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5-Day Joshua Tree Youth Adventure

5-Day Joshua Tree Youth Backpacking Trip

Trip Highlights:

Youth Adventure Camp

Co-Ed

Educational and Fun

Ages 13-17

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Wilderness

Lasting Adventures 5-day backpacking winter camp trips in Joshua Tree National Park are designed especially for youth ages 13-17 who are new or experienced backpackers. These teen backpacking trips are perfect for participants who have joined us before on 6- or 13-day adventures in Yosemite or Olympic National Parks and want to try backpacking in all seasons! This 5-day Joshua Tree itinerary visits the summits of rocky peaks, explores the depths of winding canyons, and tours mining ruins from the park’s recent past. Past Joshua Tree camp participants all comment on how the sunsets light up the rocks and desert in orange and red during the golden hour before nightfall. On this backpacking adventure, you will be exposed to daily wilderness challenges, an exploration of natural and human history and geology, and opportunities for leadership and self reflection. Through games, skits, fun and support from others, Lasting Adventures Joshua Tree winter camps are a positive youth backpacking experience and adventure for all.

Age Range

13-17

Price

$1,475

Length

5 Days

Length

5 Days

Mileage & Difficulty

15-25 Miles

Mileage & Difficulty

15-25 Miles
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2023 Departure Dates by Month

2024 Departure Dates by Month

5-Day Teen Backpacking Trips in Joshua Tree

This is a Sample Itinerary only and is subject to change. 

Day 1: Meet your Guides/Counselors at 12pm. Get acquainted with the group and with your gear. Group team-building activity and orientation before getting settled into your campsite at Black Rock Campground for the evening. Take a short tour including geological and natural highlights around your area. Evening activities and campfire to strengthen bonds while goal setting and an introduction to the Joshua Tree wilderness and history through storytelling.

Day 2: After packing up and stretches we will head right out on the trail through the open desert from Black Rock Campground. The trail quickly funnels into some tighter canyons with more vegetation and rocky walls. Make camp at an open spot beneath Eureka Peak and do an optional hike up to the peak to look down on our campsite. The top of this mountain is a fantastic spot to explore the geology of the park. This day entails about 5.5 miles of hiking and 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Day 3: After morning circle time (stretches, map review, goal setting, etc.) we will make our way about 5 miles to the start of Smith Water Canyon. From here, the canyon itself is about 2 miles of winding rock passages with some fun challenges along the way. We may find some interesting flora and fauna to discuss along our journey. The total today is about 7 miles with about 600 feet of elevation gain and 2,000 feet of loss as we descend to the bottom of the canyon. We will make camp after exiting Smith Water Canyon and enjoy the dark night sky. 

Day 4: After another morning stretch circle and goal setting, set out early on the trail out of the hills and into the open desert for a stretch before finding the start of Johnny Lang Canyon. This trail takes you through another passage and towards the old mine site of Johnny Lang. Explore the old pump house and mine ruins before making camp on the hillside below the mine. This evening we will do a final bonding activity and prepare for our hike out the next morning. This day entails a total of 4.5 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain.

Day 5: On the last morning we will savor our time in camp, playing games, studying the local history and enjoy our last morning in the wilderness. A short 2 mile hike brings us to the trailhead where we will unpack and celebrate with a sandwich bar and beverages before we say our goodbyes.

Adventure Shuttle:  There is a shuttle option available from the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to/from our youth programs in Joshua Tree National Park. Plan for shuttle departure from PSP by 11:00am on Tuesdays and drop-offs on Saturdays by 2pm. This option is made available during check out. 

RECREATIONAL SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM

Our summer camp programs are purely recreational and should not be confused with a wilderness therapy program. Our staff is trained as summer camp counselors, outdoor educators, and guides, and they are not required nor expected to have training/experience in therapeutic programs. Your child should individually have the desire to participate in this program and should not be sent against their will. Additionally, all participants should have experience at sleepaway camps and/or being away from their parents/guardians for multiple nights. No refunds or credits will be issued for evacuations due to social, emotional, and/or behavioral reasons. In addition, due to said concerns, there will be a minimum fee of $500 for any field evacuation.


REQUIRED FORMS

In addition to full payment, the final acceptance of any participant is subject to receipt and review of all the Required Forms. These forms are also attached to your confirmation email once you register online.

We will require an additional medical release for any guests on multi-day trips, any “Half Dome in a Day” hiker, or any guest who is currently under the care of a physician for any ongoing disease, illness, or any other condition/factor that may be a concern on the trip.


DIETARY CONSTRAINTS

Although we are able to accommodate many specific dietary constraints and choices, we prepare foods in a facility with peanuts, gluten, soy, and other major allergens and are not certified as an ‘allergen-free’ facility. We take steps to limit the risk of cross-contamination, but we cannot guarantee that the foods we prepare will be fully free of major allergens.

