Since our inception in 1996, Lasting Adventures has been the leading overnight summer camps in Yosemite National Park, as well as the top-rated guide service in Yosemite. In 2020, after two seasons of research, planning, and piloting new trips, we expanded our model into Washington’s Olympic National Park, where we now offer both guided backpacking tours and summer camp programs with the same high-level of professionalism and attention to detail as our Yosemite programs. So, what separates us from other guide companies in these areas? Here’s the shortlist: We offer unmatched experience (25 years), an unrivaled reputation for professionalism and friendliness (#1 outdoor activity in Yosemite on TripAdvisor), a carefully groomed guide staff of only the most experienced, credentialed, and fun guides, competitive rates well below the industry-standard, a fully insured operation, complimentary name-brand gear upon request (Gregory backpacks, Big Agnes tents and sleeping bags, Thermarest pads, LEKI trekking poles, MSR & GSI eating gear), and of course, the satisfaction of knowing that any profit we gain from your participation goes towards our summer youth scholarship program.
Yes! Years ago, our program evolved from a youth program into both a youth/teen summer camp AND the leading guide service within Yosemite, and now Olympic National Park. In addition to still offering our youth summer backpacking program, we also offer guided day hikes and backpacking trips to the general public. Day hikes and multi-day tours are open to solo travelers, groups of friends, corporate groups, families, school/youth programs, and scout programs, and can be either private or involve a larger group!
Lasting Adventures is permitted to guide day hikes and backpacking trips within Yosemite and Olympic National Park. These can range from full-day outings to multiple-night stays in the backcountry. While our Olympic offerings are currently focused on multi-day outings, in Yosemite many of our day hikes take place right in Yosemite Valley. Others can begin and end from almost any location. Our overnight backpacking trips offer outstanding views, achievements, wildlife sightings, and camp cuisine over the course of deep expeditions into the Yosemite and Olympic backcountry. Sorry, we are not permitted for guided driving tours.
While we make every effort to keep our guests comfortable and relaxed, they will be required to carry their own gear. Our traditional backpacking trips are done without the use of porters, stock, or other assistance. You will be expected to carry all of your own personal gear and a share of the group gear and food in a backpack for the duration of this trip. This weight will typically be between 30-50 pounds for adults and in no case more than ⅓ of your body weight.
To avoid the processing fees associated with registering online, you can complete the Registration Document and mail with a check to us with at least a 50% deposit for overnight trips and/or a 100% payment for day trips. It is advised that you email us a copy of the completed Registration Document before mailing. If paying a deposit, the balance is due 60 days before your trip starts. No checks can be accepted after the final due date has passed.
Unless other payment options are made, Lasting Adventures requires 50% payment to reserve your trip and the final 50% payment is due 60 days prior to your trip. Per our Terms and Conditions, we will charge the final 50% payment on the same card used during registration on or shortly after the 60-day mark. If you would like to pay using a different payment option, feel free to contact us.
Yes! We are open to plan a custom adventure hike and/or backpacking trip at whatever time period is convenient to you. Although we do have many tentative dates listed already on our website; most of our clients contact us directly to schedule dates that work best for them. We encourage you to do the same!
Lasting Adventures began as program of a larger nonprofit in 1996 with a goal of providing positive youth development in the outdoors. In 2008, Lasting Adventures applied and was approved to become its own section 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to foster environmental stewardship, teach responsible recreation, and provide opportunity for personal growth through the facilitation of impactful wilderness experiences. Lasting Adventures seeks to provide youth, families, and underserved communities with positive experiences in America’s National Parks and natural spaces. To achieve that, we offer a robust scholarship program, and generally provide scholarships for more than 200 children and families in need each year. For more information on the Lasting Adventures nonprofit program, or to donate a scholarship, please visit our .ORG website.
Yes, Yosemite will once again be requiring reservations to access the park in 2021 due to ongoing COVID concerns. However, the numbers permitted to access Yosemite will be significantly raised from what was allowed in 2020. If you have booked a hike, multi-day adventure, and/or summer camp with us, we will be emailing you a gate entry document the week prior in lieu of the needed reservations. You can gain your own 3-day reservation on www.recreation.gov on or after April 21. For more information see HERE.
