Yosemite National Park, California
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USA Teen Trip

Bold West

25 Days: The BEST of Western USA - Las Vegas to San Francisco!
California, Utah, Nevada - AWESOME National Parks.



Utah, California, Nevada

2018 Dates

July 1 - July 25
July 7 - July 31
July 17 - August 10


25 days



Trip Highlights

  • Rock Climb: 2-Day Course
  • Surf & Explore: Santa Cruz, California
  • San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Las Vegas & Cirque du Soleil
  • Whitewater Raft: 2-Days in California
  • Explore: Zion, Sequoia & Yosemite National Parks
  • Community Service: 6 Hours




Our American West adventure begins in Zion National Park, home to towering red cliffs and river-carved canyons. We cool off in the Virgin River for an amazing water-hike through a canyon called The Narrows. Zion is an epic place to begin Bold Earth's USA Teen Trip! Then, we visit St. George where professional guides teach us the skills for rock climbing as we push our limits in a challenging yet safe environment!


Sequoia National Park is our next stop as we hike amongst some of the earth's oldest and largest trees. In Yosemite National Park, we swim in crystal-clear rivers and hike to iconic vistas. On the American River, our two-day whitewater rafting trip is one of the top-rated activities we offer! Before heading toward the coast, community service among the Redwoods gives us a chance to give back to this essential ecosystem. Yosemite & Sequoia are two must-visit destinations on any California teen tour.


Fresh from the desert, we explore the entertainment capital of the world! We’ll ride the adrenaline-pumping roller coaster at the New York New York Hotel, see the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand and experience a show by Cirque Du Soleil! Our 2-night stay in Las Vegas gives us a great taste of the city before we head into the remote, breathtaking wilderness of California. Leaving the wilderness for 2 days, the lights of Las Vegas are a must-see on any USA teen trip! Our Bold West adventure is not your average teen tour - it's the perfect balance of cities and adventure!


