From the snow-capped volcanoes of Oregon’s Cascades to the arid beauty of the state’s desert canyons, this 16-day adventure offers a stunning variety of environments and experiences. Swim in beautiful alpine lakes, raft thrilling whitewater, and climb the most famous rocks in the Pacific Northwest. Wilderness Adventures is a permittee of Deschutes National Forest and the Oregon Marine Board.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
Your trip will begin at the Portland airport. After everyone has gotten off of the plane, you’ll all assemble in the airport and meet each other for the first time. Once you’re all together, you’ll head to your nearby campsite at the base of spectacular Mt. Hood for your first night of camping as a group. Settling in, it will be a pretty exciting evening as you’ll play games, get your first lesson in setting up camp, and enjoy your first frontcountry meal. Early the next morning in Bend, OR, you’ll pick up some food and other necessary supplies for your first leg of wilderness travel and travel to the put in for your first big adventure: whitewater rafting overnight on the Deschutes River.
The Deschutes River is one of the most iconic rivers in North America. For the next three days and two nights, you and your group will team up with professional river guides and paddle miles along this distinct stretch of river. Perfect weather is almost the norm; you’ll take on exhilarating rapids with names like “Rattlesnake” and “Buckskin Mary.” Besides learning how to negotiate your way through the whitewater, reading rapids, how to paddle an oar rig, and more, you’ll spend two memorable nights camping alongside the river. You’ll learn the basics of backcountry river travel, including Leave No Trace principles and proper river etiquette. Each night, you’ll sleep under the stars, reliving the day’s excitement.
Following your river trip, you’ll shower, do laundry, go food shopping, and then you’ll be on the road again. Your next locale will be Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock’s high desert cliffs and crags are known as some of the best climbing in the USA. Your group will spend time with expert local instructors who will teach you the ins and outs of rock climbing in this remarkable area. Eventually, once your climbing skills are superbly accomplished, you’ll take on one of the best-known routes in the area, the Tyrolean traverse of the “Monkey’s Face!” The course will be a challenge, but your rewards—unparalleled views and a monumental sense of accomplishment—will truly be as great as the obstacle you will have overcome to get there.
Your next activity will be a six-day, five-night backpacking trip through the Three Sisters Range. As you hike, you’ll learn about general wilderness travel practices, backcountry cooking, and route finding with the use of a map and compass. These new skills will surely make for great campfire conversation as you settle down each night at some of the most picturesque sites imaginable. You will be hiking along the same route of esteemed thru-hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail! Finally, weather and conditions permitting, you will make a summit attempt on the South Sister before you depart from the area. You’ll discover the truly matchless view from the summit; you’ll be able to see a majority of the dramatic Cascade Range, including summits of Mt. Hood and even Mt. Rainier.
Once you’re off the water, you’ll do your last round of showers and laundry as a group. You’ll organize your gear and prepare to head back to the Portland area for your departure, as well as your group’s end-of-summer banquet. There, you’ll gather around the dinner table to reminisce and talk about the good times had and never to be forgotten. Regretfully, the following morning you’ll part ways, but your heads and hearts will be full of memories of life-long friends.
I loved my trip because the group was great and I loved the counselors. Also I overcame my fear of heights while rock climbing.
-Charlie, 2019 Oregon Cascades Explorer Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and form the trip start and end