There are really many answers to this question that basically break down into the following categories:
Staff – Our Guides/Summer Camp Counselors are the key ingredient to success for Lasting Adventures. Although we all come from different backgrounds, we all share a passion for Adventures, National Parks, and sharing it with others in a way that will create memories to last a lifetime. We seek to hire staff with both wilderness experience and experience in working with youth. We have a rigorous and highly competitive hiring process which also includes a DOJ fingerprint background check. Additionally, we require that all of our Outdoor Educators hold a Wilderness First Responder certification as well as complete our own in house extensive, week long, staff training. This training includes positive youth development, risk management, outdoor skills/knowledge, and adventure-based programming.
Ratio – Our ratio of staff to youth never goes over 1:6 and is usually 1:4 or 1:5. Total group size never exceeds 15 people, including guides. Due to our small group size we are able to make group decisions based on the input from all the team members. Such decisions may include how far we travel on any given day, where we make camp, what and when we eat, etc. Unlike other camps that have over 300-500 campers a week, our program maximum (for the entire summer) is between 500-600. Thus, we get to know our participants well and run a highly effective program.
Safety – With any outdoor activity there is an inherit risk. Our staff is trained in ways to limit and respond to these risks. A basic requirement for all of our staff members is completion of a Wilderness First Responder (80-hour) certification. All leaders carry extensive first aid kits, a Satellite phone and/or text device, and have been trained in risk management, evacuation protocols, and crisis response. We are also fortunate to have the additional support from the National Park Service and local Search and Rescue to assist us if necessary. Lasting Adventures has invested in the quality of its risk management practices by participating in Risk Management Training offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), an organization with over 50 years of experience managing risk in wilderness environments. As a result of this training, while NOLS doesn’t endorse or certify our practices, Lasting Adventures is further enhancing its risk management strategy. We have invested time and resources in these practices because the health and well being of our participants is one of our highest priorities.
Knowledge – One of the biggest points that divides us from other guide services is that we have extensive backcountry experience within the few national parks where we operate. Unlike other youth adventure travel programs that lead trips all over the place, we have become experts in just these areas. Our leaders know the trails, weather patterns, terrain and what lies around almost every corner. We also have extensive knowledge on the locations of many secret locations (backcountry waterfalls, alpine meadows, amazing bluffs, and many awesome sunsets). We know the locations of all the ranger stations and High Sierra Camps should we need help. Additionally, we know the rangers on a first name basis, and they know us. Lasting Adventures guides more people into the Yosemite backcountry than any other single permit user, and we are en route to do the same in Olympic National Park. Frequently we are asked for assistance and/or knowledge from other organized programs also using the parks.
Price – Because we do not have an actual facility or camp, we are able to keep cost down and pass this savings on to you. Additionally, when compared to similar adventure programs, we strive to offer a better program at a lower cost.
The Lasting Adventures Summer Camp series is open to ALL youth ages 11-18 and/or entering the 6th grade through the summer after 12th grade graduation. Know a young adult who is older? We encourage you to check out our Guide Service.
You know your child best! If your 13-year-old is athletic, in shape, plays sports regularly, and is a mature 13-year-old; then he/she is probably capable of doing well on our Yosemite/Olympic High Country Adventure 6-Day or 13-Day programs (just in Yosemite). If your 13-year-old is developing physically, and has limited outdoor and/or sporting experience, then the Young Adventurer’s Program is likely the best fit.
Overall almost 35-40% of our participants come without other friends, yet this can vary from trip to trip. From day one our guides begin activities and games to bond all youth. This is also done in an ongoing fashion throughout the week. It is almost all too common for youth who come with friends to leave with new and better friendships with others. It’s just the nature of how we have run our programs for the past 25-years; to be all inclusive and fun for every attendee.
Our goal is not to have you spend extensively to prepare for this trip. Most items can be found around the house or borrowed. On all youth trips, Lasting Adventures provides all backpacks at no additional cost. As needed, we can also provide sleeping bags, ground pads, etc. Lasting Adventures also provides all group gear (cooking gear, water treatment, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, suntan lotion, etc.) Click here for a detailed Equipment List.