Moving toward the Pacific, we learn to surf in beautiful Santa Cruz! Surrounded by lush Redwood forests, this quintessential California beach town boasts a boardwalk amusement park, great waves, and a laid-back vibe. Each day of surfing ends with beach bonfires and s'mores under the incredible stars of Northern California. We end in San Francisco, with the Golden Gate Bridge, historic Alcatraz, and Fisherman’s Wharf as final memories of the American West summer of a lifetime!
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Day 1
Welcome to Bold Earth!
Arriving in Las Vegas, Nevada, campers will be met at the airport by their Bold Earth Trip Leaders. Campers will call home immediately to confirm their safe arrival. Once all the campers have arrived, we travel to our campsite at Crawdad Canyon, just outside of St. George, Utah. An oasis of waterfalls, big trees, and streams, this is the perfect place to start our Bold West trip. We start with an orientation (learn the Bold Earth rules, set up tents and play lots of name games) and then go on a short hike to watch the sunset on our action-packed first day with Bold Earth. Trip Leaders cook dinner tonight as campers are busy making friends!
Day 2
Climbing in Utah!
We meet our professional guides from Paragon Climbing School who give us an orientation on the tools and skills required for outdoor rock climbing. Surrounded by deep canyons and towering red stone cliffs, we learn the basics of this exhilarating sport, including rappelling, belaying, anchor systems, rope-work and a plethora of climbing movements. We then hit the rock with some classic top rope climbing! All abilities are welcome and everyone gets a chance to reach the top!
Day 3
Learn Technical Climbing Skills!
Our second day of rock climbing is fully packed with more epic climbs! We learn more in-depth technical skills as we perfect our climbing style on more challenging routes. We end our rock climbing course with a 500-foot zip-line across the vast canyons of southern Utah!
Day 4
Tubing Adventure!
We break camp and head to one of the gems of the Southwest, Zion National Park! Famous for its maze-like canyons and unique geography, Zion offers unparalleled vistas and amazing recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. After a refreshing and relaxing tubing adventure on the Virgin River, we set up our base camp in Zion at Watchman Campground.
Day 5
Zion National Park!
Rising early to beat the heat, we hike one of Zion's most popular trails to the summit of Angels Landing. With a vertical climb of 1,500 feet (457 meters), the pinnacle of Angels Landing provides a jaw-dropping, 360-degree view of Zion Canyon and the winding river below. This stunning monolith is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the southwestern United States, and conquering the hike requires teamwork, courage, and perseverance.
Day 6
River Hike Through the Narrows!
The Virgin River provides a quick and easy respite from the heat of the canyon, and we take full advantage with a refreshing "river-walk" along the famous Narrows route. This is one of the region's premier hikes, as we wade through low-water between sheer, vertical sandstone cliffs. This unique activity is an unforgettable experience, rounding out our sensational memories and accomplishments from our time in Zion National Park!
Day 7
Las Vegas Day!
We have a relaxing morning and delicious breakfast before driving to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada! We check into our unique and creative hotel, The Monte Carlo, our home for the next 2 nights. We enjoy a great dinner at a Vegas buffet and walk the Las Vegas strip as a group to take in the glitz and glamour of this unique desert oasis.
Day 8
Vegas Attractions!
In the morning, we visit the shops at Ceasars Palace, have lunch at New York, New York and ride the roller coaster! There are innumerable attractions to keep teenagers occupied in Vegas, including visits to lion, dolphin and shark exhibits, the carnival inside of Circus Circus Hotel, the famous Bellagio Fountain and everybody's favorite glorified arcade, GameWorks! That night we will all dress up and head off to Cirque du Soleil for a mindblowing show.
Day 9
Sequoia National Park!
We wake early and say goodbye to fabulous Las Vegas. We drive to Sequoia National Park and set up camp at the picturesque Dorst Creek Campground. Make sure you use the bear boxes to store food as the bears are extremely curious and very active in this area; if you are lucky you will see one from a distance! At night, we sleep beneath the world's largest trees, the Giant Sequoias!
Day 10
Heather Lake!
This morning we meet a Forest Ranger from the nearby Hume Lake Ranger District who will be our guide for today's service project in the Sequoia National Forest. We work to maintain hiking trails in the area with the goal of providing access to a beautiful hiking experience in this stunning Sierra setting. We learn how to maintain a sustainable trail system and also assist in removing exotic plant species to promote the health of the native plants. In the afternoon, if we have time, we'll explore further into Sequoia NP via a day hike.
Day 11
General Sherman Tree: Largest in the World!
Before departing Sequoia National Forest, we check out the largest living organism on earth, the 274-foot General Sherman Tree! An estimated 2,500 years old, the tree is over 36 feet thick and more than 100 feet in circumference. After observing nature's giant, we drive north to another of California's treasures, Yosemite National Park! We set up our camp at Crane Flat Campground and begin to take in the wonder and beauty of one of America's most visited parks.
