APPALACHIAN
ODYSSEY

Two-Week Overnight Adventure Camp in Northern Virginia

overview

As one of our two-week expeditions, Appalachian Odyssey is one of our pinnacle camps. Appalachian Odyssey provides the experience of a lifetime for youth by taking them on a series of adventures throughout Virginia and West Virginia. We will hike Old Rag mountain and Seneca Rocks, climb at the New River Gorge, backpack through the Cranberry Wilderness, and raft the world-class Upper and Lower New River. All of these adventures are exciting by themselves, but they are taken to a new level with this two-week expedition

LENGTH

13 days, Sunday through the following Friday

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DROP-OFF & PICK-UP

Drop-off is at 2PM on Sunday and pick-up is 7PM the following Friday at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton, VA

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ACCOMMODATIONS

Campers will sleep in tents at family campgrounds.

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DATES

July 30th - August 11th

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Appalachian Odyssey Expedition Adventure Links

Appalachian Odyssey

$1,995 per trip
  • Rising 10th-12th Graders
  • Challenge Course with Zip Line
  • Hiking / Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rafting
  • Caving
  • Accommodations in Tents at Family Campgrounds
  • All Meals, Snacks, & S'mores
  • Transportation Between Locations

Are you ready to give your kids the summer of a lifetime?

itinerary

Day 1, Sunday

Challenge Course and Zip Line at Hemlock Overlook, Clifton, VA

After a 2:00 PM Drop Off, Campers will get to know each other and begin learning to work as a team while participating in a series of interactive initiative games and challenge course elements, including the Zip Line. Campers will then have an introduction to camp craft including Leave No Trace Principles, camp cooking, and campsite set-up, and camp out at our home base at Hemlock Overlook Park.

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Day 2, Monday

Hiking at Old Rag Mountain, Shenandoah National Park, VA

What better way to begin our trip than to reach the summit of the most popular peak in the Shenandoah National Park? With a little help from the weather, the group will enjoy 360 degree panoramic views from the summit of this historic mountain.  

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Day 3, Tuesday

Paddling on the Shenandoah River, Luray, VA 

Depending on the group, the day may include canoeing, kayaking, or tubing on the Shenandoah River. After the sun and paddling has worn everybody out, campers will head to their campsite at Natural Chimneys Regional Park to catch the sunset and prepare for caving the next day.

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Day 4, Wednesday

Caving at Glade Cave, Mt. Solon, VA

Campers will learn about cave ecology first hand as they explore the various tunnels and passageways of Glade Cave. The unique environment that caves present allow campers to experience total darkness and an immense amount of mud. This is a day for an old pair of shoes.

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Day 5, Thursday

Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks, Monongahela National Forest, WV

Today, our group will hike to the top of Seneca Rocks, one of the most prominent geologic features on the East Coast and cap the day off with a trip up the tallest peak in West Virginia, Spruce Knob, to catch a sunset that they will not forget. Seneca Shadows will be the campground for the night.

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Day 6, Friday

Shopping and Backpack Prep, Franklin, WV

Today will be spent creating menus and going shopping for our backpacking trip that begins the following day. Campers will learn how to prepare for a multi-night backcountry trip including selecting a backcountry-friendly menu,  properly packing a backpack, and, most importantly, how to avoid blisters.

Day 7, Saturday

Backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness, WV

The backpacking trip begins! The next three days and two nights are spent enjoying the natural beauty of the Cranberry Wilderness in Monongahela National Forest. The group will bring only what they can carry in their packs, and camp out each night in primitive campsites along the trail.

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Day 8, Sunday

Backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness, WV

The Cranberry Wilderness in Monongahela National Forest provides wilderness in every sense of the word. From massive stands of evergreens to a moss-covered forest floor, this trip has something for everyone. The first night’s campsite is right next to your own waterfall.

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Day 9, Monday

Backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness, WV

Hiking out of the Wilderness is generally a highlight of the trip. Campers are provided with a sense of accomplishment and are certainly rewarded with the cheesy goodness of a well-deserved pizza upon arrival at the New River Gorge.

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Day 10, Tuesday

“Ducky” paddling on the Upper New River in West Virginia

Three days in the backcountry can wear anybody, but Ducky paddling helps to rejuvenate anybody. Paddling on the Upper New River allows campers to take in Class I - III rapids and relax in the long pools that are spaced between them.

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Day 11, Wednesday

Rock Climbing and Rappelling at New River Gorge, WV

After spending a day on the water, it’s time to head to the canyon rim to climb the world-class sandstone that makes “the New” famous. With a variety of climbs and spectacular areas, the day will present a challenge for everybody.

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Day 12, Thursday

White Water Rafting on the Lower New River, WV

The Lower New River represents the culmination of the trip. Miller’s Folly, the Keeneys, and Double Z will bring back memories for anybody who has been on this stretch of the New River. Hard hitting rapids are followed by stretches of calm water to cool off. If we are lucky, the guides might even let us swim a rapid or two. One last sunset, under the New River Bridge, caps off our trip.

