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(SUMMER 2019)

This summer offer your children ages 12 to 15 the opportunity to learn new skills, make meaningful friendships, and explore one of the most culturally significant landscapes in the Western United States. Over eight days participants will paddle the San Juan River through deep limestone canyons, camp alongside rapids, explore ancient ruins, and enjoy magnificent sunsets over this colorful red rock country.

With the guidance of our expert staff, we will engage participants in team building activities, perfect paddle strokes, and learn how to travel in the backcountry while both staying comfortable and leaving no trace. Every participant will take part in decision making, camp life, and the activities necessary to provide for their teammates. By the end of this program, we hope to inspire everyone to go home more confident in their day to day lives with a new appreciation of this place and the friendships made along the way.


  • Learn through exploration, and outdoor experiential activities.

  • Visit unique geologic formations, high alpine vistas, and rock art panels left hundreds of years ago by the Ancestral Puebloan people.

  • Retire each night to your cozy tent or bed down under a brilliant sky full of stars.

  • Paddle up to 10 miles.

  • Hike 4-6 miles per day with backpacks.

  • Learn to paddle your own beginner friendly inflatable kayak on a tranquil desert river!



7 Nights/8 Days: Starting in Monticello, Utah

Ages: 12 - 15

Activity Level: Requires fitness adequate for backpacking up to 6 miles per day, over moderate to strenuous terrain, willingness to camp, readiness to enjoy a group experience.

INCLUDED: Includes meals from dinner on night 1 through lunch on pick up day, guide staff, group equipment (first aid, iodine, etc), permit fees.


NOT INCLUDED: Personal items and transportation to and from our campus are not included.

We do have a limited number of backpacks, sleeping bags and pads available. Be sure to contact us in advance to ensure supply.


(Itinerary subject to change based on weather, wind conditions, etc.)

Day 1: Arrive at our Discovery Center Campus in Monticello, Utah by 4 pm. Once there we will provide an orientation, sort out gear and eat dinner before enjoying a campfire and sleep at our on-site campsite.


Day 2: We will venture out to the trail and will cover basics of Leave No Trace, backcountry travel and expectations for the trip. After this orientation, we’ll begin our backpacking trip and spend the night enjoying the star-filled skies.


Day 3: After breakfast, we will break camp and make our way further into the mountains. We will stop periodically for fun, interactive lessons about the ecosystem and continue to get to know one another. Once in camp, we will make time to journal, reflect, and discuss the local ecosystem and unique history of this region.


Day 4: The last day hiking will be spent solidifying friendships and taking in the beauty of the canyons. Following the return to the trailhead, we will travel back to our Discovery Center campsite for dinner and time in the observatory.


Day 5-7: After a hearty breakfast we’ll head down to the San Juan River in Bluff, Utah, where we will load our boats, learn basics of river paddling, and set off downstream. The San Juan is a great river to learn boating skills as there are only a couple rapids and participants have several miles of learning to paddle before navigating any of the gentle riffles. After two nights and two more days of enjoying the river we will conclude the river segment at Mexican Hat and head back to the Discovery Center.


Day 8: Following breakfast and showers, we will take some time to debrief the trip and then visit our Hands-On museum until parents arrive to pick up participants by 2:00 pm.



Durango - La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, CO is the nearest airport with a variety of flight options.

Boutique Air offers flights to Cortez, CO


By car

We are approximately 4 1/2 hours from Salt Lake City and 6 1/2 hours from Denver via I-70 and US191.



Inn at the Canyons in Monticello. Visit their website or call (435) 587-2458 for reservations.

If you prefer to camp there are two USFS campsites just outside Monticello in the Abajo Mountains, Dalton Springs and Buckboard.


Travel Insurance

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for the duration of your trip. A travel protection plan can help cover your non-refundable travel payments should you cancel a trip because of a covered illness or injury.

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