Day 12
Yosemite National Park!
Yosemite National Park embraces a vast tract of scenic wildland set aside in 1890 to preserve a portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that stretches along California’s eastern flank. The park ranges from 2,000 feet above sea level to more than 13,000 feet and offers 3 major features: alpine wilderness, groves of Giant Sequoias and Yosemite Valley. Close to the size of Rhode Island and full of daunting peaks, no place compares to the sheer magnitude and enormity of Yosemite. Today, we conquer one of the park's more popular hiking routes and observe the breathtaking view from atop Nevada Falls.
Day 13
Half Dome!
Stand in awe as the 3,000-foot granite wall of El Capitan towers over you, try to spot climbers high on its face, feel the misty wind gusts from Yosemite Falls and stare down on a lush green valley carved out by an enormous iceberg. Half Dome towers over the entire Valley and makes the perfect summer photo shoot. We spend the day relaxing in Yosemite Valley, floating in the crystal-clear rivers and enjoying great ice cream in Curry Village. Later this afternoon, we transfer camps from the valley to Tuolumne Meadows and begin to explore another glorious section of the Park.
Day 14-15
Tuolumne Meadows!
No trip to Yosemite would be complete without hiking in the High Sierras surrounding Tuolumne Meadows. Our first classic day hike takes us to Mono Pass at 10,500 feet in elevation, where we come across alpine lakes, old pioneer cabins and an abundance of wildlife. We also hike the more moderate trails to Dog Lake and the 800-foot Lembert Dome where we are treated to spectacular vistas, cool mountain air, and a gorgeous Yosemite sunset!
Day 16
To the River!
We leave Yosemite National Park with memories that will last a lifetime. Today we drive through some of California's most picturesque towns on our way to Coloma. Here we will shoot pool outside, play giant chess, wash up and prepare for an epic 2-day rafting trip.
Day 17-18
Whitewater Rafting!
We meet our professional rafting guides from OARS and splash down the American River, one of central California's best rafting spots! We shoot through Class III & IV rapids, cool off in the crisp mountain river and enjoy the warm California sun! We camp on the river banks and fall asleep under the twinkling stars with the rush of the river lulling us to sleep. We wake early for some more whitewater fun before disembarking and heading back to our camp in Coloma for pizza and showers.
Day 19
San Francisco!
With fond memories (and terrific photos), we leave Yosemite for the "City by the Bay", San Francisco! We check into the Marin Headlands Hostel, our base camp for our time in San Fran. Conveniently located close to the beach and the city, the hostel provides us with the comfort and solitude we need tonight to prepare for our time in the city.
Day 20-21
Golden Gate Bridge and City Time!
Each morning we drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the heart of the city. We take a tour of the infamous Alcatraz, explore the bustling harbor shops of Fisherman's Wharf, enjoy the sites, smells and tastes of Chinatown, ride the world-famous cable cars and feel hip in the trendy boutiques along the famous Haight-Ashbury District. Each night when we return to the hostel we enjoy a foosball or billiards game in the recreation room and kick our chef skills up a notch with a fully equipped, spacious kitchen.
Day 22
Service Project!
We participate in a day of service at one of the world's largest urban parks, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park covers 75,398 acres of land and water and 24 federally threatened and endangered species exist within its boundaries. We will assist with environmental conservation efforts in the area surrounding San Francisco, including restoration of impacted areas and removal of invasive plant species. Later this afternoon, we drive south to Santa Cruz, pitch our tents at Henry Cowell State Park and get ready to surf!
Day 23-24
Surfing in Santa Cruz!
We finish up the summer of a lifetime learning how to surf waves at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz, California! We wake early to hit the water for the best waves of the day. Surfing was once the sport of Polynesian Kings who were drawn to the challenge of the ocean and the pleasure of free-falling down a moving wall of water. As the afternoon tides calm the Pacific waves, we put away our boards and check out this quintessential surf town; peruse the shops and cafes on Pacific Ave, drive to the Mystery Spot to defy gravity and watch water run uphill, check out the surf museum, ride roller coasters on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California's oldest and most authentic seaside amusement park! On our last full day of Bold West, we perfect our surfing skills! The more time we spend on our boards, the more we develop a unique love and knowledge of the ocean and nature that relatively few get to experience. After catching some final waves, we travel back to San Francisco, check into our hotel near the airport, take some time to clean all group and personal gear and equipment, enjoy a nice dinner and celebrate our last night together!
Day 25
Farewell Bold Earth Family!
We drive to the San Francisco airport, bright and early, say goodbye to our new friends and start thinking of what fantastic adventure to plan with Bold Earth next year!