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Day 13, Friday

Travel Day and Awards Night at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, Clifton, VA

After the long drive back to Hemlock, we will clean and repack our gear. After a pizza party, we will have an awards ceremony and eat s’mores over one last campfire.

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Trip conclusion and parent pick-up at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park.

Are you ready to give your kids the summer of a lifetime?

pack list

To make sure campers come to Adventure Links prepared, we've generated a pack lists for North Carolina.

Please Note: Campers are encouraged to bring only essential items for the trip. Campers should plan to arrive with one large duffel bag, one medium/large backpack, one small day pack or back pack, and a small stuff sack containing a compact sleeping bag. Storage space is limited on our Mini-buses, so any bulky or non-essential items may be left at base camp for the length of the trip.

PACK ITEMS

  • Pack items in a Duffel Bag for bus travel (no wheels on bags)
  • Large overnight backpack for overnight hiking
  • Medium/Large overnight backpack for overnight hiking
  • Day pack/Small backpack for day trips
  • 32 oz. re-usable water bottle/Nalgene (2)
  • Eating utensils and a mess kit or sturdy bowl and cup (campers will be using to eat breakfast and dinners)
  • Sleeping bag (rated between 35-45 degrees / synthetic material)
  • Sleeping pad (recommended)
  • Camping pillow (small packable size)
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain Gear (rain jacket and rain pants – no ponchos)
  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Extra Batteries (2 sets)
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen (at least 30 SPF)
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc)
  • Towel

OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Camera
  • Book
  • Journal/pen/pencils
  • $20 for spending on program

PLEASE DO NOT BRING

  • Cell Phones
  • iPods
  • Electronics
  • Knives
  • Jewelry
  • Expensive Personal Belongings

CLOTHING

Note: Synthetic materials such as polypropylene, synthetic wool, or polyester, will wick moisture away from the body, maintain warmth when wet, and dry much quicker than cotton. Synthetic material clothing is essential to comfort and safety on this expedition.

  • 1 pair - sneakers
  • 1 pair - sturdy hiking boots with ankle support (make sure boots have been broken in before the trip!)
  • Water Shoes, old sneakers that can get wet, or fixed heel/fixed toe sandals (no strapless sandals or flip-flops):
  • Camp Shoes (something comfortable to wear around camp)
  • Jacket or windbreaker (can double with rain gear)
  • Wool / fleece pullover
  • Long sleeved polypropylene shirt (2)
  • T-shirts (4)
  • Polypropylene t-shirts (3)
  • Shorts (3)
  • Synthetic material long pants, i.e. jogging pants or warm-up pants (1-2)
  • Bathing suit
  • Underwear (7)
  • Cotton socks (5)
  • Wool or synthetic fiber socks (3)
  • Cap or brimmed hat
  • Winter hat and gloves
  • Bandanna
  • Trash bag with name on it for dirty clothes
  • Gaiters (optional for backpacking)
  • Polypropylene or synthetic fabric long underwear (tops and bottoms)

CAVING GEAR

  • Warm layers that can get DIRTY - old sweatshirts and jeans work well!
  • Boots / sneakers That can get WET & DIRTY!
  • Kneepads (optional)
  • Trash bag, labeled with name, to store wet & dirty items

Are you ready to give your kids the summer of a lifetime?

frequently asked questions

Are you accredited?
Yes. The American Camping Association, a nationally recognized certifying body, accredits Adventure Links (accreditation reviewed and approved October 2011).
How are my children transported?
Participants are transported by both van and mini-bus. All drivers are screened and must be approved by our insurance company. All of our drivers are required to complete a supplemental Adventure Links driver training program. Adventure Links strictly adheres to regulations set forth by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
What are your staff's qualifications?

Our Instructors must be over the age of 19 years old, hold a minimum current certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR and are subject to pre-employment drug screen, random drug screening, and Federal Criminal Background Checks. Overnight camp activities will have at least one instructor with a minimum certification of Wilderness First Responder.

All of our Instructors are selected based on their skills in outdoor leadership and a high degree of commitment to working with youth.

Does my child need to be physically fit?
Participants do not need to be skilled athletes to be successful in our programs. Some of the activities may be more difficult for a child who is less physically fit. To best prepare for any active camp program, it is helpful for a child to consistently exercise and maintain good health.
My child has never done these activities before. Is this camp suitable?

 Our programs are designed at mainly an introductory level. A large percentage of campers are trying at least one activity for the very first time. The structure and philosophy of the program allows for personal growth and development at a variety of skill levels.

My child has done a lot of these activities before; is this camp suitable?

The unique quality of adventure activities is that each child can choose their challenge level. For example, when at the rock site, all levels of climbs are available for campers to try. In addition, if a child has had exposure to any of the activities in camp, they approach the week with an increased level of confidence.

Where is Adventure Links?

