California Challenge – 15

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California Challenge – 15



Current Grades

9th, 10th, 11th


15 Days

view dates and prices
Meeting Place

Sacramento, CA (SMF)

Explore the grandeur of northern California for two weeks! Hike through the Shasta-Trinity Alps, one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in North America, and then mountain bike and rock climb in the shadows of Mt. Shasta before preparing for a summit attempt of this famous California 14er. Your trip isn’t complete without two days of whitewater rafting down the Trinity and American rivers!

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California Challenge Itinerary

Backpack in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest

The Trinity Alps range was named after its more famous European counterpart due to its spectacular granite peaks and domes. Spend four days hiking through valleys carved by glaciers long ago. In the afternoon, cool off with a refreshing swim in one of the region’s hundreds of alpine lakes! At night, settle in with your new best friends, blanketed by the brightest stars you’ve ever seen.

Mountain bike at Lake Siskiyou

No matter your skill level, all students love to ride around Lake Siskiyou. Nestled at the foot of 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta, you can choose to ride the fun downhills or take a mellower approach on more beginner-friendly tracks as you alternately wind through thickly forested areas and wide-open trails.

Rock climb at Cantara Rocks

This beautiful riverside crag has routes for all abilities. Progress in difficulty as you feel ready, and when it’s time to cool off, jump into one of several swimming holes in the Sacramento River just a few yards away!

Summit attempt of Mt. Shasta

We spend three memorable days on this huge, 14,162-foot mountain that commands the landscape of northern California. First, learn how to use ice axes and crampons in “snow school.” Then for our summit attempt, we wake up when it’s still dark to start our hike—our reward is the most vibrant sunrise you’ve ever seen.

Note: Depending on snowpack, we may take alternate routes or peaks (like Mt. Shastina, 12,329 feet) to ensure safe passage.

Whitewater raft the American and Trinity rivers

After your four-day backpack, head to the Trinity River, fed by the peaks you just hiked around! Host splash wars in the calmer sections while you laugh in delight on bigger rapids. At the end of the trip, tackle more exciting rapids and “ride the bull” on the famous American River.

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
  • Departure Day
  • Return Day
  • Price
Departure Day Return Day Price
Included in tuition:
  • All meals
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, and all group gear
  • Guided activities
Not included in tuition:
  • Airfare to and from Sacramento, CA (SMF)
  • Trip insurance (more info here)
  • Personal clothing and items (packing lists available for enrolled families)

Most of our nights are spent at “frontcountry” campsites, where we’ll generally have a more developed campsite with running water, toilets, and sometimes cell phone service. This may be a public or private campground. We often stay at the same frontcountry site a few days in a row.

The other handful of nights will be spent “backcountry” camping, referring to wilderness locations where we are most likely out of cell phone service and away from our vehicles, electricity, and other amenities. Many multi-day activities like backpacking, sea kayaking, and canoeing take place in the backcountry.

Challenge/fitness level

No experience necessary; all skill levels welcome!

Fitness and physical challenge are subjective, so Adventure Treks does not “rate” its trips based on challenge. However, because we’ll be highly engaged in backcountry activities throughout trip, our students have the responsibility to be physically fit. We know physical fitness looks different for everyone, but it’s important to come prepared so that you and your fellow students can succeed. One student not coming prepared with physical fitness will negatively impact the entire group. In the months leading up to their trip, students should develop a routine that emphasizes stamina and sustaining a moderate level of exertion for many hours, several days in a row. Running, swimming, bicycling, aerobics classes, and team sports are all beneficial and will help improve cardiovascular fitness in preparation for a student’s trip.



Mountain Biking


Rock Climbing

Whitewater Rafting


Raymond Falci, parent from Mamaroneck, NY

Each of the trips our son has taken have provided him with fun, adventure, independence, and personal growth. In addition to making some great friends, the instructors have been amazing leaders who were all highly skilled and qualified in hiking and outdoor adventures. What’s been valuable is just being “off the grid” and remote for three weeks! Our son loves the peacefulness of his surroundings on his AT trips, and even took opportunities to meditate when he wanted to.

Laura Miller, parent from Cabin John, MD

Daniel’s experiences at AT have been so positive in so many ways—socially, emotionally, even physically. He has made stronger and deeper friendship bonds at AT than anywhere else. He has been challenged physically and has been influenced in the MOST positive of ways—by true leaders and thinkers, not by something seen on social media. He’s made close, deep bonds with boys and girls, and gained independence from parents and family and confidence from doing hard, occasionally uncomfortable activities with a supportive group.. You’re doing everything right. You really are. Just don’t stop. 🙂 Daniel has loved AT so, so much. We are eternally grateful to AT for the many gifts it has given Daniel. Thank you for all you do to give these kids valuable, life-changing experiences.

Maria Costa, parent from Homestead, FL

I think Adventure Treks is an amazing experience; always when our son comes home, you can see how much he enjoyed it. He tells a lot of good stories and anecdotes and has good memories. I think the most valuable thing is the experience of being able to share with different types of people, be more independent, learn how to survive in and value nature, see things and be without parents, and appreciate what they have at home. Thomas loves Adventure Treks.

Dana Germain Levy, parent from Bellaire, TX

Our first experience with Adventure Treks far exceeded both my daughter’s and my expectations. From the moment she met the other kids and the instructors, she was challenged and had a blast… so many activities, experiences, and really great team-building activities. She said the instructors did an amazing job of making sure the group was well-integrated and cohesive. There were no cliques, so everyone enjoyed all activities together. The silly night parties and activities sounded like there was a lot of laughter.

Melanie Kathan, Ventura, CA

My son returned home with many stories about how great his experience with Adventure Treks was. He had a playlist of “new” music and a phone full of new friends that he talks to daily. As a parent, I believe it was the best investment I have ever made in my son’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Tara McGroddy, parent from Westfield, NJ

In addition to fabulous memories and a great new set of friends, Grace gained a stronger sense of self and understanding of how she can contribute to a group. She could see the positive impact of great leadership and culture and how that was created through activities such as plus/delta and evening meetings. She found a better version of herself on her trip. The group’s interactions were extremely impactful for Grace. She often reflects how the instructors worked to create such a positive environment that celebrated everyone.

Michelle Maynard, parent from Chapel Hill, NC

The program exceeded our expectations across the board. Maya’s group experienced smoke due to fires on Mt. Shasta, and the instructors needed to pivot the itinerary. The communication to parents was timely and reassuring. Maya definitely built confidence in herself with the challenges (physical and mental) that she had to overcome, while building close relationships with the community. She also fell in love with the outdoors, which was a very important outcome that we were hoping Maya would take away. Maya loved the community and appreciated that they could talk about anything.

Diana Doherty, parent from Doylestown, PA

Luke felt embraced and supported by everyone on the trip, and really felt that the instructors took the time to truly get to know him as a person. He returned home more centered, more confident, and with a healthier outlook for the year ahead! Definitely the instructors. They were more than just responsible adults there to keep Luke safe—they were also mentors and guides, and they left a huge impression on him during a pivotal time in his development as a young man.