Big Picture?

Cities, National Parks, Beaches, Canyons, Alcatraz and Cirque du Solei – WOW. Experience the best of California, Utah, and Nevada with Bold Earth.

Some SWEET Facts:

  • San Francisco & California Coast
  • Yosemite, Zion, Sequoia National Parks
  • Las Vegas & Cirque du Solei
  • Rock Climb
  • Whitewater Raft
  • Surf in California

25 full, action-packed days allow campers to see the BEST of the American West. Make new friends, experience new places and have the best summer of your life. This is Bold Earth’s longest standing trip! Year after year campers come home with a new found passion for adventure and travel. Bold West is the kicking off point to all great adventures. You will be amazed.

Can I speak to references?

To receive a list of Bold West references, call us in Colorado at 303-526-0806 or email info@boldearth.com. Please mention the trip you are interested and where you live.

Since 1976 over 16,000 students from all 50 US states and 55 countries have joined Bold Earth! We encourage you to contact our alumni directly to find out about the quality of our leaders, depth of programming and what a summer with Bold Earth is really like.

We want careful and selective families to choose Bold Earth. Our offerings are only as good as the families who choose Bold Earth Adventures. Our target student is responsible, informed and enthusiastic.

Do I need experience?

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! Part of Bold Earth is learning new things in a fun, supportive and energetic environment. Whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned veteran, we will match you at your skill level during any activity. Bold Earth hires the best guides in the adventure field to make sure you reach your maximum potential this summer.

Bold West is a combination of world-class adventures, community service, leadership, and FUN. On Bold West we will:

  • Rock Climb: Learn to climb in Zion or Yosemite National Parks. WOW!
  • Whitewater Raft: Big whitewater rapids & big fun on California’s American River
  • Surf in Santa Cruz: California’s iconic surf town

Where do we stay?

WOW! Bold West is the perfect combination of camping, hotels, and hostels. In order to see San Francisco, Las Vegas and AMAZING National Parks, Bold Earth stays in a well-balanced combination of places. YES, you will always be comfortable!

For over 40 years the Bold Earth team has secured incredible campgrounds in these world-renowned national parks. Bold Earth’s campgrounds are awesome – Whether on the California Coast or in Yosemite Valley – WOW! Tents are provided, but bring your own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a pillow! Campers will share a tent with 2 or 3 other campers of their same gender. Highlights of camping:

• Sitting around a beach bonfire with a group of friends for life
• Hearing the waves crash as you fall asleep
• Counting shooting stars
• Lots of s’mores
• Satisfaction of the challenge
• Reward of the hostels & hotels
• Closeness of the group sharing the adventure
• Taking a sunrise run? YES!

While exploring Las Vegas you will spend two supervised nights at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Finally, as the trip winds down students will spend a total of three nights in the Marin Headlands Hostel – stocked with a complete kitchen and basketball court. Staying in the Hostel and in the Las Vegas Hotel, allows the group to take full advantage of sightseeing!

Speak with Bold West alumni from your area and they will tell you the camping was AMAZING!

Accommodations Breakdown:
• Camping – 18 nights – always with bathrooms
• Hotel (Las Vegas – 2 Nights & San Francisco – 1 Night)
• Hostel (San Francisco) – 3 nights

What is the food like?

Yes, the food will be healthy, delicious, local, and fun. Bold Earth campers LOVE to eat and we understand that playing hard all day requires the right nutrition. Yes, we will enthusiastically accommodate vegetarians, gluten-free, kosher, allergies, and most special diets.

Cooking on Bold West is a combination of planning, preparing, cooking our own food and eating out. Approximately once-per-week during your trip you and two other campers will have the chance to make a meal for the group. Most campers find this to be incredibly fun and rewarding.

Your leaders help you as much or as little as necessary and of course EVERYTHING is included. We eat out locally twice to celebrate our accomplishments and enjoy a night out.

What is the community service like?

Community Service is a Bold Earth core value. Bold Earth carefully chooses hands-on community service projects that are active, engaging and . . . LIFE CHANGING! All Bold Earth participants will receive a certificate to document their service hours.

Service Credit: 6 Hours

Project #1: Sequoia National Park! We work to maintain trails and clean trash in California’s Sequoia National Park. Our goal is to help provide access to the natural world and provide a beautiful hiking experience in this stunning Sierra setting. We learn how to maintain a sustainable trail system and also assist in removing exotic plant species to promote the health of the native plants. For more information visit: Sequoia National Park.

