The Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina offer beautiful scenery, long trails and a chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat. On June 1, it will also give you a chance to get fit and raise money for Make-A-Wish at the same time.

Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina is hosting its first ever Trailblaze Challenge from May 31-June 2. The Trailblaze Challenge will include hiking a 24.1 mile section of the Bartram Trail. Commencing at Appletree Campground in the upper Nantahala Gorge to Nantahala Lake, the trek ascends and briefly joins the Appalachian Trail from Winespring Bald to Wayah Bald. The top of Wayah Bald, at 5,385 feet, is the highest point on the trail – which then descends the Nantahala Mountains finishing the adventure outside Franklin, NC. There will also be a 15.6-mile option that will start at Saw Mill Gap and end outside Franklin.

How To Get Signed Up

Taking part in an information meeting is the first place to start, and you can sign up here. The cost of participating is $100, which counts towards the amount you’re trying to raise. Each Trailblazer is asked to raise a minimum amount of funds to cover their expenses and to help Make-A-Wish continue its mission to provide hope, strength and joy to children in our community.

There are hotel accommodations during the weekend of the hike at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Franklin, NC, plus some other perks as well. There is a Friday night Pasta Party to carb load before the big day, transportation to and from the trail on Hike Day, Saturday, June 1, trail support at multiple locations – including hydration, snacks, first aid, and encouragement. On Saturday evening there will be a post-hike celebration to share stories from the trail, and a Sunday morning recognition breakfast before everyone heads home.  

Included in your Challenge:

  • Trailblaze Challenge dri-fit shirt for hike weekend
  • Specialized training program including a workout calendar and bi-weekly group hikes
  • Training Clinics to help you learn about: Hiking boots, socks and other trail essentials, hydration and nutrition, and cross training support and coaching from experienced Hike Leaders and Make-A-Wish staff

How Will I Reach My Goals?

Just like you will get assistance in making sure you are prepared to hike, Make-A-Wish will support hike participants each step of the way by providing each participant with a personalized fundraising web page, as well as sponsorship and fundraising materials, tips and advice.

Every dollar raised from the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge will grant the wishes of children in Central and Western North Carolina! Every dollar raised stays in the community. A wish come true helps children feel stronger, more energetic, more willing and able to battle their critical illnesses. For their doctors, nurses and other health professionals, the wish experience works in concert with their medicine to make their patients feel better, emotionally and even physically.

There Are Other Ways To Support Make-A-Wish

If you can’t participate, you can always sponsor a hiker. Another way to help Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina is to make a car donation to Wheels For Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina.

Wheels For Wishes accepts vehicles in any condition so Make-A-Wish can continue to grant wishes for local kids in your community. Donate a car, truck, SUV, RV, motorcycle, or boat, and help turn your unwanted vehicle into a wish come true.

To donate a vehicle to Wheels For Wishes, benefiting Make-A-Wish, please call 1-877-431-9474 or fill out our easy vehicle donation form. You won’t regret it!