Trails Carolina – A Wilderness Therapy Program For Troubled Teens

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program offering intensive therapeutic interventions in an idyllic wilderness setting. While Trails Carolina bills itself as providing life-changing experiences to struggling teenagers, critics have raised serious doubts regarding its safety and efficacy.

Allegations stemming from firsthand accounts provided by former participants, parents, and staff members range from physical harm to emotional manipulation; some have also raised concerns regarding lack of government regulation and oversight in wilderness therapy programs.


After hearing of Trails Carolina’s heartrending deaths and allegations of misconduct, calls have intensified for greater scrutiny on wilderness therapy programs like Trails Carolina. Critics contend that current regulations allow such programs to operate without proper oversight or accountability.

Alec Lansing, 17, died of hypothermia during an expedition in western North Carolina after wandering away from his group during an expedition, prompting an investigation that revealed multiple breaches in state regulations.

This visually striking show explores ten distinctive trail experiences in the Great Trail State of Oregon. Premiering Thursday, August 31 on PBS and featuring local nature enthusiasts and trail experts as speakers, its development was no easy task since rights of abandoned railroads revert back to nearby landowners when abandonment takes place.


Trails Carolina provides transformative therapeutic wilderness experiences for troubled teens located in western North Carolina’s breathtaking mountains. It combines evidence-based clinical theory and practice with a residential base camp for maximum therapeutic impact, offering single gender age-appropriate groups where they gain insight into personal challenges as well as acquire skills necessary for leading healthier lifestyles.

The program places great emphasis on family involvement. Parents can participate in their child’s treatment through mid-point parent workshops and Common Ground experiences, which provide holistic approaches that improve family dynamics while decreasing the chance of relapse.

In 2021, 17-year-old Alec Lansing died of hypothermia during a group expedition led by Trails Carolina. This tragedy brought widespread scrutiny to the industry as well as raised serious concerns over its methods.


Trails Carolina Horror Stories employs an integrative multisystem approach to meet the needs of students and their families. This includes academic support, a robust wilderness experience and therapeutic work from primary therapists.

This approach allows students to develop and apply their skills across environments, leading to improved outcomes. Many staff members enjoy working with the students and witnessing them make incredible strides forward.

Families should research any therapeutic program carefully and obtain recommendations from trusted mental health professionals before enrolling their child in wilderness therapy programs. Furthermore, parents are strongly urged to stay involved in their child’s treatment process by scheduling weekly calls with family therapists and receiving updates from primary therapists – something which will hopefully reduce instances of students dropping out from such programs.


Carolina Park provides its community members with a host of amenities – an indoor track, personal training and group fitness classes among them – making it the ideal location for family exercise. Furthermore, Carolina Park’s proximity to trails and walking paths make this community all the more appealing.

Trails stands apart from other wilderness therapy programs by combining outdoor coursework and accredited academics into traditional classroom settings, providing students with an approach that helps them find balance, build self-esteem, and gain skills necessary for an ideal future.

Recent independent research demonstrated that nearly 98 percent of Trails participants reported continued improved mental health one year post-program. Trails also offers ongoing alumni support through workshops, weekly calls and mindfulness classes.


Trails Carolina, a popular wilderness therapy program for troubled adolescents, has attracted both praise and controversy in recent years. This program is known for its successful methods in helping participants through challenging emotional and behavioral challenges; however, critics have raised doubts regarding these methods as well as participant safety.

Numerous investigations have exposed allegations of abuse and mistreatment at Trails Carolina by its staff members, raising serious concerns over inconsistent regulations in the wilderness therapy industry.

Amelia found refuge at Trails where she overcame her defiance and anger issues, developed a better relationship with her family and achieved better grades at school. Now managing symptoms of depression and severe anxiety more effectively while communicating more efficiently with them all.