The Colorado Rockies are big, dramatic, and beautiful—a great place to explore, make new friends, and have fun.
Our approach is simple: take a great group of kids (and keep the group small—no more than 12), add two terrific Overland leaders (there to guide you, teach you, encourage you, and support you) and go to a beautiful place (the Rocky Mountains). Once there, get out on the trail for hiking and adventure. And every day, keep the focus on having fun and making friends.
Rocky Mountain Adventure offers two spectacular weeks out West. The trip is perfectly paced: start with day hikes, then add in an introduction to climbing. Finally, celebrate the end of two weeks out West with rafting. Day hikes at Overland are just about the best way to explore the mountains: there’s a leader at the front and at the rear, we’re on well-marked trails in well-known areas, and we stop—a lot!—for water and snacks, to rest, and to take in an amazing view. Plus, when we’re hiking, it’s all chatter and stories, all songs and fun. When we take on a new activity like climbing, we always work with professionals who guide and teach us: it’s ideal—and fun—for beginners. Pros also guide us when we raft, and we raft on the Arkansas with an outfitter we’ve used for decades. It’s a two day river experience you’ll love.
As with every Overland trip, you’ll be in the capable, caring hands of two wonderful Overland leaders. We call them leaders, but they’re much more than that: they’re mentors, role models … friends. They’re having as much fun as you… even as they care for you every step of the way.
When you head home, you’ll take some of the Rockies with you. These mountains will be a part of you—we know they will. And you’ll be back—we know that, too.
Rocky Mountain Adventure offers the chance to see the West with an enthusiastic and adventurous group guided by two caring, capable Overland leaders. All of the trip’s activities have been thoughtfully planned to suit 5th and 6th graders—it’s a great way to experience Overland.
Good Things to Know. The group is always small—no more than twelve students—and we always have carefully chosen and thoroughly prepared leaders. The itinerary is crafted to provide just the right mix of activities—the goal is to have every student love their Overland experience. The camping is in private campgrounds and state and national parks, all of which offer full facilities, including hot showers. Meals are wholesome, nutritious, and varied… and they’re fun group projects with input from everyone and lots of guidance from the leaders. Getting to and from the trip is a breeze: there are excellent flight options into Denver and we provide supervision on arrival and departure so that travel days go smoothly.
Reed’s leaders truly helped to bring out the very best in him!
- Virginia Gilbert, Old Greenwich, Connecticut
Fun, friends & adventure: the best two weeks of your summer.
Day 1: Trip Start
We’ll meet in Denver before heading north to Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll spend time getting to know each other and prepare for our two-week adventure in Colorado.
Days 2-5: Day Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
Our adventure begins with day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll hike beautiful mountains to reach stunning vistas. We’ll see lakes, valleys and peaks. We’ll acclimate to the elevation while having fun on the trails and making new friends.
Days 6-9: Leadville & the Twin Lakes Region
From Rocky Mountain National Park, we’ll drive to Leadville, a historic mining town situated just above 10,000 ft. We’ll continue day hiking in the Rockies with hikes to Twin Lakes, Turquoise Lake and Hagerman Lake. We’ll camp at beautiful lakeside campsites, and spend a night at a mountian hut in the backcountry.
Day 10: Climbing near the Twin Lakes
We’ll take a break from the trail to rock climb near the Twin Lakes with professional guides who will teach us basic climbing techniques. We’ll be ready for this challenge after the time we’ve spent together hiking in the Rockies.
Day 11: Raft the Arkansas River
Finally, we’ll celebrate the end of our trip with a day of rafting on the Arkansas River with professional guides who will lead us down the river through calm flat water and exciting Class II and III rapids. Our raft trip will give us a whole new perspective of the mountains where we’ve just spent two weeks hiking.
Days 12 & 13: Denver & Trip End
At trip end, we’ll return to Denver and look back on two weeks of fun and friends, exploration and adventure. We will celebrate all that we have accomplished together and the friendships we forged along the way.
11 nights of frontcountry camping. All nights we’ll have access to campground facilities (these will vary and may include flush toilets, hot showers and/or laundry).
1 night in a rustic mountain lodge with composting toilets. Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
We travel light at Overland.
- Medium-Sized Duffel Bag or Backpack
3,000-5,000 cubic inch (50-80 liters) duffel bag or backpack.
- Navy Overland T-Shirt (1)
We will send every student an Overland T-shirt prior to the trip. Please wear this T-shirt to trip start.
- T-Shirt (1)
- Synthetic T-Shirt (2)
- Lightweight Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (1)
- Synthetic Shorts (3)
- Fleece Pants (1)
Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
- Synthetic Hiking Pants (optional)
Lightweight and quick dry material. Non-cotton warmup style pants are acceptable.
- Underwear (6)
- Athletic Socks (6)
- Swimsuit (1)
- Hat with Visor (1)
- Gloves or Mittens (1)
- Winter Hat (optional)
- Pajamas (optional)
Students sometimes prefer to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt instead of pajamas.
- Raincoat (1)
Waterproof material (e.g., Gore-Tex, or similar) is required. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. Ponchos are not acceptable.
- Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
- Lightweight Synthetic or Down Jacket (1)
- Day Pack
Basic two-shoulder backpack large enough to hold your lunch, two water bottles, snacks, extra layers and rain jacket. Use your day pack as a carry-on for your flight and for daily activities or hikes. A standard school backpack is usually fine (no satchels or shoulder bags).
- Sleeping Bag
A lightweight, compact sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less. We recommend either synthetic or treated down material. Your sleeping bag should compress into a stuff sack no larger than 20" in length.
