Olympic Sea to Summit Highlights
A multi-day sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands sets this trip apart, plus Olympic Natl' Park ~ it’s an Alpengirl Win!
DatesJul 28 - Aug 10, 2024
Ages12-14 (rising 7th-9th)
Tuition$3945 (airfare not incl.)
- Camp in Washington state
- Hike, explore Deception Pass
- 3-day Kayak San Juan Islands
- Rock Climb Mt Erie
- Olympic backpacking trip
- Swim in oceans, lakes, rivers
- Coastal Hike & Beach Camp
- Tidepool exploration
My experience with Alpengirl shaped me into who I am to this day. After my first trip to Montana I was hooked! My appreciation for the outdoors, being active and eating healthy started eight years ago on my first Alpengirl camp. Some of my best memories are from my camp days, and...
A Summer Adventure Camp in Washington Olympic Mountains & San Juan Islands
From ocean tide pools, to lush rainforests, to alpine lakes – this Washington State summer camp will have you brimming over with enthusiasm for the wild places of the Pacific Northwest!
Set in Washington State's San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula, where ecological diversity abound, this multi-adventure Alpengirl trip boasts one of our favorite backpacking trips as well as a sea-kayaking expedition guaranteed to dazzle. The spectacular backpacking portion of the camp leads you out of the rainforest and up to the high divide below the peaks of the Olympic Mountains, where you'll find yourself standing in fields of purple gentians and yellow glacier lilies, while admiring a 360-degree view of snowy peaks and Mount Olympus in the distance.
If this best-of-the-best backpacking trip isn't enough, we’ll boost your inspiration by adding a 3-day overnight sea kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands, as well as the chance to hike local trails, rock climb at Mount Erie, soak in thermal hot springs, and explore the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Ocean!
Day 1: Welcome to Alpengirl!
Arriving at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your camp group. Icebreakers, name games, and get-to-know-you fun abound before you and your new expedition mates hop in the van and drive to our first campsite.
Once we arrive, we'll learn how to set up our tents and enjoy the first of many delicious and fresh camp meals before settling into our tents for the night.
Day 2: Warm-up hike!
Waking up refreshed and renewed, you'll grab your sleeping pad and set up for your first daily morning yoga session. After a strong morning stretch, we’ll fill our bellies with a yummy Alpengirl breakfast – perhaps Peach Cinnamon Pancakes (YUM!).
This afternoon, we’ll enjoy a day-hike to reach Deception Pass, the highest point on Whidbey Island, for great views of the Salish Sea, Mt Baker and the Cascade Peaks in the distance.
Days 3-5: To the sea!
It’s time for our first expedition! For the next three days, we’ll be on an overnight sea kayaking trip in the beautiful San Juan Islands.
First, we’ll arrive at the islands by ferry to meet our friendly and knowledgeable sea kayaking guides. The guides will help us pack our camping gear into boats, map out our route and provide us with an introduction to sea kayak paddling, handling and safety. Then, we’ll head out in our dual kayaks, with an Alpengirl at each helm! We’ll paddle about 2-3 hours to reach an island beach where we set up camp and gather firewood for a campfire tonight.
On day 2 of kayaking, we’ll enjoy a full-day’s paddle around the island, or to another nearby island, and have opportunities to learn about natural history, explore the intertidal areas, go birding, and appreciate the wildlife knowledge that our guides have to share with us. This afternoon’s adventure may allow us to see eagles, herons, otters, and seals with pups! We could even opt for a sunset sea kayak or hike this evening.
On our final day of kayaking, we’ll pack up our gear again and paddle back to our starting point to return by ferry back to the mainland. Tonight, we’ll prep another gourmet dinner back at camp – maybe pan-glazed chicken and couscous or teriyaki beef stir fry!
Day 6: Ahh…relaxation
It’s time to freshen up! We’ll have showers, do laundry, re-supply groceries, and explore Anacortes, WA. Tonight we'll enjoy time together at camp, where we’ll browse the Alpengirl camp store items for sale and perhaps even have time for our Alpenolympic Talent Show in the woods!
Day 7: Climb on!
The adventure never stops as we head from ocean to land. An afternoon of rock climbing on the solid rock of Mt Erie is in store! At 1,300 ft above sea level, it’s the highest point around with awesome views. We’ll learn proper climbing and belaying techniques and even girls who have never been on a wall before will get to call themselves climbers at the end of the day. Back at camp, we’ll have an Alpenolympic event tonight – and perhaps a wilderness-themed costumed dinner party!
Day 8: Splish splash!
We’ll be taking another ferry today as we make our way to a campsite nestled deep in the Olympic Forest, where we will swim and soak in thermal hot springs. The spring water comes from rain and melting snow, and the mineralized water is fantastic to soothe tired bodies!
At camp that night, we’ll begin to prepare for the best backpacking trip ever! Tonight may also be a great night to write our Alpenessays around the campfire.
Days 9-12: Backpacking time!
Before we arrive at the trailhead, your Alpenguides will teach you how to properly pack your backpack and adjust and carry it throughout the expedition. Packing only the essentials, we’ll leave our van and extra gear behind, grab our cameras, and hit the trail!
Our challenge will be a four-day, three-night, slow and steady 23-mile backpacking loop starting in the Sol Duc rainforests of Olympic National Park, crossing the High Divide with views of Mt Olympus in the distance, before returning to the forest valley below. On day one, we’ll hike three and a half miles uphill through the forest, enjoying the beauty of waterfalls as we travel to camp at the gorgeous Deer Lake.
The following day, after more miles of uphill travel, we gain the ridge line and get out our cameras to soak in the breathtaking views of Deer Lake, Heart Lake and Seven Lakes Basin. Looking closer, you’ll be able to see the glacier-capped peak of Mount Olympus. Day three, we'll make it to our highest point and stop to enjoy lunch on the summit – perhaps hummus wraps with fresh vegetables and salami – before we start the descent to set up camp near picturesque Heart Lake.
The rest of the trip, we’ll wind downhill through the rainforest’s tangling ferns and massive trees, making us feel like we’ve traveled back in time to the Jurassic Era. On our way out, we’ll keep our eyes peeled, hoping to catch one final glimpse of the wildlife in this area, such as mountain goats, deer, and elk.
We will emerge back in the front country and travel to a campsite overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the distant shores of Canada. We'll enjoy the simple luxury of a hot shower at camp, and reflect on our incredible time in the backcountry together around the campfire!
Day 13: Life’s a beach!
For our last hurrah together, we'll spend the day exploring tidepools near our campsite and sunning on a sandy private beach. Then we'll start our drive back towards Seattle with a brief stop to explore the heart of downtown Port Angeles, where we enjoy window shopping and treats before arriving at our next campsite. Tonight, we’ll have our traditional End of Session Awards ceremony and pizza party, celebrating with our new Alpenfriends!
Day 14: It’s time to go home!
Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and will be 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 the session, including program itinerary, activities, or location for reasons 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, parents will be notified by email.
Trip Campsites & Amenities
Seven 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.
Five nights are spent in tents in wilderness “backcountry” areas where we will purify our water before drinking and learn to 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
Campers who are looking for an adventure that combines both land and sea in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world will love this Olympic Sea to Summit session. This trip will have any outdoorsy camper planning their next backpacking trip the minute they get home. From ocean to rainforest to alpine air, this trip isn’t one to be missed! If you like sea kayaking and hiking coastal areas while living in the mountains – this is the trip for you! Limited to 10 campers in the group.