Experience Overland

A Day in the Alps

Here at Overland, we like to debate which of the world’s mountain ranges is the most beautiful. The Alps? The Rockies? The Sierras? Or, some other range?

There’s no way to settle that debate, and, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Because the Overland experience is about more than the places you go, more than the beauty you see — it’s about the adventure, the fun, and the friends.

Scroll down, and see the beauty of the Alps… but more importantly, see for yourself what the Overland experience is like.

Thursday (Day 12 of trip)

Lauterbrunnen Valley

6:00 a.m.

The campground’s coming to life — we can smell coffee and hear the muffled voices of our neighbors. It’s a beautiful day, we’re in the Alps, and we’re going for a hike.

tent wakeup lauterbrunnen valley


8:00 a.m.

We load up with snacks and lunch: fruit, bread, cheese, hummus, peppers, sliced meat, and chocolate. High above is the Schilthorn — James Bond rode the cable car up there. Yeah, we think, that’s cool, but we’d rather hike.

Meet the Leaders
Harmon Pardoe

Harmon Pardoe

Williams College

New York, New York

Elena Bird

Elena Bird

Dartmouth College

Boston, Massachusetts

"Our leaders were incredible. They were fun, positive, and encouraging — all around great people."

Shepard Smith

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

hiking stockup stechelberg girls with baguettes tour guide map billboard


9:00 a.m.

Dark forest gives way to green meadows, then steeper grades. High above, it’s all rock and ice and snow.

Carefully Crafted Challenges with Clearly Defined Goals

Every Overland trip is a set of carefully crafted challenges with clearly defined goals. The challenges are thoughtfully calibrated, and the goal is always to have fun and make friends.

cresting hill trachsellauenen


10:30 a.m.

Snack time. Water, gorp, an apple, more water. We check in — everyone feels good, spirits are high.

"I loved being able to hike in such a special, beautiful place in a new part of the world for me. I also loved exploring so many towns and villages."

Lindsey Eiseman

Kentfield, California

snack break obersteinberg


12:00 noon

Lunchtime: out comes today's high mountain picnic. Lots of talk. Laughter. Smiles. It’s easy, and fun, and summer.

"The Alpine Challenge is an awesome trip. The hiking is challenging yet incredibly rewarding. Switzerland is the most picturesque place I've ever been. The accommodations and food on this trip are outstanding. "

Ainsley Rexford

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

lunchtime oberhornsee

Down and back to Stechelberg

4:00 p.m.

Who knew that hiking down could be hard? Well, not like hiking up, but still hard. We walk into our campsite and get organized — it’s stir fry tonight, and I’m on cook crew.

Student Ownership

An Overland trip is guided by our leaders but driven by our students. With their leaders’ support, our students share daily tasks, creating spirited, close-working groups where everyone contributes.

hiking over stream reading hiking map aerial hiker view


6:30 p.m.

Being on cook crew for dinner means a solid two hours of work — and it’s the best two hours of my day. We always talk about how food is love — how the preparing and sharing of a meal is this subtle but important way to show your care and consideration — your love — for others. I’d never thought about a meal that way, until now, and I don't think I'll ever see a meal any other way.

dinnertime hiking

Day’s End

9:30 p.m.

We always look back on the day, all of us together, sitting in a circle, having dessert. Each of us talks about our high and low of the day. And then we thank someone for something—big or small. We call that cheers.

Somehow, tonight the highs were higher, and the lows just weren’t that important (okay, my low was how my feet felt at about 3:00 this afternoon... but they’re fine now… so does it even matter?).

And the cheers?

Well, when a kid you met just twelve days ago thanks you for the thing you said, and you can’t really remember what it was exactly, but he said it was just what he needed to hear when his feet were sore and he was tired and he was wondering why it was so hard to go downhill, well, that’s when I knew that the trip actually wasn’t about the hiking.

It wasn’t even about the Alps.

It was about that.

Teen Summer Hiking Trip Alpine Challenge Sunset

Why Overland

hiking tour leader
Our Leaders

Overland’s leaders are terrific role models for our students. Capable and caring, our leaders focus on creating supportive, wholesome environments where every student can flourish and grow.

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canoe group
Our Small Groups

Our groups are limited to 12 students — we pay attention to age, grade, gender, the mix of hometowns and schools, and we limit friend pairs to no more than two per group.

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rock formation group
Our High Standards

We expect a lot of our students — from playing by the rules to including everyone and helping out. At Overland, we value a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and consideration for others.

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