We have experience in accommodating a variety of dietary choices and concerns, including, but not limited to:

  • Vegan and Vegetarian
  • Peanut and/or Tree Nut Allergy
  • Lactose Intolerant
  • Celiac or Gluten-Free
  • Kosher

 

If we have questions or concerns about the information on your medical form, we will call you the day before your trip to ensure we are packing foods you are able to eat without issue.


TRADITIONAL BACKPACKING

Lasting Adventures runs “traditional backpacking” trips. This is done without using porters, stock, or other outside assistance. For this trip, you will be expected to carry your personal gear, a share of the group gear, and food in a backpack. The weight can be expected to be 30-50 lb. and no more than the recommended ⅓ of your body weight.

As needed, it is recommended that participants discuss their ability to fully participate in a backpacking trip with their doctor, including (but not limited to) the ability to carry heavy loads over long distances and strenuous and uneven terrain. Levels of difficulty listed on our website are relative and in no way an objective declaration of difficulty. A regular physical exercise program is recommended before going on your adventure.


TRIP ITINERARIES

All trips are subject to itinerary changes for various reasons, including, but not limited to permitting, weather, forest fires, park or public land closures, and/or road closures. In most situations, we will offer an alternative itinerary of equal value and quality or a credit equal to the total amount paid through the end of the following season. Payments are non-refundable for itinerary changes. If a trip is canceled before its start date due to circumstances beyond our control, a credit equal to the total amount paid will be issued.


STAFF SCHEDULES

Due to the nature of backpacking, our guides work long hours. To provide the best possible experience to our guests and guides, we limit the number of hours our guides work to 15 hours per day. Guides will not be required to be available from 9 pm to 6 am unless the group agrees to a different period before this standard break. This varies on our summer camps, where outdoor educators are always available as needed.

During time off, our guides will be available for emergencies but should be allowed to rest and not be considered available for other purposes outside of working hours. Please don’t request non-time-sensitive assistance from guides during this period. Our guides are also entitled to take 10 minutes every four hours and 30-minute meal breaks every 5 hours, between 6 am and 9 pm.  We appreciate your cooperation with these scheduling requirements.


FIREARM POLICY

Lasting Adventures understands that firearm laws and policies vary in each of the areas in which we operate. Regardless of local laws and policies, Lasting Adventures does not allow firearms on our trips. Participants who bring firearms will not be allowed to participate while possessing them.


COUPONS

See our Coupon Use Terms and Conditions.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

For your protection and ours, we strongly recommend the purchase of Travel Insurance, which can provide you with coverage for trip cancellation/interruption (including COVID-19), travel delay, medical expenses, emergency assistance, airfare, and baggage loss/delay to protect your financial investment. We recommend those with “cancel for any reason” clauses included. See reviews of some of the best Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance Options presented by Forbes or Squaremouth. Other good student options include InsureMyTrip and Allianz Travel Insurance for Students.

Travel Insurance is the easiest and best way to protect yourself and our smaller non-profit organization against last-minute cancellations. We are happy to provide timely and accurate documentation for any insurance claim related to our trips when requested. Please remember that when canceling a reservation, you must first contact the company responsible for ensuring your reservation.


PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Full payment is preferred for all backpacking trips and youth programs/summer camps. During check-out, you may pay a 50% deposit at the time of booking and the remaining 50% at least 30 days from departure. If choosing this option, you can either complete payment on your own with the self-service link in the confirmation email, or you will be billed automatically at or shortly after the 30-day interval for the remaining amount. Final Lodging/Hiking package payments are due 45 days in advance. Any new multi-day booking made at/within 45 days in advance must be paid in full. Feel free to contact us directly to set up any other payment plan.

When registering online, expect to pay a booking fee of 3.0% (which is capped at $30) and a processing fee of 2.7% (no cap). These fees can be avoided when paying by check. For detailed information, see our Payment Options page.


CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICIES

Lasting Adventures reserves the right to cancel trips. If a trip is canceled due to circumstances beyond our control, a credit equal to the total amount paid will be issued. Lasting Adventures is not responsible for additional expenses incurred while preparing for the trip.

The following cancellation policy is only for trips booked directly through our official website, lastingadventures.com. If you have booked via a third-party website (such as TripAdvisor/Viator, bookyogaretreats.com, or 57Hours), the below policy does not apply, and you are held to the third-party’s cancellation policy.

Multi-Day Adventures/Summer Camps Cancellation Policy

  • More than 90 days before the start date, we will grant a full refund minus a 2.7% processing fee for credit card transactions.
  • Between 90 and 61 days before the start date, we will grant a full refund minus $50/person and a 2.7% processing fee for credit card transactions.
  • Between 60 and 46 days before the start date, we will retain 25% of the total trip cost. You may also take a non-refundable credit of the total value paid.
  • Between 45 and 31 days before the start date, we will retain 50% of the total trip cost. You may also take a non-refundable credit of the total value paid.
  • Less than 31 days before the start date, or once the trip has begun, no refunds or credits will be issued.

