Our American West adventure begins in Zion National Park, home to towering red cliffs and river-carved canyons. Professional guides teach us the skills for rock climbing as we push our limits in a challenging yet safe environment! We then 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!
LAS VEGAS: BRIGHT LIGHTS & CITY SIGHTS
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! Bold Earth's Bold West is not your average teen tour - the perfect balance of cities and adventure!
CALIFORNIA: YOSEMITE & WHITEWATER RAFTING
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 tours.
SURF THE LEGENDARY CALIFORNIA COAST & SAN FRANCISCO
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 (a $33 value) and Fisherman’s Wharf as final memories of the American West summer of a lifetime!
- Rock Climb: 2-Day Course
- Surf & Explore: Santa Cruz, California
- San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf
- Discover: Las Vegas
- Whitewater Raft: 2-Days in California
- Explore: Zion, Sequoia & Yosemite National Parks
Buying Guide: The packing list above is mandatory for your trip; however, the linked items are just shopping recommendations. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads may also be purchased from an outdoor store that has tested gear for varied environments. More generic gear such as mess kits, duffel bags, etc. can be bought relatively inexpensive at Target, Walmart, etc. Feel free to find the gear that suits you and your budget best. The Bold Earth office welcomes and expects questions about packing and equipment!
Travel and Packing Tips: Don't worry about how your backpack is arranged right now. Once you arrive, your Trip Leaders will show you the most efficient way to pack your bag for a multi-day trip. If you have the space for it, a great idea for your airport and travel days is to pack your empty backpacking backpack into your duffel bag. This will reduce your checked bags from two to one.
Spending Money: Bring approximately $75 per week. For most campers this is more than enough. This is for personal expenses and gifts. Unless there is an emergency, Bold Earth will not advance money.
Identification: ID is required when checking in for flights. Bring along a picture ID, library card, school ID or state ID card. Your trip leader will be happy to hold any ID or important documents.
Helmets: Helmets are provided and required for rafting and ice climbing.
Laundry: We visit laundromats weekly. You will wash your own clothes, we provide the suds, coins and know-how. Many participants have identical jeans, socks, hiking boots, etc. A good practice is to put your name on items which are not unique to you.
Trip Journal: Bring along a notebook to record the challenges and successes of your adventure. Forest Service (“USFS”) and National Park Service (“NPS”): Bold Earth is required to notify all participants that, to the extent a court determines USFS and NPS restrictions on waivers of liability apply to Bold Earth as a matter of law, Bold Earth’s liability for negligence may not be waived while you are traveling on those affected lands.
Reading List: The people, places and activities you will encounter on your trip are diverse and incredible. These are a few books offering background information. We suggest you consider reading these books before, during or after your adventure. Also, you might like to read Outside Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Rock & Ice or Trilogy Magazine, available everywhere. For additional adventurous reading, check out Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time
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:
25 INCREDIBLE Days
- 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 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.
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 rapids & big fun on California’s American River
- Surf in Santa Cruz: California’s iconic surf town
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 39 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!
• Camping – 18 nights – always with bathrooms
• Hotel (Las Vegas – 2 Nights & San Francisco – 1 Night)
• Hostel (San Francisco) – 3 nights
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.
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 the tide and increasing the . To learn more go to: Marin County Parks.
Click to View: ALL Bold Earth community service projects
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.
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!
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).
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 improtant. 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 on 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 for 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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Since 1976, Bold Earth has had 15,000+ students join us from all 50 US states and over 55 countries! We encourage you to contact our alumni directly to find out about the quality of our leaders, depth of programing 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 us and our target student is responsible, informed and enthusiastic. To receive a list of references call the Bold Earth office at 303-526-0806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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!
Bold West was one of the best summers of my life. I can't wait to do it again and hope that I go on a trip with Lauren or Matt again. Lauren was always energetic and ready to go. She was always encouraging people to do better and always helped a struggling camper. Matt was super helpful and supportive. He was always there for us and was very compatible with the whole group.
Susan & Todd: Zachary had a wonderful experience on his Bold West trip. His trip leaders were fantastic and the combination of kids on his trip was terrific. The communication was excellent.
BEST SUMMER I HAVE HAD!
This summer on Bold Earth's Bold West has been the best summer I have had in a long time! I loved meeting new people from all around the world and becoming closer with them than I ever imagined! The activities on this trip were was breathtaking! I saw and learned so much about the places we went to and had a blast doing the activities we had planned. I loved this trip and I cant wait to do Bold Earth again!
PARENTS, Milena & Peter: Going into the trip, Molly was a bit apprehensive and we could have predicted that she was going to get homesick and want to call home. And she did! However, by the first call thereafter Molly was already asking if she could go on another Bold Earth trip next summer. Molly found her trip leaders to be engaging, age appropriate and nuturing. A great experience and a wonderful growth opportunity for our daughter. Thank you.
IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE!
Bold West was a very good experience, there was excellent organization and perfect counselors. I'm happy I did this trip alone and not with a friend because alone you must speak English and be very friendly. For me 25 days was the perfect time because it's long and you can get to know people better than on a short trip. Also it was awesome to cook the meals!
PARENTS, Delphine & Franck: It was an incredible experience for Jules. We’ve done a lot of adventures and travels with our children since they were young, and Jules told us that this trip was much more fantastic: Meeting the other young people, the beautiful country, all the incredible activities, leaders so cool..... we are very happy with the choice of Bold Earth for this trip!!! Thank you for everything!
