Canyon Country: Hiking, Canyoneering, Paddleboarding - June 8-13
This adventurous week begins at KSS HQ, as we assess our gear and get to know each other before heading west for the red rock canyons of Colorado National Monument to set up our base camp. From our campsite, we will embark on a hike to explore one of the grand landscapes of the American West. The next day it’s time to soak in the sun’s rays on stand-up paddleboards, learning paddle technique and relaxing on the water. With new group and leadership skills developing, it’s time to get a bit more technical with a day of canyoneering— hiking and scrambling while learning technical climbing and rope skills.
Students with any experience level, aged 12-14, will find growth and challenge in this program. This expedition is designed to expose students to new outdoor and wilderness skills while learning how leadership can be applied to their life beyond this expedition. Mentorship is an important aspect of an expedition. Every student will be provided individual coaching to further their skills.
The Colorado Plateau— which includes the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park and many of the iconic desert landscapes of the US— actually begins on the Western Slope of Colorado where we set our canyon country adventures. We will explore the less trodden paths, hidden winding canyons, and Anasazi rock art and ruins. Breath in the smell of sage and sand, hear the echoing song of the canyon wren, feel the prehistoric past of the red rock sandstone, and gaze on the geologic marvels of arches and natural bridges. There is something mystical and certainly unforgettable when you spend time in the canyons.
Hiking on trail presents the perfect opportunity to slowly and quietly take in the beauty and wonder of our natural environment. Along the way, we will focus on map reading and compass skills, hiking etiquette, and leave no trace principles. We might stop to observe wildlife, or look closely at the different rock types— around every bend of the trail is a new vista, a new memory, and a new learning opportunity. Take one step at a time—a valuable life lesson—as each trail presents its own unique challenges to overcome.
Canyoneering is equal parts hiking, climbing, geology lesson, and navigation challenge. The unique red rock desert landscape presents unique challenges and breathtaking experiences. Along the winding canyon paths, we will learn climbing and rappelling technique, knot-tying skills, and learn to interpret the difficult terrain with a map and compass— all while feeling connected to the prehistoric past that this environment presents. Getting from point A to point B can be a unique and difficult challenge in canyon country. We will have helmets, harnesses, and rope systems to aid us in our exploration— which will include equal parts hiking, climbing, and scrambling.
A fun way to explore and play on the water paddleboarding is an increasingly popular adventure sport. Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUPing, is an outdoor aquatic activity that involves standing on a long surfboard and using a paddle to navigate and move around the lake, or down the lazy river. It’s very easy to learn and it’s also a great workout!
Arrival & Departure Options
KSS Drop-off and Pick-Up
- Drop Off: 10am
- Pick Up: 1pm (Expedition Farewell)
Morrison Drop-off and Pick-Up
Meet Keystone Science School counselors at the T-Rex Park and Ride in Morrison. Be sure to select the Morrison Drop-Off and Pick-Up within the registration options.
- Fee: $45 (Each Way)
- Drop Off: 10:00am-10:30am
- Pick Up: 1pm-1:30pm
DEN Airport Arrival and Departure
Travel by plane to Denver International Airport. We’ll be sure they are greeted by a KSS Counselor when they get off the plane. We send our counselors behind the TSA security checkpoints to greet each child directly at the airline gate. Be sure to check the arrival or departure option within the registration and book your camper’s travel to arrive and depart within the specified time windows.
- Fee: $80 (Each Way)
- Arrival: DEN between 7:00am-9:00am
- Departure: DEN between 2:00pm-4:00pm
Keystone Science School is American Camp Association Accredited