate your appetite at meal time, remember to pack snacks and fuel for your adventures! Trail mix, bars, Gu’s. However you fuel, pack it so you don’t bonk mid-adventure.
Grocery Stores: There are major grocery stores including Kroger and Walmart just 15 minutes from Ace Adventure Resort if you need to stock up.
What in the world do you need to bring to Explorer Chick Wild? Here’s a list to get you started!
- Camping gear
- Sleeping bag, pad, and pillow
- Cookware – Stove, pots, plate, utensils
- Day Pack
- Foldable Chair
- Refillable water bottle or hydration pack
- Fuel for your adventures
- Personal clothing
- Hiking boots/Trail shoes/Gym shoes
- Swimsuit and towel
- Rain gear – jacket, poncho, etc
- Toiletries – Shampoo, soap, bath towel, personal medications, etc
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Bug spray
- Cash – Souvenirs, Guide Tips, Food, etc
- Adventure Gear – Mountain Bike, Climbing Shoes, Trekking Poles, etc
- Explorer Chick Gear – Check out our Shop!
- Your inner Wild Woman
For Whitewater Rafting:
- Swimsuit and shorts (No towels!)
- Sun block
- River shoes or sandals with straps
- Cotton is not recommended!
- Leave behind your jewelry and wallets locked inside your car
*Please refer to Ace Adventure Resort for any adventure specific gear required.
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?
- We are ALL IN
- 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.
Save $30 with our Early Bird Discounts!
Just book at least 6 Months in Advance! Discount is automatically applied.
Non-Refundable Deposit: $100 due at booking to secure your spot
Optional Adventures: Check out the Optional Adventures Tab for more information and pricing on activities such as zip lining, rock climbing, SUP, and more!
Payment Plans are Available!
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org after booking to set up an automatic monthly payment plan.
- OR make your own custom payments in your Explorer Chick account (Created after booking).
VeronicaJune 21st, 2017
This was the absolute most amazing trip of my LIFE!!! All the women, adventures and scenery will forever be in my heart and mind as a weekend to never forget! Thank you Nikki for starting something that brings women from all across the United States together to celebrate, encourage and support the wild wonderer in us all. The rafting was so much fun and the day couldn’t have been more perfect with the bright sun shinning and a little breeze as the rapid splashed up in my face haha. Kayaking was so relaxing, gliding underneath the waterfalls and swimming in the cool water by the rocks. If you have never gone ziplining I highly recommend! Nothing like jumping off the edge into the sky and flying across the rock valley underneath upside down feeling like spiderman To any woman questioning whether she has the time, money or if this trip is worth doing….YES IT IS!! DON’T HESITATE!! Plan, save and show up ready to experience a once in a lifetime adventure.
Theresa L.February 9th, 2018
So much fun. I’ll be back next year. Met a great bunch of women of every variety. Truly appreciate all the support from the repelling and climbing gang Sunday morning. I was terrified but everyone cheered me on and helped me conquer my fears. I may not jump at the chance to do it again but I can at least say I did it once. Being in the front of the raft is a blast. Literally. Blasted with water on every rapid so refreshing. SUP quite the challenge going up river and fighting the current. Beautiful day and lots of fun paddling no where fast. Think I might stick to lake SUP for a while. Got really good at getting back on the board after falling off a few times.
Jamie J.February 24th, 2018
I’ve been on two trips so far with Explorer Chick Adventure Co (Backpacking in Red River Gorge, KY and a multitude of adventures at Wild! West Virginia) and have the Baja Mexico trip coming up this January! I can’t speak praise high enough for this wonderful company and its fearless leader. All trips have been beyond expectations, pushed my boundaries, and made me into a more comfortable woman claiming outdoor adventure as a way of life I love! Perhaps best of all are the friendships I have created with the women I have met on these adventures. Great company!!
Carrie H.February 24th, 2018
I had an awesome time with EC on the West Virginia Wild trip and the Smoky Mountain adventure!! Explorer Chick does not disappoint. So many awesome memories and friendships made.
Cynthia R.February 24th, 2018
My first EC experience was a meetup at Climb Time in Blue Ash. It was my first time rock climbing and it was a great experience. Then this past summer I had the pleasure of attending the EC WILD Weekend in West Virginia with 40+ other women. Nicki and Becca thought of everything and made sure everyone felt welcome, included, and comfortable.
The trip first appealed to me because I didn’t have to worry about researching and organizing anything. It was a great value for the all-inclusive price: 4 meals, cute commemorative tank top, full day whitewater rafting, access to the waterpark, 3 nights of camping with ‘real’ showers and bathrooms, inspirational speaker, campfires and smores-gasbord. Not to mention the beautiful sights, fun and exciting adventures, building new friendships, tons of laughs, and countless memories… priceless.
Looking forward to many more EC adventures!
Karen S.April 18th, 2018
After much stalking of the the EC trips and excursions, the Wild Weekend in West Virginia was my first adventure with Nicki. It did not disappoint! My sister in law and I loaded up her jeep and made the rather short and scenic drive down to ACE Adventure Resort and were ecstatic from the start. Everyone seemed to get along wonderfully, we made new friends immediately, and everyone there was so funny and encouraging. Bonfires, the smore’s-gasboard, delicious food, thrilling excursions, gorgeous scenery, and perfect weather abounded. I am so disappointed that I can’t return this year, but if it takes place in 2019, I intend to do my best to fit it in my schedule! Wild was my first adventure with Explorer Chick, but it was not my last. I’ve done a mini, and I’m all booked to join Nicki and the other fabulous women this November in Cabarete!
Cheryl ChambersDecember 4th, 2018
I had the most fun I had all year with a great group of wacky women. Danced my ass off at the clubhouse Saturday night after amazing rafting. Can not wait to do it all again.
JulieJune 23rd, 2020
Yeah, we did that! Believe me, the Lower Gauley River was no slouch. We tackled 26 rapids, 5 of which were rated Class 5! . Our raft were the only ones to ace the toughest 5er, Heaven’s Gate- right down the middle, baby!
Shannon BarhorstJune 25th, 2020
This was my first adventure with the Explorer Chicks. I was not disappointed! Between all the different backgrounds, ages and abilities, this group of women worriers are who you want to spend a long weekend with refueling your wild side. Dealing with a soggy campground upon arrival from much rainfall, it was a matter of minutes that total strangers were coming over to help set our tents up to get the shenani-gans underway. I had no idea what to expect so packing was uncertain. Know this, there is NO electricity so don’t pack a 50′ extension cord. No water at your primitive camp site so bring it. But lovely utility sinks at shower houses, which has plenty of hot water for sinks and showers to wash dishes or a dirty body. Flashlights or headlamps are a must because the glorious stars are not enough light to see your way to the restrooms at night. Bring a canopy if you own one. Its awesome to chill under between adventures and out of the hot sun or falling rain. All excursions are wonderful says everyone who has ever done one. I brought my own kayaks/paddle-board to venture out on Summerville lake and was blown away on its distinguished cliffs, waterfalls and caves. If I were to pass along words of wisdom…bring accelerants for fire starting. A hot fire melts chocolate faster and browns a marshmallow perfectly. I highly recommend this trip, and surrounding yourself with like minded adventurous women always does the soul good.
KristiJune 25th, 2020
West Virginia Wild 2020-amazing trip, fun, relax, laughter, real sisterhood! We empowered each other this weekend- On to next year! Love you ladies!