Bold West was the best few weeks of my summer! It was so much fun, and I got to know people from all over the world!
Jen and Emory are irreplaceable as leaders. They know how to make everything fun- whether it's river-rafting or doing laundry. They are also kind and supportive. This was my second Bold Earth (Wild Coast Discovery, Bold West) trip and all I can say is I cannot wait for the third!
Bold Earth provided me again with an exceptional summer on Bold West. All of the activities were so much fun and well-organized. The group was really fun and enthusiastic and the diversity of cultures made it all more interesting. We all had a blast!!
SIMPLY EXCEEDED ALL MY EXPECTATIONS!
Yet again (Bold West, Ultimate Alps, Italy, Greece), Bold Earth has simply exceeded all of my expectations and I could have not imagined summer to be any better than this! Thank you!
PARENTS, Oxana & Rustam: Bold West has been great. The trip leaders were great people and always kept us up to date. Maks had spoken very well of them! Thank you yet again for an amazing summer!!!
Bold West was amazing!
PARENTS, Lori & Glen: Allie is ready to go back! She made a new best friend from Paris!
PARENTS, Katherine & Thomas: Andrew gave the trip very good reviews. He really liked the variety of activities on the Bold West itinerary and enjoyed his group overall. He and we liked the fact that they bought and prepared the meals for the group. As parents, we loved reading and looking at the pictures on the blog. I like the fact that the kids wrote the blog. Jen Britt was exceptional at communicating with us. She was also very professional in dealing with the allergic reaction that Andrew had during the trip. I had less interaction with Emory, but he was very professional and helpful. Andrew enjoyed being with both of them very much.
CAMPERS AND TRIP LEADERS WERE AWESOME!
Everything went great! The campers and trip leaders were awesome and everyday there was something new and fun to look forward to!
PARENTS, Lesbia & Thomas: We were so happy to hear about all of the new people and friends that she met, and most of all, all the adventures she encountered.
BOLD EARTH IS AMAZING!
I loved this experience! I couldn't have met better guides. Eben and Rainbow Robyn were the BEST! Bold Earth is amazing. Thank you guys so much.
It was really fun and was very successful for me!
PARENTS, Allison & Reijo: Emily had a wonderful time and would go on another Bold Erath trip! She had wonderful experiences and made friends that she's been in touch with since the trip ended. As a parent, I was very impressed by your organization and communication.
My Bold Earth experience was great, I have nothing negative to say about it!! It was the best summer of my life!
PARENTS Nicola & Zeno: Ottavia really enjoyed her trip. She particularly appreciated the wonderful group atmosphere, which was, I'm sure, due to the excellent 'gelling' done by the group leaders. I teach adults myself, and I am only too aware just how important it is to create a strong sense of interest in and loyalty towards the people in your group. As a parent, I also value the fact that the youngsters spent time 'creating' their own enjoyment, using their own resources and imagination - such a welcome change from all the instant entertainment of TV and video games that we fight against all year round. Ottavia is really aware of the lasting pleasure and true value of these activities. She is in regular contact with the members of her group, and I know they are planning to meet up again in the near future. These are the experiences you treasure all your life. Interestingly, she says that the friendships were even more special than all the incredible places you visited. She was surprised how friendly and helpful all the Americans are (unlike many Europeans). She also enjoyed all the 'crew' aspects. Now she often sits dreamily in front of the film of her group on Youtube!
I WILL REMEMBER THIS FOREVER!
My Bold Earth summer was incredible! It was my first time ever experiencing a summer like this and I will remember this for a lifetime. Zion was breathtaking with great views, awesome swimming holes, and unbelievable hikes. Vegas was exhilarating: Yosemite, Sequoia, Sierra, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco were all equally as awesome as the next. This trip was an experience of a lifetime that I will remember forever!!!!!
The whole trip was very very successful! I did a lot of activities that I have never done before like surfing! I also dropped my guard down a lot on the food that I ate. I have always eaten everything... I was just picky about it kinda, but I just dropped all that concern over the trip and ate anything they gave us and wasn't picky about it and now I have translated that back at home which is good! It was also successful because I made SOOO many amazing friends from all around the world and learned about other people and have tons of stories to tell everyone back home!
PARENTS, Dana & Gary: Laura had a great experience on the Bold West trip. She appreciated what she saw, especially in Utah, thought the group was great, loved the group leaders, and overall was very happy. I also want to say that we called you many times with questions and information, and everyone was extremely nice, helpful, and patient, and very enthusiastic about the program. You always had time for us. That made us feel especially good about our decision to send Laura on the Bold West trip
Thank you Bold Earth for organizing such a great summer experience for me! The leaders were awesome! Lauren is funny and energetic, always caring and helpful with everything. Matt is friendly and responsible and was a great help at the airport.
PARENTS, Hang Lethi & Maurice: THANK YOU VERY MUCH for everything you have done. When reading the blog written by Duyanh, I was very happy, because I think that our son has appreciated the holidays with you and his new friends. GREAT, GREAT and THANKS to you!
The gathering of teenagers from all around the world was very successful, and also the different activities that we did were great!
Travel Made Easy!
- 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.
- 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.
- Combine 2 Trips: Many Bold Earth participants combine Bold Earth trips. Call or e-mail our office for more information.