Yellowstone Adventure

 Spend two weeks exploring the spectacular Yellowstone and Teton landscape. Hike, kayak and raft. Learn about native plants and wildlife. Look for bison and bald eagles. Join a fun-loving Overland group and see the West the way it should be seen: on foot, slowly, with friends.

Overview Details Itinerary What to Pack FAQs Before You Go

Overview

An exciting two weeks exploring the world-famous Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Alongside your trip mates and leaders, there’s no better way to spend your summer.

In the Tetons at the start of our trip, we’ll hike with a naturalist who will teach us about the plants and animals found in this beautiful setting before we head north to Yellowstone.

We’ll explore Yellowstone’s backcountry on day hikes, taking frequent breaks to enjoy big views of Yellowstone’s mountains, lakes and rivers. On Yellowstone Lake, we’ll kayak with guides, learning basic paddle strokes as we look for wildlife and glide past thermal features.

During our trip, we’ll see Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We’ll also raft the Snake River—a perfect choice for beginners.

At the end of the trip, we’ll head back to Jackson for our last night together and celebrate all of our adventures out West, all of our fun as a group and all of the friendships we’ve made.

Yellowstone Adventure offers a variety of activities all appropriate for the abilities and interests of 6th and 7th graders. Two carefully selected Overland leaders will create a wholesome, supportive environment where every camper is an important part of the group. By design, Yellowstone Adventure is a wonderful way to explore these spectacular national parks while enjoying the friendships and fun of an Overland group.

Questions? Contact us!

I loved my trip! It was my first time camping, and my leaders and trip mates helped me feel comfortable and happy.


- Christopher Gatty, Stamford, Connecticut

Day 1: Trip Start

We’ll begin our adventure in the Jackson Hole Airport. Once everyone has arrived, we’ll drive to a campground at the base of the Tetons.¹ We’ll spend the day getting to know one another, playing games, checking our gear and getting ready for our two weeks together.

Day 2: Day Hike with a Naturalist

On our first full day together, we’ll go on a guided hike with a naturalist from Teton Science Schools. The naturalist will teach us about the plants and wildlife indigenous to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone ecosystems. Our hike with the naturalist frames the remainder of our trip, allowing us to identify plants and animals as we continue our trip.

Days 3 & 4: Hike in Yellowstone National Park

After our hike with Teton Science Schools, we’ll head into Yellowstone National Park and explore some of the amazing geysers, other thermal features, wide open landscapes and dramatic peaks that make Yellowstone famous. We’ll go on a series of shorter hikes through beautiful landscapes while building our endurance for more challenging hikes. We might hike to a natural bridge or the breathtaking Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, always choosing hikes appropriate for the group.

Day 5: Kayak Yellowstone Lake

We will take a break from the trail to kayak on Yellowstone Lake with professional guides. We’ll meet our guides and learn about kayaking equipment, techniques and water awareness before getting out on the water. Once on the lake, we’ll paddle around the West Thumb, explore thermal features and watch for wildlife in the surrounding scenery.

Days 6-10: Hike in Yellowstone National Park & Avalanche Peak

We’ll return to Yellowstone for more challenging hikes based on the group’s ability. We might hike past Imperial Geyser on our way to Fairy Falls, climb to the top of Bunsen Peak, hike up Mount Washburn or hike to a backcountry lake and go for a swim. We’ll make sure to check out Yellowstone’s most famous feature—the Old Faithful geyser. After building up our endurance, we’ll hike up Avalanche Peak. At the top, we’ll enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of peaks and lakes including Yellowstone Lake to the west, the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone national forests to the south and Kuster and Gallatin national forests to the north.

Days 11-13: Raft Snake River & Trip End

We’ll drive south to Jackson to raft on the Snake River with professional guides. We’ll wake up early and enjoy a scenic float down the river with views of the amazing landscape and wildlife, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll
continue down the Snake while enjoying class II and III whitewater rapids. After rafting, we’ll eat dinner and celebrate two weeks of adventure in Yellowstone.

¹Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

12 nights of frontcountry camping. Campground facilities will vary and may include flush toilets, showers and/or laundry.

Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
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Luggage

  • Medium-Sized Duffel Bag or Backpack
    3,000-5,000 cubic inch (50-80 liters) duffel bag or backpack.

Clothing

  • 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 (3)
  • Lightweight Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (2)
  • 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).
  • Underwear (6)
  • Athletic Socks (6)
  • Swimsuit (1)
  • Winter Hat (1)
  • Hat with Visor (1)
  • Gloves or Mittens (1)
  • Pajamas (optional)
    Students sometimes prefer to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt instead of bringing pajamas.

Outer Layers

  • Waterproof Raincoat (1)
  • Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
  • Insulated Vest (1)
    Insulated fleece, Thinsulate or down vest to wear on cold days and evenings.

General Gear

  • 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 30 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

Footwear

  • Sneakers
    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).

Miscellaneous

  • Synthetic Camping Towel
    A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
  • Travel Size Toiletries
  • Sunglasses
  • 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)

Important Documents

  • 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

  • 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 your packing 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 start, carry your sleeping bag and sleeping pad 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.
  • What is the weather like on Yellowstone 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 Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) 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?

    Nearly every day, and most students shower regularly. Groups will do laundry once a week.

  • What do you do about bears?

    Traveling as a large group goes a long way in preventing unwanted attention from wildlife. In addition, we hike in well-traveled areas and train all of our staff in backcountry skills and awareness. We instruct our leaders how to set up camp and store food in ways that reduce the chances of attracting wildlife, including bears. We’ll brief students on these routines at the start of the trip. Both of our leaders also carry bear spray in case of an emergency.

  • 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 his or her 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 Admissions Review Forms, and (3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card to hold your place in the trip pending a favorable admissions review. If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss your second choice, third choice or other options. For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.

  • What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics and communication?

    PHONES
    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.

     

    ELECTRONICS
    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).

     

    COMMUNICATION
    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 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 kayak in Yellowstone and the Tetons!

Students going on Yellowstone 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.