Cascades & Coast Highlights
Fast becoming the most popular Alpengirl trip, this itinerary is full of activity with a surfing finale that gets everyone stoked!
DatesJun 21 - Jul 02, 2022
Ages12-14 (enter 7th-9th)
Tuition$3245 (airfare not incl.)
- Camp in OR & WA
- Surf lessons on Pacific Coast
- Raft White Salmon River
- Sit-on-top Kayak Klickitat River
- Backpack near Mt St Helens
- Lighthouse and Lewis & Clark
- Swim ocean, river, stream
- Explore Long Beach & Trail
My daughter Emma went to Alpengirl at age 11. She is almost 17 now and still talking about it. I found the staff to be extremely personable, responsible and authentic. We live in Texas and I sent Emma all the way to Washington to do the camp and she didn't even know anyone. She loved...
A Summer Adventure Camp in SW Washington & NW Oregon for Teen Girls
There’s no stopping on this itinerary: it's a one-way ticket to fun and adventure in the Pacific Northwest! The first section of the adventure takes place between Portland, Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, with top-notch whitewater rafting rafting and sit-on-top kayaking. The second section takes place higher up in the forested areas of the Southern Cascade Mountains between the Columbia River Gorge and Mount St Helens. It includes backpacking and day hiking in an incredible volcanic landscape, filled with woods, streams, lakes, lava fields, wildflower meadows and views of Mt St Helens's south face. The final section of our adventure takes place on the Washington and Oregon coast, and offers lots of beach time, lighthouse exploration, Lewis & Clark information, and, possibly best of all, learning to surf in the ocean!
Be ready for go, go, go here, it’s one BIG adventure to the next and no time to lose! This camp is perfect for girls who really want to kick off their summer strong - it’ll get you pumped up for the great outdoors and leave you feeling vibrant, bold and ready for even more adventures yet to come this summer.
Day 1: Arriving at Portland International Airport, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your camp group. Name games and icebreakers abound before we all hop into the van and drive to our first campsite. Once we learn how to set up our tents, we’ll continue to get to know each other, then enjoy the first of many delicious and fresh camp meals.
Day 2: Waking up energized from a good night’s sleep, you’ll bring your sleeping pad out to our morning circle for the first of our daily yoga sessions. We’ll allow our bodies to settle into the new rhythm of being outside as our Alpenguides teach us the basics of outdoor living and tent camping.
After lunch today, it’s whitewater rafting on class III-IV rapids of the White Salmon River. Once a lava tube, this river runs through narrow, volcanic basalt canyons before emerging into the warm sunshine of a forested valley. The undeveloped shoreline and surrounding inaccessible deep forest invites wildlife to visit the refreshing river, a sight only experienced by rafters and kayakers. River rafting on the White Salmon River epitomizes the lush and wild character of the Pacific Northwest in one exciting raft trip! If river conditions and water levels are agreeable, our Alpengirl boats are paddling strong and working as a team, and our raft outfitters give us the "go ahead," girls who choose to may even have the option to launch a 10 foot waterfall!
Tonight we’ll settle back in at the campground, and are able to freshen up with a real shower. The first camper cook group will take their turn at whipping up a delicious hot dinner from the Alpengirl Camp Cookbook - perhaps we'll try Pan-glazed Balsamic Chicken served over a bed of couscous with a side of steamed vegetables.
Day 3: It’s an early day today: we’ll do yoga, have breakfast, pack up camp and meet our guides for sit-on-top kayaking on the Wild & Scenic section of the Lower Klickitat River. This section includes mostly class II whitewater with a fun class III rapid known as Ishy Pishy. The fun and convenient benefits of sit-on-top kayaking are the ease of maneuvering downstream combined with its stability and forgiving nature. Should you tip over, it is very easy to recover and get ‘back on the horse’. Just climb back on, no problem!
After a long sunny day today, you’ll get to kick back in the van napping, talking, and listening to music as we make our way away from the Columbia River Gorge area and into the Cascade Mountains to arrive at tonight's campsite in the woods.
