Olympic Sea to Summit Highlights
A multi-day sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands sets this trip apart, plus Olympic Natl' Park ~ it’s an Alpengirl Win!
DatesJul 17 - Jul 29, 2022
Ages12-14 (enter 7th-9th)
Tuition$3595 (airfare not incl.)
- Camp in Washington state
- Hike, explore Deception Pass
- 3-day Kayak San Juan Islands
- Rock Climb Mt Erie
- Olympic backpacking trip
- Swim in oceans, lakes, rivers
- Coastal Hike & Beach Camp
- Tidepool exploration
Emma has nothing but "RAVE" reviews of the Lil' Alpengirl Camp! For 11-year olds, one week in Washington was perfect. Emma could have easily done another week (in hindsight) but anticipating a 2-week camp in the beginning may have kept her from signing up in the first place. She...
A Girls Summer Adventure Camp in Washington Olympic Mountains & San Juan Islands
From ocean tide pools to lush rainforests to alpine lakes - this Washington state summer camp will have you brimming over with enthusiasm for the wild places of the Pacific Northwest!
Set in Washington State's San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula, where ecological diversity abounds, this multi-adventure Alpengirl trip boasts one of our favorite backpacking trips as well as a sea-kayaking expedition guaranteed to dazzle the senses. The spectacular backpacking portion of the camp leads you out of the rainforest and up to the high divide below the peaks of the Olympic Mountains, where you'll find yourself standing in a field of purple gentians and yellow glacier lilies, while admiring a 360-degree view of snowy peaks and Mount Olympus in the distance.
If this best-of-the-best backpacking trip isn't enough to get you to lace up your hiking boots, we’ll boost your inspiration by adding a 3-day overnight sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands, hiking and exploring local trails, rock climbing at Mount Erie, hot springs soaking, a tidepooling and beach day, and a grand finale in Port Angeles!
Day 1: Arriving at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your camp group. Icebreakers, name games, and get-to-know-you fun abounds before you and your new expedition mates hop in the van and drive to our first campsite.
Once we arrive, we'll learn how to set up our tents and enjoy the first of many delicious and fresh camp meals before settling into our tents for the night.
Day 2: Waking up refreshed and renewed, you'll grab your sleeping pad, head outside to an open space under the trees nearby, and set up for your first daily morning yoga session. After a strong morning stretch, we’ll fill our bellies with a yummy Alpengirl breakfast - perhaps Peach Cinnamon Pancakes.
This afternoon we’ll enjoy a trail hike to reach the highest point on Whidbey Island at Deception Pass for great views of the Salish Sea, Mt Baker and the Cascade Peaks in the distance.
Days 3-5: It’s time for our first expedition! For the next three days, we’ll be on a sea kayaking and camping trip in the beautiful San Juan Islands.
First we’ll arrive to the islands by ferry to meet our friendly and knowledgable sea kayaking guides. The guides will help us pack our camping gear into boats, explain our route and provide us with an introduction to sea kayak paddling, handling and safety. Then, we’ll head out in our dual kayaks, with an Alpengirl at each helm! We’ll paddle about 2-3 hours to reach an island beach where we set up camp and gather firewood for a campfire tonight.
On day 2 of kayaking we’ll enjoy a full-day paddle around the island or to another nearby island and have opportunities for learning about natural history, exploring the intertidal areas, going birding or appreciating other local wildlife knowledge that the guides have to share with us. This afternoon’s adventure may allow us to see eagles, herons, otters, and seals with pups. We could opt for a sunset sea kayak or sunset hike on this night.
On our final day of kayaking, we’ll pack up our gear into the boats again and paddle back to our starting point and return by ferry back to the mainland. Tonight we’ll get cleaned up and enjoy hot showers at the campsite.
Day 6: The adventure never stops as we head from ocean to land. An afternoon of rock climbing on the solid rock of Mt Erie is in store, and at 1300 ft above sea level, it’s the highest point around with awesome views. We’ll learn proper climbing and belaying technique and even the girl who has never been on a wall before will get to call herself a climber at the day’s end. An Alpenolympic event tonight, perhaps a wildherness themed costumed dinner party!
Day 7: We’ll be taking another ferry today as we make our way to a campsite nestled deep in the Olympic Forest, where we will swim and soak in hot springs and prepare for the best backpacking trip ever! Tonight may also be a great night for browsing the items for sale in the Alpengirl Camp Store.
Days 8-11: Before we arrive at the trailhead, your experienced Alpenguides will teach you how to properly pack your backpack, lift it safely onto your back, and adjust and carry it throughout the expedition. Packing only the essentials, we’ll leave our van and extra gear behind, grab our cameras, and hit the trail!
Our challenge will be a four-day, three-night, slow and steady 20 mile backpacking loop starting in the Sol Duc rainforest of Olympic National Park and crossing the High Divide with views of Mt Olympus in the distance before returning to the forest valley below.
We’ll start our backpacking trip by hiking a three and a half mile uphill and forested stretch past a beautiful 3-legged waterfall to camp at Deer Lake, a gorgeous place to be!
The following day, after more miles of uphill travel, we gain the ridge line, and, we’ll get out our cameras and soak in the breathtaking views of Deer Lake, Heart Lake and Seven Lakes Basin. Looking closer, you’ll be able to see the glacier-capped peak of Mount Olympus.
The third day is a highlight - we'll make it to our highest point and stop to enjoy lunch of perhaps hummus wraps with fresh bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and salami before we start the downhill to set up camp near picturesque Heart Lake.
The rest of the trip, we’ll wind downhill through the rainforest’s tangling ferns and massive trees, which might make us feel like we’ve traveled back in time to the Jurassic Era. On our way out, we’ll have a long descent, hoping to catch one final glimpse of the wildlife in this area, such as mountain goats, deer, and elk.
After backpacking, we're back in the front country again at a campsite overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the distant shores of Canada. We'll get cleaned up with hot showers tonight!
Day 12: For our last hurrah together, we'll spend the morning and afternoon exploring tidepools near our campsite and sunning on a sandy private beach. Then we'll start our drive back towards Seattle with a brief stop to explore the heart of downtown Port Angeles where we enjoy window shopping and treats before arriving to our next campsite where we will have our traditional end of session awards ceremony and celebrate with our new Alpenfriends!
Day 13: It’s time to go home! Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and will be 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 a program, including program itinerary, activities or location for reason 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, parent will be notified by email.
Trip Campsites & Amenities
Seven 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.
Five nights are spent in tents in wilderness “back country” areas where we will purify our water before drinking and learn and 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. ALL backcountry campsites in this itinerary have an outhouse available to us.
Why Choose This Trip
Girls who are looking for an adventure of land and sea in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world will love this Olympic Sea to Summit session. This trip will have any outdoorsy girl anticipating her next backpacking trip the minute she gets home. From ocean to rainforest to alpine air, this trip isn’t one to be missed! If you like sea kayaking and hiking coastal areas and living in the mountains too - this is the trip for you! Limited to 10 girls in the group.