- Sleeping Pad
¾-length or full-length closed cell foam (thin and firm) or self-inflating.
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- Bowl, Mug & Utensils
6" to 8" plastic dish or bowl with top, insulated plastic mug, spoon, fork and knife. These don't need to be special camping utensils (a Tupperware dish and regular utensils are fine).
- 1-Liter Water Bottle
Comfortable shoes with good traction.
- Water Shoes
Closed-toed sport sandals, water shoes or old sneakers to wear on the water. Sandals must have a heel strap for activities such as kayaking, rafting or canoeing (flip flops and Crocs are not acceptable).
- Synthetic Camping Towel
A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
- Travel Size Toiletries
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
- Insect Repellent
- Pillow (optional)
Compact, travel-size pillow recommended.
- Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
A digital or disposable camera.
- Personal Journal or Book (optional)
- Health Insurance Card
Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
- Photo Identification
If you are not flying: Overland does not require photo identification. If you are flying within the U.S.: The TSA website has two relevant pieces of information. (1) “TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States.” This language indicates that TSA staff can insist that an under-18 year old who does not have a companion (we interpret this as a companion who is 18 or over traveling with them—not just checking them in) must have TSA-compliant identification. Our experience is that this requirement is inconsistently enforced but, since it might be enforced, we recommend that all Overland students who are flying to/from their trip have TSA-compliant identification. (2) “Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.” This is always smart to do as airline policies vary widely and change frequently.
- Spending Money & Miscellaneous Expenses
Each student should bring a debit card, an ATM card or a prepaid Visa card to cover spending money and miscellaneous expenses. Spending Money: While all meals and activities are included in the trip fee, we recommend $25/week for spending money (for example: for souvenirs or an occasional drink or snack beyond what is provided to the group as a whole). Miscellaneous Expenses: Most Overland students will incur some expenses while traveling (for example: an equipment repair or baggage fees at trip end). Please add $100 to the debit/ATM/Visa card (in addition to spending money), to cover these expenses.
Things to know
- We travel light at Overland; please only bring the items on this list.
- Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
- Please do not bring your smart phone (or any other electronics).
Please visit the FAQ tab for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy.
- Do not bring any type of knife or multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool).
- If you are flying to your trip, carry your sleeping bag with you in case your checked luggage fails to arrive on time.
- There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Please schedule expensive items—phones, cameras, bicycles, etc.—on your homeowners insurance policy.
Questions? Call us: 413.458.9672.
- What is the weather like on Rocky Mountain Adventure?
You can expect typical summery weather with lots of sunshine, some rain, warm days and cool nights.
- What are the arrival and departure airports for my child’s trip?
You will need to arrange transportation for your child to and from Denver International Airport (DEN) at trip start and trip end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a trip.
- How often will my child have access to showers and laundry?
There is frequent access to showers. Groups will do laundry once a week.
- Please tell me about safety at Overland.
Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field. We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them. We work hard to recruit, train and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful for over 30 years. Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.
- Does my child need to have previous experience?
While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students. We expect your child–with your help–to select a trip that is appropriate for their interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific trip and help your child understand what to expect. We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab). Once the trip begins, your child should be ready–and excited–to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group where each group member feels welcomed and valued.
- Please tell me about Overland's admissions process.
When we receive your application, if your first choice is available, we will: (1) call you to acknowledge our receipt of your application, (2) send you an email with a link to our enrollment forms, and (3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card. If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss options. For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
- What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics and communication?
To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails or text messages to or from our campers. Your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency. If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send an expensive smartphone. Instead, an inexpensive prepaid cell phone will do. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss, we take no responsibility for phones and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen phones.
Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).
We are committed to providing extraordinary support to you and your child. To that end, the Overland office is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week during the summer. Outside of office hours, our answering service provides emergency coverage. Our leaders in the field are in touch with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or other medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders and with their child.
- Can I send mail to my child during a trip?
Getting a letter, card or postcard while on an Overland trip is always exciting. Please keep in mind that sending mail to your child on an Overland trip is different than sending mail to a traditional camp because your child will be on the move. Our experience has been that mail often does not arrive on time, and, sometimes, even when it does, post offices, campgrounds and other mail stops do not reliably deliver mail to our groups. For these reasons:
1. Please do not send anything valuable – please send letters, cards or postcards only. If mail is late, lost or misdirected, Overland’s leaders and staff are not able to return to the post office (or other mail stop) to collect it.
2. Please use the US Postal Service first-class mail only; do not use UPS, FedEx or DHL (many of our mail stops accept US Postal Service mail only).
3. Please do not send overnight letters: many overnighted letters arrive before or after we arrive and are then sent back. For this same reason, please do not send mail that requires a signature upon delivery.
4. Please allow one week for postal delivery to U.S. mail stops.
5. Please allow two weeks for postal delivery to international mail stops.
Hike, raft and explore in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Students going on Rocky Mountain Adventure should prepare for:
- Full days of active exploration
- Camping and preparing meals outdoors
- A fun, supportive and wholesome Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for an Overland Experience
Each of our introductory trips is a carefully crafted experience with activities that are finely-tuned for this age group. The day hikes are chosen with care so that our students can enjoy hiking while developing skills and fitness. The group is ably led by two caring Overland leaders who make sure that each student has water, snacks and lunch, a hat, sunscreen and a raincoat before the group sets out for the day. Once on the trail, there are stories and songs, and once at the destination—a viewpoint or mountaintop—there are cheers and hugs.
To be ready for an Overland introductory trip, each of our students should stay active and fit during the school year, and once the trip starts, they should be eager to try new things and make new friends.