During this three day two night expedition, campers will explore the vast backcountry of the Sierra Nevada. Underway they will learn its history, identify flora and fauna, orienteer with map and compass and much more.

At base camp, campers will learn to set up and break down gear, learn the dos and don’ts of backcountry survival and enjoy some well earned R&R. Before lights out, campers will become astronomers using star maps to explore the celestial bodies and constellations above.

Backcountry experiences are designed to develop camper strength, confidence and perseverance, values we hope endure long after their adventure ends.

Each backpacking trip is designed for campers nine to twelve years old. To ensure safety and best practices, we utilize Wilderness First Responders as trip guides and maintain a 6:1 camper to guide ratio at all times.



Ages: Designed for campers 9 to 12 years old.

Experience Level: Beginner – Intermediate. Participants must be able to swim.

Experience Requirement – All campers on the Intro Backpacking trip must meet the following requirements.

  1. Can hike 3 miles per day with a full pack (30% of body weight)
  2. Participants must be able to swim.
  3. Comfortable spending a few nights away from home.
  4. Have a great attitude and a willingness to learn backcountry how tos!

Gender: Girls and Boys, trips are separated by gender.

Girls’ Trip Dates

  • Girls Youth Backpacking Trip #1 – June 19, 2024 – June 21, 2024
  • Girls Youth Backpacking Trip #2 – July 1, 2024 – July 3, 2024
  • Girls Youth Backpacking Trip #3 – August 7, 2024 – August 9, 2024

Boys’ Trip Dates

  • Boy’s Youth Backpacking Trip #1 – June 26, 2024 – June 28, 2024
  • Boy’s Youth Backpacking Trip #2 – July 1, 2024 – July 3, 2024
  • Boy’s Youth Backpacking Trip #3 – July 31, 2024 – August 2, 2024

Times: 8:00am on Day 1 to 3:00pm on Day 3. Detailed specifics will be shared with registered camp families.

Where: Campers will meet at Tahoe Expedition Academy, located at 9765 Shaffer Mill Rd. Truckee, CA 96161. 

Provided Gear: Tahoe Summer Camps has overnight backpacks, tents, group cooking supplies and necessities available, at no additional charge. Food, snacks and addition items (sleeping bags, pads, etc upon request) are included in camp registration.

Campers Will Supply:

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Toiletries
  • Medication (if needed)
  • Clothing, shoes and bathing suit
  • Headlamp
  • Water Bottles (2)

Location: Wilderness camping locations typically happen in Desolation Wilderness in the Tahoe Basin, however we may move trips to other backcountry zones in the Sierra to improve camper experiences and outcomes prior to respective trip launch.

Capacity: 10 Participants

Camp Price: $645.00


Note: Summer 2024 trip details will be communicated to parents and participants in advance of departure. Locations may change, challenges and many lessons will not.

Sample Itinerary from past backpacking adventure below:

Day 1 – TEA Campus – Echo Lake Trailhead – Tamarack Lake

Through new, challenging experiences campers will learn to recognize their own personal strengths and develop the skills they need to survive in the wilderness and be a leader back at home.

8:00am – 9:00am: Greeting, reading and initiative
9:00am – 12:00pm: Drive to then launch from Big Meadow trailhead
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch
1:00pm – 7:00pm: Continue hike to Round Lake, make camp on the shores of Round Lake, explore and dinner
7:00pm – 9:00pm: Closing Circle (reflection and appreciation) and lights out 

Day 2 – Tamarack Lake – Aloha Lake  – Camp at Susie Lake

Campers will experience a true backcountry trip with the breaking down and setting up of their camps and moving their gear to a new site further in the backcountry. They will gain insight and proficiency in Leave No Trace Ethics.

8:00am – 9:00am: Wakeup and breakfast
9:00am – 12:00pm: Break camp and backpack to Aloha Lake
12:00pm – 1:30pm: Swim then Lunch
1:30pm – 7:00pm: Continue to hike, swim and explore, make way to evening camping spot. Eat dinner
7:00pm – 8:00pm: Closing Circle (reflection and appreciation) and lights out

Day 3 – Susie Lake – Trailhead – TEA Campus

Participants will lead the hike back to the pick-up zone to demonstrate their new wilderness knowledge and skills. They will use their navigation tools and abilities to guide the team and assess and manage risks along the way.

8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast, break camp
9:00am – 12:00pm: Backpack to Trailhead
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch, load vehicle for return to campus
1:00pm – 2:30pm: Drive back to campus
2:30pm – 3:00pm: Closing Circle (reflection and appreciation and departure)


Girls’ Intro to Backpacking - Trip 1

06/19/2024 - 06/21/2024
Register Here

Boys’ Intro to Backpacking - Trip 1

06/26/2024 - 06/28/2024
Register Here

Girls’ Intro to Backpacking - Trip 2

07/01/2024 - 07/03/2024
Sold Out. Click Here to Waitlist.

Boys’ Intro to Backpacking -Trip 2

07/01/2024 - 07/03/2024
Sold Out. Click Here to Waitlist.

Boys’ Intro to Backpacking - Trip 3

07/31/2024 - 08/02/2024
Sold Out. Click Here to Waitlist.

Girls’ Intro to Backpacking - Trip 3

08/07/2024 - 08/09/2024
Register Here