We are located at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton, VA. Just 20 miles from Washington D.C. in Fairfax County. The 228 acre park is part of a network of 5000 acres of park land that run along the Bull Run River.

Can I contact my child at camp?

In the event of an emergency, you may contact the Adventure Links office and we will relay the message to your child. Instructors are equipped with cellular phones but due to the nature and location of our activities, the phones may be out of service and we rely upon messages. The Instructors on overnight and expedition programs are instructed to contact the office at least once per week during their program and immediately in the event of an emergency. It is at this time that updates and messages can be delivered. It is not feasible to receive updates on a daily basis.

What if my child becomes sick or injured at camp?

Minor injuries and illnesses will be documented and reported to parents at the end of the camp day. If a major injury or illness occurs during camp, Adventure Links will attempt to contact the parent or guardian utilizing the emergency phone contact information provided on the medical form. Placed on each medical form is the authorization to provide advanced medical care in the event of a major emergency.

Do campers sign up with friends or come on their own?

It is common to see campers sign as a part of a group of friends, and every effort is made to keep these campers in the same group or in the same bunk during overnight camp.

It is also very common to see groups of campers that are all meeting each other for the first time, as Adventure Links is a great place to meet new people and make new friends.

What happens in the event of inclement weather?

Please see our Summer Camp Policies for a detailed description of our inclement weather policies.

In summary, our camps run in all weather conditions. Adventure Links reserves the right to make changes to the scheduled itinerary as necessary to ensure the safety of our campers, and refunds will not be provided for activities that are altered or replaced due to inclement weather.

What should I do if my child will not be attending a day of camp?

Please contact the Adventure Links office at your earliest convenience, preferably the evening before. We can then relay such messages to the staff departing early each morning.

For day camps, can I drop off my child at the Adventure Links Base Camp at Hemlock Overlook or other pick-up/drop off sites?

We ask that parents pick up and drop off only at the designated pick-up location for their camp session due to space limitations on our vehicles.

 The exception if you’d like to pick up and drop off at Hemlock Overlook for days when the camp activity will be on-site. Please contact the Adventure Links Office to make arrangements.
What is the ratio of campers to counselors?

We maintain a ratio of 1 Instructor per 7 campers for day camps and expeditions. Residential camps have a ratio of 1 Instructor per 6 campers.

How high are the rocks that my child will be climbing? Does my child have to go to the top of every climb?

The rocks range from 15 to 60 feet in height. Our philosophy places choice in the hands of the camper, not our staff or fellow campers. We encourage all campers to try to push their limits, but clearly define the difference between support and coercion. Success is not measured by the campers’ ability to reach the top of the climb, but in the courage and effort they display in participating in the activity.

Where are each of the activities located?

Our activities are located throughout Northern Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Please refer to the specific itinerary for the program or inquire with the Adventure Coordinator who will check your child in the first day of camp. If you have specific questions about a location you can call the office and we would be happy to address all your questions.

Where are the pick-up locations for day camps?

We have convenient sites located throughout Northern Virginia; please refer to the Day Camp Pickup Locations page for further details.

Can parents join their child for a day of camp?

No. We like to involve and communicate with parents openly about their child’s camp experience. However, we have found that having a parent present during the camp day has a detrimental effect upon a camper’s ability to fully immerse and focus on the experience.

What kind of food do we have on overnight and expedition programs?

The food chosen for the trips is both youth and expedition friendly. We design meals with variety and nutrition in mind. We have vegetarian options and, if provided ample information and pre-trip notice, have very successfully worked with food allergies and restrictions. A “picky” eater may struggle a bit as there is not normally the option to prepare another meal at the last minute.

Where do most of the camp participants come from?

 There is a strong participation from the Mid-Atlantic region. However, our campers have come from all over the United States and even from other countries.

Where do most of the camp participants come from?

 There is a strong participation from the Mid-Atlantic region. However, our campers have come from all over the United States and even from other countries.

Should I send money with my child?

This is at your discretion. Due to the nature of the overnight programs and expeditions, students do not have many opportunities to purchase items. Students have brought spending money for mementos (t-shirts at the rafting company) during the trip.

Does my child need a physical examination before camp?

Yes. We require that a child has had an examination within 24 months of the camp program.

Is there any special equipment I need to buy for the trip?

Campers must be prepared to bring the items listed on the pack list for their specific camp. This may include specific items such as backpacks, sleeping bags, or certain types of clothing. All other adventure equipment such as helmets, harnesses, or paddles will be supplied by Adventure Links.

Can my child bring a cellular phone or other electronic device to camp?

No. The Adventure Links camp program is designed to immerse campers into the natural environment and dynamics of the group experience. The use of camper cellular phones or other electronic devices is severely disruptive to maintaining this atmosphere. In the event of an emergency, it is the responsibility for the staff to maintain contact with the Adventure Links office and the parents of the camper.

Have more questions? Email your question summer@adventurelinks.net and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Are you ready to give your kids the summer of a lifetime?