California Explorer

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California Explorer

Destination

California

Current Grades

7th, 8th, 9th

length

18 Days

view dates and prices
Meeting Place

​Arrive and depart
Sacramento, CA (SMF)

Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of northern California with our 18-day adventure! Begin your journey by hiking through the tallest Redwoods in the state, right on the CA coast. Experience the thrill of splashing down the Rogue and American rivers in whitewater rafts and inflatable kayaks. Challenge yourself with mountain biking and rock climbing in the scenic shadows of Mt. Shasta. Explore the fascinating lava tubes and thermal fields of Lassen Peak, and conquer its 10,457-foot summit on a breathtaking sunrise hike.

The California adventure camp is perfect for teens of all levels of experience. With expert guidance, we ensure a supportive and fun environment where everyone will thrive.

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California Explorer Itinerary

Hike in Point Reyes State Park

Explore different trails in Point Reyes, a scenic inlet known for its elephant seals and sea lions. We’ll hike through Douglas fir (which reach up to 250 feet in height) and oak forests, past fields of wildflowers, and next to the ocean. Above, watch for golden and bald eagles and many species of hawks, and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, humpback whales, and porpoises in the water!

Hike in Redwoods National and State Parks

Gaze in awe at the towering giants of California’s old-growth coastal Redwoods, some soaring over 300 feet high! Over several exciting days, you’ll hike through these majestic, world-famous forests, shaded by the tallest trees on earth. Walk through vibrant fields of wildflowers, including the iconic lupine and rhododendrom blooms. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks, bald eagles, osprey, and peregrine falcons gliding through the sky overhead. You may see Roosevelt elk and deer gracefully moving through the forest or grazing in the scenic coastal grasslands. And if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a playful fox or a sleek river otter! On the coast itself, peer into the tidepools for bright pink, purple, and green sea stars, anenome, sea urchins, crabs, and more! In the distance, you may see harbor seals, sea lions, and gray whales.

This is more than just a hike—it’s an unforgettable adventure in nature’s most awe-inspiring playground.

Whitewater raft the Rogue River

Spend three blissfully fun days bonding with your friends while paddling down the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in southern Oregon. Feel the rush as you navigate through thrilling rapids surrounded by pristine wilderness and rugged canyons. During the day, the adventure never stops with splash wars and laughter echoing across the water. In the evenings, relax on the riverbanks and share stories under a starry sky.

Summit Lassen Peak

Embark on an unforgettable two-day adventure around the mighty Lassen Peak in the breathtaking Cascade Range. Discover the hidden wonders of underground lava tubes, bubbling mud pots, and other fascinating hydrothermal features that make this lava dome a natural wonder. As the sun sets, get ready for an early night because our hike to the 10,457-foot peak awaits at dawn. Imagine standing at the top, watching the first light of day break over the horizon—an experience you’ll never forget.

Rock climb and mountain bike in Mt. Shasta

Gear up for a rock climbing adventure at the riverside crags near the behemoth Mt. Shasta! With routes for all abilities, you’ll challenge yourself and progress at your own pace. Reach new heights as you climb against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty. When it’s time to cool off, take a refreshing plunge into one of the sparkling swimming holes in the Sacramento River. Today combines the excitement of climbing with the fun of swimming holes in the forest.

The next day, you’ll love riding the trails around Lake Siskiyou, nestled at the foot of Mt. Shasta. Choose your adventure: Zoom down thrilling flowy trails or take a mellower approach on beginner-friendly tracks. Wind your way through thick forests and enjoy wide-open trails that offer breathtaking views and a super-fun biking experience.

Whitewater raft the American River

Get ready for an epic adventure on the Wild and Scenic American River! Fueled by the fresh snow melt from the Sierra Nevada and surrounded by lush, vibrant scenery, this is the ultimate whitewater rafting experience. Ride the continuous rapids and feel the rush as you navigate the twists and turns of this exhilarating river.

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
  • Departure Day
    06/24/25
  • Return Day
    07/11/25
  • Price
    $5,495
Departure Day Return Day Price
06/24/25
07/11/25
$5,495
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)
Camping

About three-quarters 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 quarter 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. Multi-day activities like backpacking 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 engaged in different outdoor activities throughout each 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.

Activities

​Backpacking

Mountain summit

Mountain biking

Rock climbing

Whitewater rafting

Reviews

Katie Davidoff, parent from Steamboat Springs, CO

It is hard to put into words the impact AT has had on our kids. What was intended as a meaningful, growth-oriented summer experience has become a significant part of our kids’ identity. The activities are amazing, of course, but the way AT builds community intentionally and purposefully is truly the crown jewel of their program. My kids have made lifelong friendships and had the best time of their lives while becoming confident, capable teens. What a gift! This summer, the most valuable aspect for my son was experiencing life outside of his comfortable “bubble” at home. Making new friends outside of school or his organized sports teams and eating, sleeping, and performing daily routines outside of his comfort zone were invaluable lessons for him. We knew he would love the adventures and activities, but he needed to feel “over his skis” a little bit and learn to adapt to new social and living situations without his parents’ or sister’s support. He says he wishes he had more friends from home who are like his AT friends! He felt very comfortable and accepted in the group and is really loving the continued social interaction now that they are all home.

Catriona Moore, parent from Durham, NC

Allison gave her first Adventure Treks trip 9 out of 10 stars, which is hyperbolic for a 15-year-old! She came home filthy and exhausted, having made new friends and experienced new challenges such as mountain biking, that she loved. Here “AT report” indicated a lot of laughing and humor, bonding and supporting each other, and of course amazing interactions with the challenges and beauty of the natural world.

TJ Intner, parent from Baltimore, MD

Jonah had fantastic adventures throughout his trip. Whitewater rafting, climbing mountains, backpacking, biking, kayaking, and more. We wish there was an adult version—we were jealous and so pleased. Each aspect of the trip was so well thought-out, from food to weather to gear. Jonah felt very appreciated and included, and the small kindnesses shown by the instructors and other students made the community experience first-rate.

Hilary Munson, parent from Tampa, FL

My child came back from Adventure Treks excited to share her experiences with us. She had an amazing time, connected with others (including her wonderful instructors), and loved the opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse herself in nature and the outdoors. She is excited to attend again next year. She loved it all! – Jackie Ewing, parent from Broomfield, CO

Adventure Treks was a true life-changer for Sam this year. After a year of challenges, this was three weeks of a summer reset. Separation from her phone, forming amazing friendships with kids from all over, creating a new routine of evening meditation, and having support for the physical challenges the group faced was a game-changer for her. She came back happy, with a very positive attitude for the upcoming school year. The experience was awesome for Samantha, and we fully trust Adventure Treks and their staff.

Cheri Weber, parent from Wilmette, IL

From the stunning beauty, activities, and sleeping on the shore and under the stars, to the food and incredible friends and instructors, there wasn’t a minute my daughter didn’t love. It was the perfect medicine for a high schooler during these pandemic times with too much social media. The friend connection is beyond expectations, and they have communicated (sometimes long times on group FaceTimes at night) to recreate their hangout time. Would highly recommend. What a fabulous organization providing a life-altering experience to kids while the parents feel comfortable.

2025 enrollment is now open for returning families! Click here to re-enroll for next summer.