Project #2: Marin County Open Space! Just north of San Francisco, and with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, campers work with the Marin County Parks on an ecological restoration project. Campers will help remove invasive species that has taken over Hidden Lake Vernal pool.  Vernal pools are rare and uplands vernal pools like Hidden Lake are also extremely rare.  Our goal is to aid in restoration efforts of the areas diverse ecosystems. As invasive species grow in the area, native plant populations dwindle. With a tremendous help from volunteers, Marin County Parks are turning the tide and increasing range of native plants. To learn more, visit: Marin County Parks.

Click to View: ALL Bold Earth community service projects

What should I pack?

Over the last 30 years, Bold Earth has carefully crafted the Bold West Packing List to include everything a participant needs to be comfortable on the trip. Click to view: Bold West Packing List for a detailed description of exactly what to bring. Anything not included on the list is provided by Bold Earth.

Checking Bags? On Airport Day, campers will check the large duffle bag. We recommend using the small daypack as a carry-on. Campers should either bring a credit card or enough cash to check their bags home.

Give Bold Earth a call at 303-526-0806 if you have any questions. The Bold Earth Trip Advisor Team is always available to help answer packing questions or provide gear recommendations.

How do we travel?

We will be traveling by 15 passenger vans, with a roof-rack for all of our personal gear. The van will be driven by your experienced and carefully screened leaders.

All travel is carefully planned to minimize time spent in the van and maximize the adventures! This trip is designed as an active adventure – not a big-bus sightseeing tour… YES, we stop frequently to throw a frisbee and for bathroom breaks – DUH!

What is the weather like on Bold West?

Bold West begins in the desert, goes up into the mountain, then ends on the California Coast. This is a diverse trip – the desert is hot, the mountains are cool and the coast is perfect. See the Bold West Packing List for a detailed list of what to bring. We can see temperatures both in the 60’s (15º C) and in the 100’s     (35º C).

Why are groups limited to 13 campers?

Small group size = SUCCESS!

• Maximum of 13 incredible and enthusiastic campers
• 2 adult trip leaders (one male and one female)

Especially on an adventure and community service style trip, group size is VERY important. Bold Earth campers are leaders who seek independence, responsibility and fun. We know teenagers and we understand that a small group size is ESSENTIAL to camper success – especially at Bold West. This is NOT the typical teen tour!

Bonding and friendship are essential to the success of any summer program. Bold Earth leaders are carefully trained in group dynamics and leadership. Also, Bold Earth leaders are the MOST FUN PEOPLE EVER! Your 2 Trip Leaders will take a hands-on approach towards the success of every individual. Bold Earth campers make friendships that last a lifetime.

Each camper will be Leader of the Day (LOD) and will have the opportunity to step into a leadership role and help to run the trip! The challenges and rewards of Bold West bring the unity and bonding of the group together.

Tell me more about California!

California is the coolest. Beaches, mountains, San Francisco, Yosemite, Silicon Valley, surfing, coffees, tans, music and everything else “American.” Bold West is a trip through the culture and natural beauty of California and the Western USA.

California is located on the West Coast of the United States with 840 miles (1350km) of Pacific Ocean beaches. USA’s 3rd largest state includes more than 38 million people, 9 national parks, 118 state parks and the famous In-N-Out Burger.

California has everything. The Sierra Nevada Mountains, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert. It is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary trees: the tallest (Redwoods), most massive (Giant Sequoia), and oldest (Bristlecone Pine). It is also home to both the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states. WOW!

California is booming with innovation, culture, industry, and creativity. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Hollywood and more! California is also very ethnically diverse, with large Asian-American, Hispanic, African American communities. With its modern history dating back to the California Gold Rush of 1849, California is a place for dreamers, people who love the warm weather and adventure-seekers!

What is Yosemite like?

