Cascades & Coast Highlights
Fast becoming the most popular Alpengirl trip, this itinerary is full of activity with surfing that gets everyone stoked!
DatesJul 14 - Jul 25, 2024
Ages14-16 (rising 9th-11th)
Tuition$3745 (airfare not incl.)
- Camp in OR & WA
- Surf lessons on Pacific Coast
- Raft White Salmon River
- Sit-on-top Kayak Klickitat River
- Backpack near Mt St Helens
- Lighthouse and Lewis & Clark
- Swim ocean, river, stream
- Explore Long Beach & Trail
I love the camp sessions that I did. I did 2 in Montana and 1 in Washington in a row and had a blast all summer! It was my first time doing it, Alpengirl and backpacking in general and I loved it. I would definitely go back next year, and most likely be an Alpengirl intern. I...
A Summer Adventure Camp in SW Washington & NW Oregon for Teens
There’s no stopping on this itinerary: it's a one-way ticket to fun and adventure in the Pacific Northwest! The first section of the adventure takes place outside Portland, Oregon, with top-notch whitewater rafting and sit-on-top kayaking. The second section takes place higher up in the Southern Cascade Mountains, exploring the forested areas between the Columbia River Gorge and Mount St Helens. It includes backpacking and day-hiking in an incredible volcanic landscape, filled with woods, streams, lakes, lava fields, wildflower meadows, and breathtaking views. The final leg of our adventure takes place on the Washington and Oregon coast, offering up lots of beach time, lighthouse exploration, history of the Lewis & Clark expedition, and, possibly best of all, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean!
Be ready for go, go, go here – it’s one BIG adventure to the next and no time to lose! This camp is perfect for campers who really want to kick off their summer strong – it’ll get you pumped up for the great outdoors and leave you feeling vibrant, bold, and ready for even more adventures yet to come this summer.
Day 1: Welcome to Alpengirl!
Arriving at Portland International Airport, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your camp group. Name games and icebreakers abound before we all hop into the van and drive to our first campsite. Once we learn how to set up our tents, we’ll continue to get to know each other, then enjoy the first of many delicious and fresh camp meals.
Day 2: Let’s go rafting!
Waking up energized from a good night’s sleep, you’ll bring your sleeping pad out to our morning circle for the first of our daily yoga sessions. We’ll allow our bodies to settle into the new rhythm of being outside as our Alpenguides teach us the basics of outdoor living and tent camping.
After lunch today, it’s whitewater rafting on the class II-IV rapids of the White Salmon River through narrow, volcanic basalt canyons and forested valleys. The White Salmon epitomizes the lush and wild character of the Pacific Northwest in one exciting raft trip, with opportunities to see incredible wildlife, and maybe even go cliff jumping!
Tonight we’ll settle back in at the campground, and are able to freshen up with a real shower. The first camper cook group will take their turn at whipping up a delicious hot dinner from the Alpengirl Camp Cookbook – perhaps we'll try Pan-glazed Balsamic Chicken served over a bed of couscous, with a side of steamed vegetables. Yum!
Day 3: Kayaking time!
It’s an early day today: we’ll do yoga, have breakfast, pack up camp and meet our guides for sit-on-top kayaking on the Wild & Scenic section of the Lower Klickitat River. This section includes mostly class II whitewater with a fun class III rapid known as Ishy Pishy. The fun and convenient benefits of sit-on-top kayaking are the ease of maneuvering downstream combined with its stability and forgiving nature – should you tip over, just climb back on, no problem!
After a long day on the water, you’ll get to kick back in the van napping, talking, and listening to music as we make our way away from the Columbia River Gorge area and into the Cascade Mountains to arrive at tonight's campsite in the woods.
Day 4: Waterfall hike!
Spend a casual day hiking trails and visiting waterfalls, pools, and old-growth forests where we may even jump in for a cool and refreshing swim! This evening, we'll start preparing our gear and looking at maps for our backpacking trip starting tomorrow. Tonight may be a great night for a campfire and s’mores!
Days 5-8: It’s time for backpacking!
The area near the western edge of the Mount St Helens 1980 blast zone is our destination for backpacking in the Southern Cascade Mountains. It has a little of everything: old growth forests, huckleberry meadows, desolate canyons, wildflower-covered hillsides, large dry washes to cross, and awesome moonscape gorges. We’ll spend the next 4 days backpacking and exploring this unique and awe-inspiring area.
