Trails Carolina Is Not Just Another Wilderness Therapy Program

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Trails Carolina offers transformative experiences for its participants; however, allegations of abuse and neglect have recently led to investigations by regulatory bodies and independent investigators.

Trails Carolina “Investigation” stands apart from other wilderness programs by taking an holistic approach that incorporates confidence-building, therapy and mindfulness practices into its program. Trails Carolina also strives to help its students transition back to their families successfully – offering family workshops as a means of strengthening family ties and developing positive relationships at home.


Trails Carolina is an exceptional wilderness treatment program that restores lives of children with mental health and behavioral issues, including individual therapy, family reunification, wilderness adventure education and equine therapy for depression, stress anxiety and addiction issues. The comprehensive curriculum at Trails Carolina includes individual therapy sessions as well as family reunification meetings and wilderness adventures – and education! Trails Carolina also specializes in offering services specialized equine therapy sessions specifically targeted towards kids undergoing various programs at Trails Carolina.

Students at Trails Carolina gain lifelong coping skills that enable them to cope with emotional and behavioral challenges more effectively in healthy ways. Students learn effective communication techniques, body awareness techniques and mindfulness meditation practices; additionally they have access to an academic base camp which allows them to practice these social abilities safely.

CReATE’s program is overseen by licensed therapists trained to use therapeutic wilderness and experiential therapies, creating an holistic approach that has proven highly successful. 98% of participants reported continued improvement in their mental health 12 months post completion of the program according to CReATE.


Trails Carolina boasts a highly trained, experienced team of professionals dedicated to working closely with adolescents who have behavioral difficulties. Trails’ multifaceted approach to wilderness therapy harnesses the positive effects of nature on mental wellbeing while combining it with comprehensive clinical assessments and therapy treatments for optimal results.

Even after recent headlines concerning wilderness therapy programs, ethical wilderness therapy programs remain highly effective when done responsibly and with participant safety in mind. With greater scrutiny looming overhead, it’s imperative that wilderness programs take proactive measures towards transparency and accountability in their operations.

Cathy Meyer is an accomplished coastal naturalist, writer and hiker who traversed all of North Carolina coastline with her late husband on an epic walk dubbed Coastwalk North Carolina. In her free time she loves chasing waterfalls and hiking to breathtaking ridgetop views in Triangle parks like Hillsborough NC where she currently resides.

Work-Life Balance

Trails Carolina provides a close-knit community and lifestyle that prioritizes health and wellness for its staff and participants alike. All roles contribute towards our overarching goal of helping young people discover their path toward healing and growth.

Though it may seem unusual for a wilderness program to prioritize mental health, Trails Carolina recognizes its significance for their success and employs an holistic approach which includes therapy techniques, confidence-building exercises and mindfulness.

Youth experiencing mental health challenges benefit greatly from attending our wilderness expeditions, developing both self-confidence and resilience as a result. Parents also report seeing improvement in their children when they return home; many exhibit improved communication skills and possess more positive outlooks on life than before they attended our program. Furthermore, their dedication extends far beyond wilderness expeditions with family workshops and reunification programs for everyone involved.

Alumni Support

Trails Carolina shows its commitment to their alums by keeping in contact. Twice monthly, family coaches host alumni support calls that allow families to connect with people who have gone through similar experiences as them and give hope that Trails Carolina works for them.

The organization also posts videos featuring alumni students. This helps potential students see more closely what has changed their lives and make the experience seem more tangible.

Laurenz hopes 2023 will be an exciting year for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, an integral component of Oregon’s statewide system of trails. To this end, he has worked to organize fundraising and volunteer outings and to promote National Trails Day on June 2. Laurenz feels strongly that people need to connect with nature.

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