48-Hour Risk-Free Cancellation Policy

Any reservation can be canceled within 48 hours of the initial booking, and we will grant you a full refund minus a 2.7% processing fee for credit card transactions. After 48 hours, our standard terms and conditions apply. To cancel, please email us at staff@lastingadventures.org or leave a voicemail at 800-513-8651. This policy does not apply if the booked trip occurs within 96 hours of the initial booking.

Fire/Smoke Cancellation Policy

Fire/smoke cancellations are considered circumstances beyond our control. If your chosen travel insurance does not cover fire/smoke cancellations, a credit equal to the total amount paid will be issued. If we cancel during your adventure with us, we will issue a non-refundable credit equal to the dollar amount associated with the number of days not used. In both cases, these credits will be lifetime/transferable but non-refundable.

Other Considerations

Departing From a Trip: Once a participant has joined a trip and the trip has begun, no refunds or credits will be issued, regardless of the reason for departure. Costs associated with assisting a participant with evacuating from the wilderness will be passed on to the participant. Travel Insurance is strongly recommended.

Minimum Participants: Our Guide Service multi-day trips have a two-person minimum. (Yoga trips have a three-person minimum.) Our Summer Camps have a four-person minimum. Should we fall short on these minimums, we will contact you 30 days before your scheduled start date with options that may include switching to another trip/date and/or a single-participant surcharge.

Infectious Illness Policy (including COVID): Any participant on any program/trip with any sign/symptom of a potential illness will not be able to participate, and no refund or credits will be given. Many forms of Travel Insurance cover these circumstances. We ask that you screen yourself and/or your child before participating and contact us to cancel if any sign of illness is present. Health screenings can be expected in all youth programs.

Half Dome & Other Summits: Reaching the top of a summit, such as Half Dome, is risky and can be made far worse by inclement weather. While we aim to get everyone to the top, summiting is not guaranteed. Lightning and rain can be deadly on exposed summits, and our experienced guides may have to call off a summit bid if weather conditions are unfavorable. You will not be allowed to summit using a Lasting Adventures permit should the experienced guide decide the conditions are not favorable.


TRIP CHANGE/CREDIT POLICY

Once you book a trip with Lasting Adventures, the value you paid is valid towards switching to another trip in the current or the coming year, pending available spaces on the new trip. Changes to your booking and conversion to credit must occur more than 30 days before your original start date. Changes within 30 days are subject to fees. Once changed to a lifetime/transferrable credit, credits are non-refundable and are a dollar-for-dollar value.


COUPONS

See our Coupon Use Terms and Conditions.

#1 Rated Guide Service in the West

Summer Camp Parent, 2021
Summer Camp Parent, 2021
@Roam07377964634
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“From a parent's perspective, Lasting Adventures provided plenty of communication before and during the trip, so I knew he was in good hands. From a kids perspective, this adventure taught him skills he may not have otherwise learned, built up his self-confidence and independence, and fostered a love for the outdoors. He already can’t wait to do this camp again!”
Summer Camp Parent, 2019
Summer Camp Parent, 2019
@Shawnakj
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“The guides were so knowledgeable of the area, cooked amazing meals, taught the kids about nature, kept them safe, and most importantly helped each kid prove to themselves they could do it! That built more confidence in my daughter and made her more reliant on herself and trusting of herself.”
YHCA Teen Participant, 2019
YHCA Teen Participant, 2019
@saraaS3547LU
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“My friends and I (aged 13-15) went on a two-week backpacking trip with Lasting Adventures. Our group grew close as a family, and on the last night, we had a very joyous celebration. We joked, messed around, and ate delicious food prepared by the guides. I strongly recommend them if you are looking for a physical and active summer camp, with amazing views along the way.”
Summer Camp Parent, 2019
Summer Camp Parent, 2019
@Camper13796693172
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“My daughter participated in the 7-Day summer camp in Yosemite and, WOW, is all I can say! I was nervous, but the staff was quick to respond via email to all my questions. She had the time of her life and she can’t wait to do it again next summer!”
Summer Leadership Expedition Parent, 2018
Summer Leadership Expedition Parent, 2018
@braylarachelle
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“My 15 (Nearly 16) year old son just got home from an EPIC trip with Lasting Adventures on the Outdoor Leadership Expedition. He had such a wonderful time and communicated that his guides were "the best." If you're looking for a journey for your young family members this comes genuinely, very highly recommended. All of the kids were thrilled, and all of the most free and relaxed of smiles!”
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