Base Camp Cullowhee

Hiking photo



Base Camp Cullowhee aims to offer the finest University Outdoor Program in the country.  We do this by offering the WCU community a comprehensive array of outdoor recreation trips, experiential education opportunities, and outdoor equipment rentals.  More than just a recreation program, we aim to engage and develop the whole student through the medium of outdoor adventure activities.  Base Camp Cullowhee is the home to human powered adventure at WCU. Between the climbing wall, trip programs, guide service and rental equipment, Base Camp Cullowhee facilitates over 9,000 participant experiences per year! Come find your next ADVENTURE.

For the past four years, Western Carolina University has been named Top Adventure College - Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Ready for some human powered adventure?  Come paddle a river, canoe a lake, climb the rocks, explore the forests and national parks. WCU is home to some of the most amazing rivers, waterfalls, granite domes, and pristine national forests and national parks in the country. At WCU we aim to reach new heights! All trips and programs are planned and executed by trained students and our professional guide staff. All staff are highly qualified and hold certifications such as Wilderness First Responder, EMT, ACA Swift Water Rescue, American Mountain Guides Association, and more.

 Summer 2017 Trips & Clinics Calendar


Base Camp Cullowhee is here to serve as your resource center, guide to local outdoor trails, map service center, and outdoor leader to answer all of your questions. We have tons of maps of North Carolina, including almost every topographic map of the state. We have books on Standard First Aid to Biking in Utah. We have eager employees that would love to help you reach your destination, so come by and see the wealth of resources at your fingertips.


Base Camp Cullowhee offers Outdoor Equipment Rentals for students, faculty, and staff. To help accommodate the WCU community we have updated our rental rates so we now have 3 rental periods that patrons can rent for. From camping equipment to whitewater gear, we've got it all.


Deposits are required for all rental equipment! Equipment is considered late if not returned by 5:00 pm on the day it is due. Renters will pay the daily rental rate for each item that is late, up until the total cost is occurred for that item. 

  • Day Rate: allows for patrons to rent for a 24-hour period (Thursday-Friday).  
  • Weekend Rate: allows for patrons to rent for 3 days (Friday-Monday).  
  • Week Rate: allows patrons to rent for a 7 day period (Friday-Friday). 

Gear Rental Items and Rates

Climbing Wall

The BCC Climbing Wall has open climb hours from 4pm-8pm Monday to Thursday and 4pm to 7pm on Friday. In the Summer months we are open Mondays and Thursdays from 4-7pm.  We also host groups and special events such as our monthly Kids Climb Night. Routes for all levels have been designed from beginner to expert and include a rope climbing section and a bouldering arch ideal for working on technique.


Climbing Wall Waiver and Policy Statement 


Kids Climbing Dates - No Kids Climb in Summer, dates will return in the Fall semester.

Kids Climbing Night is typically the last Friday of the month from 5:00pm-7:00pm.  Kids can climb under the supervision of a parent or guardian.  The cost is $5.00/child.


Trail System

Another campus feature we’re proud to share with the WCU community is our WCU Trail System. At nearly 7 miles long, this trail was designed for mountain biking and foot traffic. Enjoy!


WCU Trail System Map



Base Camp Programs

Base Camp has trips and training's going out most weekends and in all elements.  BCC is not a club and you do not need a membership to join.  Stop by our Adventure Shop located in the Campus Recreation Center and let our staff help you register for your next trip.  We specialize in small group instruction, minimal impact techniques, traveling light and most importantly building community!  Below is a list of some of our staple trip offerings.

  • Full Day and Half Day Trips
  • Outdoor Essential Clinics
  • Extended Break Trips (Fall, Spring, Winter, Summer)
  • Domestic and International Expeditions  


Required Trip Forms


Base Camp Cullowhee is permitted to operate on National Forest Service Land. This permit states: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in it's programs on the basis of race, color national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Where is Base Camp Located?

       A: We recently changed locations and our new home is in the Campus Recreation Center.

Q: What are the Adventure Shop Hours?

A: Fall and Spring Hours: Monday  11:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., Tuesday – Thursday 12:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M, Friday 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.. Summer Hours: Monday 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M., Friday 9:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M and 3:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M.  

Q: How do I sign up for Base Camp?

A: Base Camp is not an organization you sign-up for. A lot of our programs, such as the climbing wall and roll clinics, are free to students. We do offer numerous trips that you can sign-up for and each trip is a certain, reduced, cost for students. We also provide outdoor gear rentals for students, faculty and staff, for a fee.

Q: How do I sign up for trips?

A: To sign-up for a Base Camp trip you can either come to our Adventure Shop located in the CRC or, you can search Base Camp on WCU’s website and there is a link to sign-up for all of our trips.

Q: How much does it cost to rent gear?

A: Each item that we rent comes at a different cost depending on the item and how long you want to rent it. We have items anywhere from $2.00 to $45.00. For more information click on our rental rates.

Q: Can I rent a Bike?

A: Currently we are unable to rent bikes. We moved into a new facility and do not have easy access to our bikes. We are in the process of getting a new bike mechanic and are hoping to start Mountain Bike rentals again in the Fall of 2016.

Q: What are the Climbing Wall Hours?

A: Fall and Spring Hours: Monday-Thursday 4:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M., Friday 4:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. Summer Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 4:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.

Q: Who can sign-up for a Base Camp Trip?

A: Any student, staff, faculty or guest of a student, staff or faculty are allowed to go on trips. If a guest is wanting to sign-up for a trip, their student, staff or faculty sponsor must also go on the trip. Non-student rates are slightly more in price.


Q: What level of difficulty are Base Camp Trips?

A: The majority of our trips cater to beginners. However, we do have some trips that require some skill on the part of the participant.



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