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June 28 - July 12, 2019
July 15 - July 29, 2019
Inspiring a love for new environments and the outdoors, our middle school adventure and community service trip in California combines introductory travel and environmental service work for students who have completed grades 6 through 8.
We begin our adventure by exploring San Francisco. We see all the beauty this city has to offer and take in the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and Fisherman’s Wharf, to name a few highlights.
I learned so much about the world and myself by taking part in this amazing opportunity.” - Participant on California: Pacific Sun
We grab a paddle, hop into a big yellow raft, and have some fun on the American River. Then it’s on to Yosemite National Park where we explore the valley in the shadows of Half Dome and El Capitan. While in the Eastern Sierras we volunteer with Friends of the INYO to preserve mountain trails and tackle meaningful, science-based and collaborative conservation projects.
Lake Tahoe is next, where we soar on an aerial course and paddle board or sea kayak. We then travel to Half Moon Bay, a safe environment for the beginning surfer, where we walk through the basics. After all that, feeling pretty spectacular, we head back to SF to close our adventure.
Keep scrolling to learn more about our middle school adventure and community service trip!
America's favorite city is so beautiful, exciting, diverse, and cosmopolitan that you can always find something new to see and do. The list is endless and includes Lombard Street, the most crooked street in the world.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area begins where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Francisco Bay. All in all, it is the largest urban national park in the world, a whopping 76,500 acres of land and water that includes 28 miles of wild coastline.
In this cathedral of redwoods, the residents are as high as skyscrapers. Mt. Tamalpais State Park surrounds the woods and offers hikes with breathtaking mountain, ocean, and SF photo ops.
Time to grab a paddle, hop into a raft, and enjoy some wet, wild, adventurous fun on the South Fork of the American River. Don’t let names like Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Satan’s Cesspool, and Dead Man’s Drop scare you!
Lake Tahoe is famous for its aquamarine waters as well as its kayaking, paddle boarding, zip-lining, and skiing.
Enclosed by near-vertical mile-high cliffs covering 761,000 acres and laced with waterfalls, granite cliffs, hiking trails, crystal clear streams, and climbing routes, the dramatic geology of Yosemite Valley is among the country’s finest scenery.
Nestled between the forested green Santa Cruz Mountains and some of the most striking coastlines the powerful Pacific Ocean has to offer, this city is a stone’s throw from San Francisco.
A few California sea lions began hanging out on Pier 39′s K dock after the earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989. By January 1990, the boisterous barking pinnipeds came in droves and completely took over, much to the exasperation of Pier 39′s marina tenants.
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has exploded as one of the best human-powered activities and fits any ability. There’s no better way to get on the water and experience the sweeping mountain views and clear blue lake.
#10 High and Low Ropes Course
Navigate rope swings, cross wobby bridges, traverse tightropes, zip to the next platform, and land delicately (and safely) on a cargo net all the while surrounded by nature.
Environmental Community Service, Friends of the INYO
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Explore: San Francisco, Pier 39 Seals, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Forest, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Marin Headlands
Whitewater Raft: American River
Ropes Course: Lake Tahoe
Sea Kayak or Paddle Board: Lake Tahoe
Bike: Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest
Hike: Glacier Point
Surf: Half Moon Bay
6 - 8
While in the Bay area, we sleep in bunkbeds in a hostel. The remainder of the program is spent camping in tents. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability. Bathrooms are flush toilets at the hostel and a mix of flush and latrine while camping.
San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Join in on the fun! Check out #PacsunRLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
Inspiring a love for new environments and the outdoors, our middle school program on the Pacific coast combines introductory adventure travel with comfortable living situations for students who’ve completed grades 6 through 8.
We arrive in San Francisco and explore the Bay area, home to the painted ladies, Haight-Ashbury, cable cars, Pier 39 and Alcatraz. After exploring the city, we head over the most photographed bridge on the planet, Golden Gate, to Muir Woods and some of the tallest living things known to man: the redwoods.
A wooden cathedral soaring into the sky, Muir Woods is unlike any other forest in the world. We hike in Mount Tamalpais State Park and soak in the breathtaking views of the bay, where, on a clear day we can see as far as the Sierra Nevada‘s snow-covered mountains 150 miles away.
Leaving San Francisco for the South Fork of the American River, we grab a paddle, hop into a big yellow raft, and get ready for wet, wild, and adventurous fun. Even if names like Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Satan's Cesspool and Dead Man’s Drop can be scary, the South Fork of the American River offers some of the most exciting Class 3 rapids in California and is a fun way to cool off on a warm summer day.
We travel on to Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest for environmental service work with Friends of the INYO and a bike ride through the valleys and mountain meadows. There, we stand in awe of the thundering Bridalveil Fall and watch pro climbers take on the 3,000-foot vertical rock formation, El Capitan. Deeply inhaling air perfumed with ponderosa and cedar, we hike from Glacier Point for breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley, Sierra Nevada, and Half Dome and then climb to the top of granite-faced Sentinel Dome.
We bike the floor of Yosemite Valley on an easy cruise through the flat meadowland and hike Hetch Hetchy Valley (one of Yosemite’s best secrets) before heading to our next destination
Lake Tahoe is the jewel of the High Sierra. With nearly 200 square miles, its bright blue waters below granite peaks make the perfect setting for zip-lining, sea kayaking, and paddle boarding.
We paddle through granite boulder fields and past secluded beaches, explore mountain trails, and hike past waterfalls and streams to one of many alpine lakes. Looking for more of a challenge? Continue to the top for a 360 view that can’t be beat.
For our final days, we travel to Half Moon Bay to spend time on the beach. With the help of experienced surfing instructors, we learn the basics to get up on a board; we learn ocean awareness, wave breaks, conditions, wave etiquette, paddling, and push up and pop up techniques, as well as riding waves and balancing.
We close on the beach of Half Moon Bay with a hearty BBQ and s’mores, a magnificent backdrop for the perfect summer along the Northern California coast.
All arrive in San Francisco, CA.
Explore the best of San Francisco. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, ride the cable car, and see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Head across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods, home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world. Hike in Mount Tamalpais State Park and gaze down at the city, east toward the Sierra Nevada and west over the Pacific.
Raft on the Class III American River, a California classic.
Explore the famous “valley” on bikes, spotting climbers high on El Capitan and Half Dome. Partner with Friends of the INYO to restore Eastern Sierra trails and take part in meaningful, science-based and collaborative conservation projects.
Kayak or paddleboard the crystalline waters of the nation’s largest alpine lake, hike in the Sierras, and test your limits on a high and low ropes course.
We catch the basics from some of the best instructors in the country, then test our skills on California waves. We celebrate our adventure with a memorable final banquet.
Head back to San Francisco and say goodbyes before catching flights home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
If you’d like to receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please give our office a call anytime between 9am and 5pm CST at 773-342-5200, and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.