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We have two locations to serve more families looking for an outdoor education experience in the High Country of North Carolina. You can find our Vilas property off Charlie Thompson Road and our West Jefferson property off Nettle Knob Road. Both offer 30+ acres of forests, valleys, creeks, and fields for exploration and fun.

All of our programs are entirely outdoors and operate year-round. We serve children ages 3-14. To join us, children must be out of diapers and able to pee in the woods. (We can help them if needed.) They also need to carry their backpack with them at all times, with food, water, and extra clothes. They need to be able to hike and take care of basic needs. We encourage everyone to come for a visit before they start, both parents and children, to see, experience and ask questions about a day at High Country Forest Wild. 

Regardless of which days and times you join us, every program we have offers a variety of the following:

  • Environmental Studies

    • Local flora & fauna, climate science, rivers and water lessons

  • Outdoor Skills

    • Whittling, fire-building, navigation with map and compass, knot-tying 

  • Natural and Cultural History

    • ​Geology of Appalachian mountains,   Cherokee history, Appalachian music

Click and explore the map to see which location is best for your family.

  • Physical Activity

    • Hiking, running games, service/work projects, tree climbing

  • Rest and Reflective Time

    • Quiet time, guided journaling, meditation

  • Unstructured Exploratory Time

    • Creative free play, fort-building, creek rambles, exploring the woods

Our Locations

Program Offerings

School Year Programming

We operate our school-year programming in ~6-week sessions with groups in both the mornings and afternoons. 

Our school-year scheduling is very flexible to meet many different family needs. Children may attend 1-4 days/week and choose between our morning and afterschool options.

Beginning Fall 2024, we may offer programming in West Jefferson, depending on demand and interest.

Summer Day Camps

Our summer day camps run Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at both our Vilas and West Jefferson locations. We offer 11 different-themed weeks throughout the summer - from June 3rd through August 16th (for 2024). You can join for one or all, but partial weeks or drop-ins are not available.

Summer camp registration cost is $250/week per child. Siblings are eligible for a 10% discount, or $225/week. Financial aid is available. 

Morning Groups

8:30 am to 12:30 pm - Monday thru Friday.
An extended day option is available from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays (or other days on demand).

Choose the day or days of the week that best fit your family's schedule when you register. Special days will be offered for some school holidays and teacher workdays so please watch for updates here on our site and on our social media accounts.

Afterschool Groups

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm - Monday thru Friday.

On Wednesdays, we also offer a 2:00 - 6:00 pm time slot.

This a great option for families who want to add some forest time to their children's week after traditional school hours. Afterschool groups are only available at our Vilas location at this time, but may be offered in West Jefferson in fall 2024.


The drop-in rates are $35/day for a 3-hour block, $40/day for a 4-hour block, and $50/day for a 5.5-hour block.

If you are unsure about committing to a full 6-week session during the school year, your child can drop in for a morning or afternoon group to experience what we have to offer.

Want more information to help make your registration easier? Send us your questions through our contact form below. We pride ourselves on getting back to parents quickly. 

Have a Question?

What Families Are Saying about Forest Wild

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Lis, HCFW parent

My kids love Forest Wild! Even on chilly, rainy days they come home smiling. Fire building, whittling and knife skills have been a huge confidence builder for both my kids...My 6.5 year old used to complain all the time when we took even short walks but since attending Forest Wild she has no complaints about hiking.

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