We eat good food! Over the years we have experimented with many different backpacking foods and freeze dried foods. With the help of the many of the youth participants, we have been able to learn what is in and what must go. Breakfasts and dinners are prepared and eaten together. Lunches consist of trail food and fruits and veggies. Examples include: pita, bagels, salami, cheeses, hummus, fresh veggies, dried fruits, peanut butter, trail mix, energy bars, etc. Lunches are carried in a shared bear can or stuff sack that the participants’ can pull from as needed. Typical breakfasts might include breakfast burritos, oatmeal, eggs & breakfast meats, dried fruit, bagels, etc. Dinner examples include a variety of pastas (Mac & Cheese and others), burritos, stews, veggies, etc. Dinners, breakfasts, and other group food are also packed into bear cans that are carried by our group.
Nobody carries too much. The average pack weighs between 25lb – 50lb. (Except for leaders.) When the participants are packing up, and when they first put on the pack, things can look and feel scary. But not to worry. As we settle in and begin our hike, we are constantly re-shuffling and re-packing the children until everything evens out and no one is carrying too much. Although we all may become tired and exhausted, we have never lost anyone due to a heavy backpack.
Yes, it is true. Dating back to the summer of 2000, Lasting Adventures Program Director, Scott Gehrman, did earn the reputation of sleeping with the bears when he awoke to a bear crawling over him. It was his fault however, as he chose to sleep next to the one bag of food that did not fit into a bear canister.
Every year we have multiple bear encounters, but as past participants can tell you, the bears are really not a problem. They are easily scared away. The black bears (actually brown, cinnamon blonde in color) come into campgrounds looking for food. They look into backpacks, around tents, and anywhere where they may smell it. As their natural fear of people fades, they become more aggressive in finding food. When this happens, they often have to be killed.
In order to stop this devastating cycle, the National Park service is investigating and trying a variety of methods to reduce bear-humans interactions. Their goal is to keep the bear population wild and to retrain conditioned bears to live on natural food, rather than human food. This is also why we practice “Leave No Trace” and why we have to carry bulky bear-proof canisters. These methods are working! Over the past ten years Lasting Adventures, Inc. has seen a marked decrease in the number of bear-human interactions. No longer can we guarantee a bear sighting on every trip; however, it still is very likely.
In addition to the bears, we encounter many other animals and critters ranging from deer, squirrels, marmots, birds, and even rattlesnakes and scorpions. We work with the participants to teach them how to respect the animals and critters and thus we do not encounter any problems with these animals. Yet, like the bears, many of these animals do come and visit us as they prowl around looking for food.
No. We do no technical climbing. Yet, at times, participants are able to scramble on rocks and boulders not exceeding 8-10 feet in height.
No. We sleep in the great outdoors! Although Lasting Adventures does own a collection of 3-4 person tents, we choose not to use these on our youth trips. We have found that the participants enjoy sleeping under the stars on a large tarp with their friends. Thus, we choose not to separate the participants from each other, or the great outdoors, and we all sleep under the stars. This concept itself adds to the overall experience, adventure, and offers many more opportunities for great memories. The one rule however is that boys and girls are separated (10-25 feet apart) and that the leaders are a short distance away and in between both groups.. When it rains, we make our own tents/shelters with extra tarps.
Gratuities for guides are not required but are appreciated. Typically gratuities range from 10-20% of your trip’s total cost; not per guide.
For 2021 all of our summer camps will run from Sundays to Fridays.
In Yosemite, the 6-Day Young Adventurer’s program (ages 11-13), the 13-Day Yosemite High Country Adventure (ages 13-18), and our 27-Day Leadership Expedition begin at the Yosemite Valley Stables Parking Lot within Yosemite Valley. Drop-off at the beginning of the trip is Sunday at 12 pm and pick-up is on the last Friday at 12-1 pm in the Curry Village pizza patio area.
In Yosemite, our 13-day Young Women’s Adventure Program (ages 14-18) has two offerings with departures both in Tuolumne Meadows or at the Yosemite Valley Stables Parking Lot and all ending at 12-1 pm at the Curry Village Pizza Patio on Friday.
