The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks underlying the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of North America's most biologically diverse regions; some even say it is "rainforest-like." This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls, and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 types of birds, and over 50 species of amphibians. The vast number of trees and plant life gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the 'blue' in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.
Temperatures in this area range from 50 to 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.