Our first day we’ll gain about 900 feet of elevation over 3 miles or so to set up tents at a normally lush and well-watered primitive campsite in the woods beneath two large buttes. On our second day, depending on trail conditions and our group, we'll either head out for a day-hike, ascending about a mile and a half above our camp to connect with the Loowit trail above treeline on the side of the volcano, spending the day exploring the ancient lava flows and taking in the views – possibly even a snowy Mt Adams in the distance!
Or, for a bigger second day challenge, we may decide to continue backpacking along the Loowit Loop to stay high on the mountain above the trees and cross the rocky washes on the moonscape lava fields to reach our next campsite.
On our third day, we’ll pack up and either backpack a rolling 3 miles to our next camp in the woods at a small lake; or, if we opted for a bigger challenge yesterday on the loop, a shorter hike to reach the lake. Our final day, it’s a 4-mile descent across an ash-filled stream, past a blue mountain lake, through a basket-grass filled meadow, and we’ll catch a final view of the awesome Mt St Helens in the distance before arriving back at our van.
Our combined day-hiking and backpacking will have us covering a total distance of about 15-18 miles. The early summer wildflower display of lupine and paintbrush is a special treat you will never forget – it’s a truly magnificent landscape that everyone should get the chance to experience.
Day 9: Ahhh...relaxation
It’s time for a hot shower and some clean laundry! Today, it’s mostly about freshening up, leaving the mountains, and arriving on the Washington Coast for the final leg of our adventure. We’ll have showers, do laundry, re-supply groceries, visit a lighthouse, and explore a portion of the local Discovery Trail, learning about the Lewis & Clark Expedition along the way. Tonight we'll enjoy a completely different campsite setting along the coast, where we’ll browse the Alpengirl camp store items for sale and perhaps even have time for our Alpenolympic Talent Show on the beach!
Days 10-11: Surf's up!
As we travel back south, Alpengirls will head to the beach for 2 days of surf lessons and ocean frolicking on the Oregon Coast. In our first lesson, we'll learn the very basics and give our surfboards a try. We’ll meet our surf instructors, who will teach us equipment knowledge, ocean safety, and awareness of surf etiquette, setting us up to catch our first wave. In the second lesson, we'll be starting to get the hang of it and become surfer girls! Lesson #2 expands on the basics, and we'll learn more about how to choose the best equipment depending on skill and conditions, how to make it through the white water, and cover even more about surf etiquette and wave selection. The optimal amount of time for surf sessions here is about 2-3 hours; after that, even the most energetic Alpengirls are ready for a break. These surf lessons are geared toward "never-ever surfed before" girls, and will be a great starter experience for every camper.
Our final hurrah along the Oregon coast is in a small seaside town, where we enjoy downtown and a stop at the ice cream stand before our End of Session Awards ceremony. We’ll settle in to camp tonight for our final night camping together near the coast.
Day 12: It’s time to go home!
Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from Portland International Airport, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and are a part of our fantastic community for life. See you next summer!
PLEASE NOTE: Alpengirl reserves the right to cancel or alter any aspect of a program, before or during the session, including program itinerary, activities, or location for reasons including but not limited to weather, environment, logistics, or health hazards. If itinerary changes occur, we will substitute comparable alternatives, if possible. If there are significant itinerary changes, parents will be notified by email.
Trip Campsites & Amenities
Eight nights are spent in tents in public “front country” campgrounds where we have pre-assigned campsites with neighbors and campground hosts nearby, running potable water, and private outhouses or flushing toilets.
Three nights are spent in tents in wilderness “backcountry” areas where we will purify our water before drinking and learn how to practice basic Leave No Trace camping skills, such as how to select a campsite, how to go to the bathroom, and how to keep clean outdoors.
Why Choose This Trip
This is the only Alpengirl camp where campers learn to surf! Plus, it has a very exciting, top-rated raft trip. Each and every day is packed full of different activities and there’s lots of diversity in the areas where we adventure: from the scenic Columbia Gorge, to the forested mountains, to the unique moonscape views surrounding Mount St Helens, to the coast, ocean, and beach. Perfect for campers who want to try it all! Limited to 10 campers in the group.