Anyone who is in-shape and physically fit can sign-up for any of our adventures. Whereas some trail selection can offer something very easy and/or moderate, others can be quite strenuous. When you contact us, we will work with you to suggest a trail that we feel will best suit both your ability level and your interest in scenery and accomplishments that you are looking to achieve. Participants signing up for a guided backpacking trip should be able to carry a 30-50lb backpack over moderate to strenuous terrain. If you are attending with children; our guides will make the necessary accommodations so that they will also have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Yes! We have introduced hundreds of people to the outdoor, wilderness, and backpacking experience. Its is very normal for more than 50% of our participants to be first-time backpackers. This is our specialty.
On most day hikes we plan for small group sizes of 4-5 people per guide. We top out at 10-12 people with two guides, but that is a rarity. On the majority of our day hikes groups are only 3-5 clients and at least one guide if not two. On backpacking trips, our average group size is 8-10 people with at least two guides. We strive for a 1:5 ratio at most on all trips. We also strive for small group sizes to maximize your experience.
If you would like to book a trip for just you; you and a friend; as a family; as a group; or as a team, school, or corporate function; anything is possible! Contact our office. Costs may be higher for a private trip.
Yes! Lasting Adventures actually specializes in family outings! Our Guides are co-trained as summer camp counselors and Yosemite guides. With over 25 years of experience leading youth in the backcountry, Lasting Adventures is the best option for family outings. Leave the cooking, cleaning, and chores to us as we escort you and your family to some amazing locations in the park. Feel free to contact us to discuss appropriate day hikes and/or backpacking trips for your family. See here for more information about trips in Yosemite: Yosemite Family Adventures. Family trips can be booked in any National Park we operate in.
Our goal is not to have you spend extensively to prepare for this trip. Most items can be found around the house or borrowed. On all custom backpacking trips, and unlike most other outfitters, Lasting Adventures provides Gregory backpacks, Marmot tents and sleeping bags, Thermarest pads, LEKI trekking poles, GSI eating gear FREE of charge. Lasting Adventures also provides all group gear (bear cans, cooking gear, water treatment, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, bug repellent, suntan lotion, etc.) Click here for a detailed Equipment List.
On most all day hikes we plan to start pretty early. (Half Dome we meet at 5:30 am.) We would suggest that you plan accommodations accordingly. On backpacking trips, we usually provide for the afternoon/evening before to meet your guide and go through gear and pack backpacks. Staying with the guide in the backpackers camp is included and recommended for getting use to your gear. See here for a partial list of Yosemite Lodging Options and here for some Olympic Lodging Options.
A specific time and location are located on the specific program website page and will be sent upon registration as well.
There is free parking throughout the parks we operate in and at all our designated meeting locations. After meeting and running through an orientation with your guide on Day 1, the guide will advise of the best places to park your car for the duration of the trip. You can leave your other belongings secure in your car. If you arrived on public transit you can leave your belongings secure in the guide’s car.
You can expect to carry anywhere from 25-50 lbs depending on your weight. We try our best to never have you carry more than a third of your weight-if not less. You are expected to carry all of your personal gear including sleeping bag, pad, tent (or part of it), and some of the group gear which can include anything from a bag with toilet paper to a full bear-can of food. When we meet on the first-day the group usually relocates to the parking lot where we pack as a group. The guides assist you and we hand-out group gear in respect to the big people carrying more and little people carrying less. To this date we have never lost a client to carrying too much.
We can supply you with a single person-tent. There is no single supplement fees.
On our overnight trips our guides are proud to demonstrate their culinary skills that has received us many 5-star reviews for outdoor cuisine. Typical breakfasts might include breakfast burritos, oatmeals, pancakes, dried fruit, bagels, etc. Dinner examples include a variety of pastas, rice, beans, couscous, meats, veggies, etc. Lunches consist of trail food and fruits and veggies. Examples include: pita, bagels, salami, cheeses, hummus, fresh veggies, dried fruits, trail mix, energy bars, etc. Special dietary requests are accommodated regularly and easily in the backcountry.
Gratuities for guides are not required but are appreciated. Typically gratuities range from 10-20% of your trip’s total cost; not per guide.
Please use our online system to register. Once confirmed additional forms will be emailed to you, and are to be completed on our online system. If you would prefer to fill out paper copies and email or mail them in, please see our our Forms page.