Day 4: Spend a casual day hiking trails and visiting waterfalls, pools and old growth moss-cloaked forests where we may even jump in for a cool and refreshing swim! This evening we'll start preparing our gear and looking at maps for our backpacking trip starting tomorrow. Tonight may be a great night for a campfire and s’mores!
Days 5-8: The area near the western edge of the Mount St Helens 1980 blast zone is our destination for backpacking. It has a little of everything: old growth forests, huckleberry meadows, desolate canyons, wildflower-covered hillsides, large dry washes to cross and awesome moonscape gorges. We’ll spend the next 4 days backpacking and exploring in this unique and awe-inspiring area.
Our first day we’ll gain about 900 feet of elevation over 3 miles or so to set up tents at a normally lush and well-watered primitive campsite in the woods beneath two large buttes.
The second day we'll head out for a day hike, ascending about a mile above our camp to connect with the Loowit trail above treeline on the side of Mt St Helens. We'll spend the day hiking on this trail to explore the ancient lava flows and natural features and to take in the views of the volcano above - and possibly even snowy Mt Adams in the distance. Then we'll return to our campsite for a second night beneath the domes.
Typically, on our third day, we’ll pack up and backpack a rolling 3 miles to our next campsite in the woods at a small lake. Our final day it’s a 4 mile downhill backpack, across an ash filled stream, past a blue mountain lake, through a bear grass filled meadow and we’ll catch a final view of awesome Mt St Helens in the distance before arriving at our van.
Our combined day hiking and backpacking will have us covering a total distance of about 15-17 miles. Depending on the early summer trail conditions, group interest, and abilities, we may opt for some extended day hikes on 1 or 2 of the days. The early summer wildflower display of lupine and paintbrush is a special treat you will not regret experiencing - it’s a truly magnificent landscape that everyone should experience.
Day 9: Ahhh... It’s time for a hot shower and some clean laundry! Today it’s mostly about freshening up, leaving the mountains and arriving on the Washington coast for the final leg of our Columbia, Cascades and Coast adventure. We’ll have showers, do laundry, re-supply groceries, visit a lighthouse and explore a portion of the local Discovery Trail, learning about the Lewis & Clark Expedition along the way. Tonight we'll enjoy a completely different campsite setting along the coast, where we’ll browse the Alpengirl camp store items for sale and perhaps even have time for our Alpenolympic Talent Show on the beach!
Days 10-11: Surf's up! Alpengirls will have 2 different surf lessons on the Oregon coast. On the first day, we'll learn the very basics and give our surfboards a try. On the second day, we'll be starting to really get the hang of it and become surfer girls! During lesson #1 we’ll meet our surf instructors, who’ll teach equipment knowledge, ocean safety and awareness and surf etiquette, and the skills needed to catch and ride our first wave. Lesson #2 expands on the basics, and we'll learn more about how to choose the best board and wetsuit depending on skill and conditions, how to make it through the white water, and we'll learn even more about surf etiquette and wave selection. The optimal amount of time for surf sessions here is about 2-3 hours, after that, even the most energetic Alpengirls are ready for a break. These surf lessons are geared toward "never-ever surfed before" girls and will be a great starter experience for every Alpengirl.
Our final hurrah along the Oregon coast is in a small seaside town, where we enjoy the small downtown area and a stop at the ice cream stand before our end of session awards ceremony. We’ll settle in to camp tonight for our final night camping together near the coast.
Day 12: It’s time to go home! Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from Portland International Airport, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and are 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
Eight 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.
Three 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.
Why Choose This Trip
This is the only Alpengirl camp where girls learn to surf! Plus, it has a very exciting, top-rated raft trip. Each and every day is packed full of different activities and there’s lots of diversity in the areas where we adventure: from the scenic Columbia Gorge area, to the forested mountains, to the unique moonscape views surrounding Mount St Helens, to the coast, ocean and beach. Limited to 10 girls in the group.