The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a trail of legends and lore! It began in 1921 as an idea, and in 1937 the entire trail from Georgia to Maine was completed. The trail is an estimated 2,180-mile hike. Michaux State Forest is in southern PA. There is a 22-mile section of the AT that your group will be doing that passes by a premier rock climbing area. Michaux State Forest is the northern portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This state forest area is a gem for outdoor enthusiasts. We believe that you will enjoy its sheer beauty as you backpack and rock climb with your new classmates. One crew will start north on the AT and travel south. The other crew will start south and travel north. They will cross each other in transit. Each group will have a day and a half of climbing. Your group will get to interact with the climbing and caving groups that will be at the climbing site already.

View photos from this trip

Challenge Level

This is Beginner experience. No backpacking or climbing experience is needed. We have had many first-year students that have never gone backpacking join this experience without any issues. Each climbing area has easy to moderate to difficult climbing. You will be able to choose your challenge level. You will not be carrying the climbing equipment, the climbing and caving team will have all your supplies with them. You will only be backpacking with what you need. We will teach you everything you need to know about backpacking and rock climbing.


Expedition Itinerary 

The experience below is only an example, trips are subject to change based on weather, local conditions, other circumstances, etc.

Day 1

  • 7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.: Move in to the Residence Halls, breakfast and lunch on your own
  • 12:15 p.m.: In a duffel bag, bring your packed equipment from the packing list for your specific trip to an area for storage (TBD) prior to the Weis Center meeting
  • 12:30 p.m.: Meeting with the Associate Dean, Director of Outdoor Education & Leadership, and BuckWild student trip leaders in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts
  • 1:15 p.m.: Break
  • 1:30 p.m.: Meeting with the President, Provost, and Dean of Students in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts
  • 2:15 p.m.: Say farewell to your families
  • 2:30 p.m.: Your BuckWild experience begins-icebreaker's, equipment packing, learning about the equipment, evening activities, snacks, dinner, and the traditional Grove campout with your classmates (you will not be sleeping in your room until the experience is completed).

Day 2
Wake up, pack up equipment, and depart campus! Hit the trail "running" - Goal: Hike 6 miles to the climbing crag.  Rock Climb in the late afternoon into the evening and mingle with the climbing and caving crew. Set up camp. Enjoy fun, daily activities prepared by the Trip Leaders.

Day 3
Wake up, break down camp, and prep for day of rock climbing at Shafer Rock. Climb all day and enjoy company of climbing/caving group. Depart later in the afternoon and hike 2 - 3 miles to set up camp. Enjoy fun, daily activities prepared by the Trip Leaders.

Day 4
Wake up, break down camp, and depart camp. Goal: Hike between 7 - 8 miles depending on night before. Set up camp. Enjoy fun, daily activities prepared by the Trip Leaders.

Day 5
Finish hiking 5 to 6 miles to vehicles. Arrive back at Cowan Retreat Center. Your trip leaders will have planned activities for the day, closure activities, dinner and music with students, faculty, and staff, until 8 or 9 pm. Return to campus by 9:30 pm. Call parents, let them know that you are safe and it was the most amazing experience in your life!

Day 6
8:00 am Breakfast is provided for BuckWilders, hopefully we will have a BuckWild completion video to share, and our leaders with help you with the New Student Orientation Schedule that will begin today at 11 a.m.!


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