Waterfront Activities


Deer Crossing has consistent wind patterns that make it a great place to learn to sail.

Sailors practice running, tacking, jibing, rigging, 360 spins, captaining, man overboard rescue, and capsize recovery drills. Advanced sailors can sail solo (under supervision, of course) and participate in lake races. Advanced sailing theory and racing tactics help give motivated captains the edge.

Yacht Sailing

Sailors can graduate from our small boat laser sailing program to our cutter rigged yacht. Here they will learn how to sail and crew a bigger boat. Campers who aren't sailors will also have an opportunity to take a ride on the yacht.

Yacht Sailing


As part of newcomer orientation, campers receive instruction in the basics of canoe handling. Each paddler starts with his own boat, learning to paddle solo before advancing to tandem paddling.

Skills include paddle strokes such as draw, scull, J-stroke, and sweep as well as water rescue, deep water resuscitation, and capsize recovery drills. We play lots of canoe games. Beginners start out in our protected lagoon, eventually graduating to open lake.

Upon becoming a certified canoeist, overnight island camping, trolling for trout, and dinner on the lake are added to your choices. Loon Lake has several picturesque islands and the canoe camping out-trip is one of the favorites of Deer Crossing campers. For more information about the canoe camping out-trip please click the button below.



Deer Crossing kayaking courses start on the flat waters of Loon Lake. The lake course covers strokes, wet exits, bracing, sculling, turtle swimming, Eskimo rolls, hand rolls, and rescue skills. In addition to instruction, there are many opportunities for kayaking games. "Pirates and Galleons" and kayak water polo are favorites.

Campers who reach a certain proficiency level in kayaking have the opportunity to paddle a kayak on the canoe camping out-trip. Kayakers can also continue to develop their skills and train for the white-water kayak trip on the South Fork of the American River.

I really wanted to learn to kayak. Silvia taught each of my lessons and this year I successfully completed turtle swimming. After all my hard work and Silvia's encouragement I am going to come back next year and beat the 12 and under record of kayak rolls (250).

Simone Spenner, California


Our windsurfing program is hot. Loon Lake's unique location results in consistent wind patterns. Combining the power of sailing with the balance of surfing, windsurfers at different skill levels have access to a full range of sail sizes and boards to match. Campers start on our dry-land simulator, learning how to rig a board, read the wind, uphaul the sail, balance, tack, and jib.

Then campers move to leash classes on the lake. In leash classes, students practice water skills while being monitored by an instructor who has a tether to the board. When a student needs advice, instructors reel the student in and talk about technique.

Upon completion of leash, windsurfers move on to "triangle" classes where they learn self-rescue techniques and practice skills in a controlled area off our beach.

Advanced windsurfers move out onto open lake. This is when campers can take trick classes where they learn sail spins, 360's, helicopters, and other stunts. There are also chances to race, take long-distance windsurfing trips to the islands, and play trick tag with instructors.


Recreational swimming, known as "open beach" at camp, is usually offered several periods each day. Campers can swim in our crystal-clear water or relax on the warm granite that makes up our beach. The beach is supervised by certified lifeguards with advanced open water training.

Other activities available at open beach include snorkeling, training for the one mile lake swim, and inner tube water polo.

Deer Crossing does not offer instructional swimming. Campers must know how to swim prior to coming to camp.

Lake Swim

Strong swimmers at Deer Crossing may participate in the lake swim, which usually occurs in the third 2-week session of camp. Campers swim from the Deer Crossing lakefront to Loon Lake's "second dam," a distance of roughly a mile.

Each swimmer is trailed by a canoe or rescue board for safety. Campers prepare for the lake swim by practicing in lake swim prep classes.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is an exciting optional one-day out-trip on the American River with the rafting company Mother Lode. All rafting trips are staffed by the professional white water guides of Mother Lode in addition to a minimum of two Deer Crossing instructors.

Our one day trip rafts down the upper South Fork of the American River through class 2 and 3 rapids. If you haven't rafted before, you won't want to miss it. Many of our returning campers sign up for this trip every year! This special trip has a ten camper minimum. Sign up early! White water rafting is an optional trip at an extra charge and requires prior consent and waiver forms. Please note that the white water rafting trip does not take the place of our other out-trips.

To go to Mother Lode's web site, click here.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

One of the newest additions to Deer Crossing's waterfront is stand up paddle boarding. Campers get a chance to practice their balance as they explore the lagoons and islands of Loon Lake in search of the elusive Loonie, whose cousin lives in the Loch Ness in Scotland.

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