Yosemite National Park is located smack in the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountains. One of the icons of America, Yosemite is MASSIVE. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648m to 3,997m) and contains five major vegetation zones. It supports a diversity of plants and animals, composing about 20% of California’s species.

Yosemite is open year round, supporting adventure-seekers and travelers. Hiking, climbing, biking, and photo-taking are among the top-rated activities in the area. Yosemite attracts over 3 million visitors each year and it is ranked as one of the best National Parks in the world. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea, paving the course of history for the US National Park Service.

What does Bold Earth do in Yosemite?
Bold Earth exploring this natural wonder for four incredible days. We will hike to Nevada Falls (and others!), explore Tuolumne Meadows, enjoy the visitor’s center and stare up at the granite walls of this towering National Park. Bold Earth stays at Tuolumne Meadows campground, the most sought-after spot in the park!

And Zion?

Located 160 miles (257km) northwest of Las Vegas, Zion National Park is located in the Canyon Country of Southern Utah. Zion National Park is rated alongside Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite as the US’s best national park.

The prominent feature of the park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep. Monolithic red rock outcroppings dot the landscape of this incredible park. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) and encompasses 4 life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, waterfalls and natural arches.

What does Bold Earth do in Zion?
We will spend three action-packed days finding the hidden gems of Zion. It is hot in Zion in the summer, so we spend the days wet! Bold Earth will take you through the Narrows of Zion Canyon, to the top of Angel’s Landing and tubing on the Virgin River!

What about Sequoia?

Not as crowded as Yosemite or Zion, the HUGE trees of Sequoia National Park cannot be overlooked. This is a playground for giants… Giant trees that is! The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The trees are so big you could drive through them! WOW!

Also located within the parks’ boundaries is Mount Whitney. Standing at 14,505 ft (4,421 m) above sea level, Mount Whitney is the highest point in the continental 48 United States.

What does Bold Earth do in Sequoia?
Prepare to be amazed. We will stand in the glory of some of the most ancient and largest living things on this planet. In addition, campers do a service project with the National Forest Service (see service below) to help build hiking trails. Working with uniformed Park Rangers, campers gain an appreciation for the hard work required to keep the Park in great shape.

How about San Francisco?

We end our trip in the City by the Bay – and what a way to cap off an incredible trip. For 2 days Bold Earth will guide you through the streets, parks, trolleys, and sites of San Francisco.

We will walk the Golden Gate Bridge, tour the historic Alcatraz Prison, eat sourdough bread along Fisherman’s Wharf and maybe even catch the parrots of Telegraph Hill as we hike up to Coit Tower. Carefully planned and strictly monitored, Bold Earth will show campers the beauty of this famous and amazing city. WOW!

Shopping? Our international students want shopping time in America. Our leaders will absolutely make that possible so you can bring home some of what the US has to offer.

Can I combine Bold West with another trip?

Yes! Bold West and all Bold Earth trips are designed to be combined to make a 4 or 8 week Bold Earth summer. If you are interested in combining Bold West with a particular trip, please contact our Colorado office at 303-526-0806 for more information! A Bold Earth Director will handle all the arrangements to create an incredible summer for you!

Bold West

Travel Made Easy!

  1. Fly Together: Our goal is to fly together as a group. All students are met upon arrival and families are called immediately from the airport.
  2. We recommend participants book flights three months before departure. Booking around April 1st allows the Bold Earth team to guarantee low fares and maximum coordinated group flights.
  3. Combine 2 Trips: Many Bold Earth participants combine Bold Earth trips. Call or e-mail our office for more information.

Every trip has a story.

We have 40+ years of amazing travel tales to share, but our favorites are always best told by our adventurers themselves.
View Trip Blog
Yosemite National Park, California
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I had the best time of my life on Bold West! Every summer with Bold Earth gets better and better! I never thought I would be able to do the things I did! I made the best memories and met the best sisters and brothers on Bold West!

- Zack P.

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