Out Trips

About Out Trips

The final three days of each two-week session are dedicated to out-trips. We offer 3-4 trips each session, based on camper interest and skill level.

This is a chance to explore. We are surrounded by 100 square miles of National Forest with Desolation Wilderness at our back door. Searching for a hidden lake, cooking outdoors, showering under a waterfall, bagging a peak, looking for eagles, and sleeping under the stars are all part of out-trips. Two wilderness backpacking guides supervise each trip. They coach campers in Leave-No-Trace ethics and basic outdoor living skills. Out-trips give campers the opportunity to practice personal leadership skills; each camper has a chance to lead the group for part of the trip.

Backpacking Valley Trip

The Valley Trip is ideal for young beginning backpackers. Hiking roughly three miles a day with plenty of breaks for food, water, and photos, this trip is a Deer Crossing classic. As certified guides for Desolation Wilderness, we can take campers into such pristine lakes as Buck Island, Rockbound, and the Rubicon.

Backpacking Mini-Ascent Trip

Mini-Ascents are an opportunity for experienced campers to challenge themselves by participating in planning trips that cover more terrain than the Valley trips.

Mini-ascents cover 5-7 miles per day and may include off-trail exploration. Some of the most exciting parts of Desolation Wilderness are not accessible by path. Mini-ascenters may seek out natural water slides, hidden alpine lakes, or mountain summits.

Campers on the mini-ascent are proactive and show it through their choice of activities and personal attitude at camp. An interview with trip instructors is required to determine a camper's readiness for the mini-ascent.

Backpacking Full Ascent Trip

Ascent trips are the most challenging backpacking outings offered at Deer Crossing. Campers who qualify for ascent trips are given the responsibility of planning a three-day, two-night backpacking trip on their own.

Food, gear, trip goals, rest stops, where to set up camp, everything is decided by the campers. Instructors' responsibilities on the ascent trip are to ensure the safety and well-being of the campers, but not to lead them. On the ascent, campers truly lead themselves.

Ascent trips have lofty goals that include multiple peak ascents, covering 10-20 miles in a day, and hiking off trail, relying on orienteering skills to find hidden locations. Ascents are challenging both physically and mentally.

I’ve learned so much during my time here and accomplished things that I’m sure I’ll remember my whole life (Tahoe hike, windsurfing, climbing out trip...). This is my favorite place in the entire world, totally one of a kind.

Erin Beirne, Canada

Canoe Camping Trip

 A favorite among campers of all ages, the canoe trip takes campers to the far reaches of Loon Lake. Campers load their gear into canoes and paddle across the lake, often exploring the Pleasant Lake Arm of Loon Lake. We visit islands, discover beachfronts, lay out in the sun, and play canoe games. At low water we may paddle into the cave at the base of Dragon's Lair. Campers on canoe trips often hike to the top of Dragon's Lair peak as a daytime activity.

The canoe trip accommodates campers of all ages and physical abilities. Because canoeing is part of our core program, by the time that out-trips depart every first time camper knows how to handle a canoe.

Rock Climbing Trip

Advanced campers are eligible for climbing out-trips. These last from 1-3 days. On multiple day trips, a base camp is set up at the foot of one of the mountains at the north end of Loon Lake. We have mapped out a number of challenging routes. Top roping protection is set up by instructors. Instructors belay all campers to create an exciting and safe experience. Over the years, our instructors have commented on the exceptional climbing offered at Deer Crossing. This is high praise from instructors who have climbed extensively in the US, Nepal, France, Britain, Switzerland, India and other world class climbing locations.

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