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Smoky Mountains Adventure

smoky mountains

What Rockwood Families are Saying

"Both of my kids have LOVED the Smoky Mountains Adventure trip. It takes them days to relay all the stories they have to share! From the bus ride to the games to the hikes to the wildlife education, they soak up every minute of it. I appreciate the independence it allows for the kids. The connection to and appreciation for the natural environment this trip fosters is priceless!"

Carey T., Rockwood Parent

The information on this page is currently for the 2024 Smoky Mountains Adventure Trips.  Information regarding the 2025 Smoky Mountains Adventure Trips will be posted soon!

Current fifth-grade Rockwood students will venture into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an adventure-packed, science-based four-day trip. Explore the wilderness, search for wildlife, learn about the environment, and develop leadership skills!

During our adventure, students will hike to a mountain waterfall while developing science skills along the way, collect and release specimens in different habitats to compare their characteristics, and embark on an all-day hike exploring a unique mountain ecosystem. Adventures and discovery continue in the evening during a night hike to learn about nocturnal adaptations, and friendships are formed during good old-fashioned campfire programs!

Each trip is planned and led by our Parkway-Rockwood Community Ed staff and chaperoned by Rockwood School District teachers, administrators, and staff. Many of our chaperones have participated in the Smoky Mountains Adventure in the past and enjoy leading students on this unique experience each school year!

2024 Trip Dates by School

  1. March 8-11, 2024 (bus departs March 8 at 6 a.m.): Babler, Chesterfield, Pond
  2. April 5-8, 2024 (bus departs April 5 at 6 a.m.): Ellisville, Kehrs Mill, Westridge
  3. April 19-22, 2024 (bus departs April 19 at 6 a.m.): Blevins, Eureka, Geggie
  4. April 26-April 29, 2024 (bus departs April 26 at 6 a.m): Ridge Meadows, Wild Horse, Woerther
  5. May 3-6, 2024 (bus departs May 3 at 6 a.m.): Bowles, Kellison, Stanton, Uthoff Valley
  6. May 17-20, 2024 (bus departs May 17 at 6 a.m.): Ballwin, Fairway, Green Pines


The trip cost is $675. A $225 deposit is due upon acceptance on the trip. If you choose the installment option, your account will automatically be set up to make three installment payments of $150 each due on December 1, January 2 and February 1. Limited fee assistance is available to those who qualify on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted. Contact, or call or text 636-891-6644 for more fee assistance information.

Note: The fee for the trip is set to meet the district requirement that all trips are self-funded and fees cover the cost for all expenses.


The Smoky Mountains Adventure is open to all fifth-grade students currently enrolled at a Rockwood School District Elementary school. Registrations must be submitted by the parent or legal guardian for the child.

Registration will take place through a random draw lottery. The lottery sign-up period will run July 17-October 31. Once the lottery runs and trip rosters are created a virtual pre-trip parent-child Zoom meeting invitation link will be sent to participating families emails in spring 2024.

  • You may only register for your child's assigned school trip. You may not register for another school's trip.
  • You only need to register one time for each child.
  • All those registering for the lottery will have an equal chance to be drawn for the trip, regardless of when they register between July 17-October 31.
  • There is no guarantee all students will be placed on a trip.

On November 1, the system will randomly draw from those who have registered for the lottery and will assign students to trips:

  • If you are chosen in the lottery, you will receive an email confirming your registration. The payment option you choose when registering for the lottery (deposit only or full payment) will be charged to the payment method you have on file.
  • If you are not chosen in the lottery, you will receive an email letting you know you were not selected, but will be automatically be moved to the wait list and will be contacted if/when a space becomes available.

In order to register your child for the lottery, you will need to create an account in the online registration system (if you do not already have one). In addition, your child must be added to your account prior to registering him/her for the trip lottery.

After the lottery is run on November 1, registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If a trip is full, you have the option to register for the wait list and you will be contacted if/when a space becomes available.

Travel and Lodging Accommodations

We will travel by charter coach to the Tremont Institute inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our accommodations at Tremont Institute include dormitory style housing, a full service cafeteria, outdoor classroom facilities and indoor lab space. Students will be housed and supervised in single gender dorms which are equipped with heat, restrooms and showers. Meals are student friendly with healthy options and are served family style in the cafeteria. Many allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Please note any allergy or dietary restrictions at the time of registration or call 636-458-3048 for more information.

Learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT)

Packing List

View a list of recommended items your child should pack to ensure their success on the trip.

Smoky Mountains Adventure: Packing List (PDF)

Class Instruction

Tremont instructors partner with Rockwood teachers to lead students through classes that explore the unique environment of the Smokies, develop leadership skills, and build teamwork amongst students. The staff at Tremont have a passion for sharing their knowledge with our students!

Departure Information

Students should arrive at the departure location for check-in at 5:15 a.m. on departure day (see trip dates above). Upon arrival, leave your luggage in the car and proceed inside to complete the check-in process. Trip chaperones will supervise the loading of luggage and students (parents are not allowed on the bus). Buses are scheduled to depart at 6 a.m.

Return Information

Buses are scheduled to return to the departure location at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon. This is an approximate arrival time; actual arrival time will depend upon several factors, including traffic. On the return day, up-to-date return time will be shared in the ParentSquare group that has been created for the trip.  All families will be auto-enrolled in the ParentSquare group and you will receive notifications based on the preference you have set up in ParentSquare (i.e. texts, email, app, etc.)  Students will remain on the bus until a parent (or designated person) checks out their student with a trip chaperone.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Reasonable accommodations will be made to afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate. If a parent believes that his/her child will need accommodations, a form will need to be completed to initiate planning. To obtain a copy of the form, please contact Chloe Kersten, our Inclusion Specialist, at 636-891-6639.

Frequently Asked Questions