With its snow-capped volcanoes, temperate rainforests, coastal headlands, and high desert rivers, the Pacific Northwest provides nearly unlimited opportunity for 5th and 6th graders. The Pacific Northwest Discovery trip includes hiking, surfing, backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and a bit of mountaineering, all surrounded by this incredible natural setting. With a little taste of just about everything, this trip will keep you moving and help that aspiring outdoor enthusiast blossom into a capable adventurer. Wilderness Adventures is a permittee of Crater Lake National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and the Oregon Marine Board.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
Your group will assemble at the Seattle airport ready to begin your adventure! Already with views of the Cascade Range in sight, it will be clear that fun is right around the corner. After meeting your trip mates, you will travel together to your first campsite in Dash Point State Park. Here, you will get your first glimpse of the amazing Puget Sound. This first night will be exciting as you get to know your group, go over your trip itinerary and the upcoming activities, and learn basic camping and outdoor techniques such as pitching a tent! Your trip leaders will guide you through it all step-by-step!
First on the docket is to spend some time on the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington. This incredible landscape is home to three ecosystems and you will see them all! You will experience the high alpine terrain of Hurricane Ridge with dramatic views of Mt. Olympus; a wilderness coastline complete with broad sweeping beaches; and a temperate rainforest with green canopy, mosses, ferns, and tropical trees. Not a bad start to your exploration of the Pacific Northwest! You and your group will head out along the Olympic Coast on a three day, two night backpacking adventure. You will learn about your new environment, as well as the proper techniques of basic backcountry living. You will learn to cook and prepare meals in the backcountry; you will learn to pack a backpack properly with all of the necessary essentials; you will learn Leave No Trace Principles and how to use a map and compass. You will emerge from the backcountry as a strong, more resilient outdoor enthusiast, ready for anything.
After a few days of hiking, it’s time to take a little break and hit the beach! You may not think of Oregon as a mecca for surfing, but there are fantastic opportunities to surf on Oregon’s northern beaches. Working with professional surf instructors, you will spend a couple of days learning about everything from ocean awareness and water safety to surfing etiquette and techniques. Each night you will camp in an oceanside park, perfect for sunset watching and s’mores roasting. Hang ten!
No trip to Oregon would be complete without a visit to Crater Lake National Park. You will explore the waters of this deep caldera (2,148 feet!) by boat. The lake itself is a remnant of Mount Mazama, a destroyed volcano that erupted over 7,000 years ago! You will visit Wizard Island – an island formed by Mazama’s blast at the western part of the lake – as well as the “Phantom Ship,” a stunning natural water pillar. In addition to your boat cruise, you will get the opportunity to hike the famous Garfield Peak trail where spectacular panoramic views of the southern Cascade Range await. This location is sure to knock your socks off.
Once you put your socks back on, you and your group will hit the road and head to Bend, Oregon to re-supply for the last week of your adventure. This high desert area continues to add to the variety of landscapes you will encounter on your adventure. While in Bend, you’ll head over to Smith Rock State Park for some epic climbing with Timberline Mountain Guides. Starting with the basics of rock climbing skills, you’ll work your way up to some sport climbing on impressive rock formations of tuff and basalt.
Next, you and your group will turn up the adrenaline with two days of whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River. Trout Creek, White Horse, Buckskin, Mary, Wapinitia, Boxcar, Oak Springs, and other colorfully named rapids stud the river’s course amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Deschutes River Canyon. After getting off the river, you will make a visit to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to learn about the historic eruption of May 18, 1980.
Finally it’s time to visit the hallowed Mount Rainier, the third and final national park visit of your adventure. Mount Rainier National Park was established back in 1899, and is the fifth oldest park in the United States! Mount Rainier, at 14,411 feet of elevation, looms over the surrounding area of lush valleys, waterfalls, meadows, and thousands of acreage. Over these 3 days, you will get to hike along dramatic portions of the Wonderland Trail, the famous trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier! You will even get the chance to play in the snow a bit and experience a day of mountaineering school with our professional guides. What a way to conclude this grand adventure!
Following your adventures at Mount Rainier National Park, you and your group will road trip back to Seattle for the final two days of your trip. Before departing, you will have your traditional end-of-summer banquet with paper plate awards and all. It will be an unforgettable way to end your three-week adventure, before bidding farewell to your new friends.
After my WA trip, I’ve just been inspired to do everything and anything that I can. I think back to the events of my trip and I look to the future and think about all the new things I feel I can do.
Dana, 2019 Pacific Northwest Discovery Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and from the trip start and end