trails carolina horror stories


Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program, has garnered both praise and criticism over the years. While many participants and their families report positive outcomes, there have been instances where the program’s practices and outcomes have raised concerns. This article aims to provide an unbiased exploration of some of the alleged “horror stories” associated with Trails Carolina. We will also address frequently asked questions to offer a comprehensive overview.

Understanding Trails Carolina

Trails Carolina is a therapeutic wilderness program located in North Carolina. It is designed to help struggling adolescents and young adults overcome various challenges, such as behavioral issues, substance abuse, and mental health concerns. The program utilizes outdoor experiences, individual therapy, group therapy, and skill-building activities to promote personal growth and healing.

Alleged Horror Stories

1. Lack of Transparency

  • Claim: Some critics argue that Trails Carolina lacks transparency about their treatment methods and outcomes.
  • Analysis: Transparency is a crucial aspect of any therapeutic program. It is essential for families to have a clear understanding of the methods being used and the progress being made.

2. Safety Concerns

  • Claim: There have been reports of safety concerns, including accidents during wilderness activities and allegations of inadequate supervision.
  • Analysis: Safety is of paramount importance in any therapeutic setting, especially in a wilderness environment. It is vital for programs like Trails Carolina to have robust safety measures in place.

3. Emotional Impact

  • Claim: Some participants and their families have reported negative emotional experiences, including feelings of isolation and distress.
  • Analysis: Wilderness therapy can be emotionally challenging, and it is important for programs to have qualified staff who can provide appropriate support.

4. Long-term Effectiveness

  • Claim: Critics argue that the long-term effectiveness of the program is not adequately supported by empirical evidence.
  • Analysis: Long-term effectiveness is a crucial factor in evaluating any therapeutic program. It is important for programs to have follow-up studies and data to demonstrate sustained positive outcomes.


1. Is Trails Carolina a Licensed Program?

  • Answer: Yes, Trails Carolina is a licensed wilderness therapy program. It is accredited by relevant authorities and adheres to industry standards.

2. What Are the Qualifications of the Staff?

  • Answer: Trails Carolina employs licensed therapists, field instructors with relevant certifications, and support staff trained in wilderness therapy techniques.

3. How is Safety Ensured During Wilderness Activities?

  • Answer: Safety is a top priority at Trails Carolina. The program implements strict safety protocols, including thorough participant assessments, well-maintained equipment, and experienced field staff.

4. What Support is Available for Emotional Challenges?

  • Answer: Trails Carolina provides individual and group therapy sessions, and participants have access to licensed therapists who are trained to address emotional challenges.

5. How Does Trails Carolina Measure Long-term Effectiveness?

  • Answer: Trails Carolina conducts follow-up studies to assess the long-term impact of their program on participants. These studies may include feedback from alumni and their families.

6. What Options Are Available for Families Who Are Dissatisfied?

  • Answer: Families who are dissatisfied with the program are encouraged to communicate their concerns with the program staff. Additionally, they may explore alternative therapeutic options or seek advice from mental health professionals.


Trails Carolina, like any therapeutic program, has its share of controversies and concerns. It is crucial for families considering this program to conduct thorough research, ask relevant questions, and make an informed decision based on their unique circumstances.

Open communication with program staff and seeking advice from mental health professionals can also be valuable steps in the decision-making process. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any therapeutic program may vary from individual to individual, and it is important to find the right fit for each person’s specific needs.