Scroll down and left/right view information on each exhibit area and the visual representation of the Whitewater mission. Please view in portrait mode on a mobile device for the best experience.


LIGHTS consists of more than 50 new illuminated elements featuring original illustrations representing the Whitewater mission. Continue behind the cabinto begin your experience.

The Mission

Since 2001, when Whitewater was created as a non-profit organization, the mission has been to build stronger communities through the promotion of active lifestyles and environmental stewardship.


The Whitewater mission is rooted in the belief that all human beings share a genetic code that compels us to play outside. This common thread binds and connects us to the outdoors.


Whitewater facilitates access to the outdoors through land conservation, lowering barriers, and inspiring people to engage.


Our goal of promoting engagement is achieved through the creation and delivery of experiences and inspirational elements to help people come together through the outdoors.


Recreational activities are at the heart of the outdoor lifestyle. Active experiences push participants out of their comfort zone and challenge the limits that people place on themselves. Some of our activities include:

·       Paddlesports

·       Climbing

·       Cycling

·       Running & Hiking

·       Yoga

·       Ice Skating

·       Fishing

Pushing Boundaries

Active participation is at the heart of every experience on offer through Whitewater. Our goal is to push all of us to challenge ourselves mentally and physically.


Events are one of the most important ways to build community. We produce more than 400 events per year across five locations throughout the United States.

Programming includes:

  • Festivals

  • Races & Competitions

  • Films screenings

  • Concerts

  • Clinics and instruction

  • Meet-ups

  • Culinary experiences

  • Equipment demos


Whitewater hosts eight annual festivals, each with a distinct theme and portfolio of unique programming. Themes include holiday celebrations, world-class races, music festivals, and competitions at all skill levels.


Competition is a natural component of playing outside. Whitewater hosts more than 40 races throughout the year that cater to a broad spectrum of participants including new competitors, weekend warriors, experienced athletes, and Olympic athletes. Accessible races such as A Shot in the Dark and Frigid Trail Run & Plunge are popular starting points for people beginning their active journey.


Whitewater features a wide array of performance-oriented endurance events as well, including ultra-marathons, triathlons, cross country mountain bike races, and deep-water solo climbing competitions. These races are attractive to seasoned competitors and provide a natural progression point for burgeoning runners, climbers, swimmers, cyclists, and triathletes.

Learn more and view the Whitewater Race Series calendar here.

Outdoor School

The Outdoor School features several engagement opportunities and skill development programs across a range of sports and disciplines. Two of the most popular youth-oriented programs are Summer Camp and Field Trips. Both focus on a combination of activities and environmental education to provide a gateway for children to experience the outdoors.


Many outdoor pursuits evolve into lifelong passions. Our goal is to provide instruction programs so that guests have an opportunity to build and refine their skills. Whitewater operates several classes, clinics, and private instruction for whitewater paddling, fishing, climbing, and yoga at our locations throughout the southeast.

Swiftwater Rescue

The Whitewater Center has provided swiftwater rescue training to first responders from around the world. The Whitewater Center features the world’s largest manmade whitewater river, offering a controlled environment to train professionals in the event of natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, as well as paddleboat skills for a variety of applications in emergency situations.

Whitewater Pisgah

Whitewater Pisgah debuted in the summer of 2022 and represents some of the most significant and diverse natural resources in the United States, offering exceptional recreational opportunities in the mountains of North Carolina.  Whitewater Pisgah highlights and facilitates engagement with these resources to preserve and promote their remarkable value.

Whitewater Pisgah is roughly defined as the region between Brevard and Boone and from Roan Mountain to DuPont State Forest.  This stretch of the Appalachian range encompasses the 513,000-acre Pisgah National Forest with its numerous mile-high peaks, whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and endless trails.

Natural Assets

Given the renowned natural assets of Pisgah, Whitewater focuses on promoting and protecting some of these most compelling fishing, biking, paddling, and climbing resources the area has to offer. Whitewater Pisgah offers accommodations and events at Big Creek Lodge on the banks of the North Mills River and the Rocky Fork Creek.  In addition to guide services for fishing, paddling, biking and climbing, Whitewater Pisgah also offers resources including films and mapping services to inspire and plan trips within the area.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking trail in the world and perhaps the most famous. The trail runs from Georgia to Maine and passes through two Whitewater regions: Pisgah and Grayson. Whitewater most recently highlighted the trail in the short film “The Ferryman” in 2021.

Whitewater Grayson

Whitewater Grayson represents a wide array of natural resources offering access to world-class outdoor recreation in southwest Virginia and the New River Basin. This area of the southeastern United States is populated with innumerable access opportunities for hiking, backpacking, fishing, cycling, climbing, running, paddlesports, and more.

Whitewater has conserved and currently manages more than 200 acres in the New River Basin with access to Jefferson National Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, the Appalachian Trail, and the Virginia Creeper Trail, in addition to a variety of other assets.


The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 35-mile rail trail running through the Mount Rogers Recreation Area, Jefferson National Forest, and beyond. Whitewater has conserved and protected the southern terminus of the trail just north of the North Carolina state line. The land will be used to create new hiking, running, and biking adventures, including the Grayson Gravel Traverse and Virginia Highlands Highway cycling routes.

Whitewater Santee

Whitewater Santee is roughly defined as the region comprising the Santee River Basin in South Carolina. This three thousand square mile area covers the area from the confluence of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers flowing southeast to the Wynah Bay and extending below Charleston to include the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.

This area has benefitted for generations by the numerous layers of land protections offered by public and private entities, as well as the remote and difficult access to the area.  The merger of pine and hardwood forests with the swamps and ocean bays at the mouths of these rivers results in a diversity of outdoor recreation and cultural experiences like no other.


Whitewater Santee includes accommodations and events at the 326-acre Middleburg preserve on the East Branch of the Cooper River.  In addition to featuring the oldest house south of Virginia, the Middleburg preserve offers guide services for fishing, paddling, and biking throughout the Santee.

Whitewater Santee also offers resources including films and mapping services to inspire and plan trips to the various natural resources in the area, including the upcoming Hell or High Water bikepacking route in addition to a full slate of events in 2023.


Music has always been at the core of engaging with the outdoors. Live performances at the Whitewater Center’s outdoor amphitheater have been a logical point of congregation and serve as a means to relax with family and friends after playing outside.

Whitewater produces more than 85 concert dates per year, including the River Jam concert series and eight festivals at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte. The program is focused on music discovery and highlights local, regional, and national artists surrounded by the whitewater channels.


The Whitewater Film Series began in 2015 and highlights short films and features that call attention to adventurers, conservationists, and locations from around the world. Taking place every Friday in April and October, the Film Series is meant to be a source of inspiration to help viewers push their own boundaries.

Adventure Dining

Enjoying food and drink is a staple after every activity. Whitewater offers four different Adventure Dining programs that pair an activity with a culinary experience meant to reward participants after moving and exploring on the river or through the trees. Paddle to Table features a flatwater paddle on the Catawba River, followed by al fresco dining. Similarly, our latest event, A Balanced Brunch, pairs an hour-long yoga class with a communal dining experience on the weekends.


Whitewater offers free, year-round daily yoga as a method of engagement, as well as a point of recovery from other activities. Our practices culminate every September at Flow Fest, one of the largest outdoor yoga events in the United States, offering more than 50 classes, clinics, workshops, and more to allow guests to take a deep dive into their mind-body connection.


Thank you for participating in the 2022/23 edition of LIGHTS. Learn more about Whitewater and our locations, programs, and events by visiting