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.

Equipment Packing List

View photos from this trip

Challenge Level

The exertion level is light. 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 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
  • 1:30 p.m.: Say goodbye to your families
  • 1:45 p.m.: Report to the Academic Quad to meet with your BuckWild Trip Leaders
  • 2:00 p.m.: Parents/Guardians/Family Members will meet with the President, Provost, and Dean of Students in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts
  • 2:30 p.m.: Parents/Guardians/Family Members are free to depart campus or attend the social hour in the Weis Center Lobby until 3:30 p.m.

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. Meet and engage with Bucknell Professors in the afternoon at the Cowan Forest D. Brown Retreat Center. There we will enjoy food and festivities mid evening. Go back to shower and then meet up for the Arts First Pre-Orientation Program Performance. Sleep in your rooms.

Day 6
Breakfast 8:15 a.m. in Larrison Dining Hall. Your trip leaders will discuss the Orientation Schedule. There will be a slideshow displaying each of the trip experiences. Orientation begins a little before lunch.