Camp Thunderbird Wilderness Trips ProgramCamp Thunderbird Wilderness Trips Program

In-Camp Wilderness Program

Our wilderness program offers new and exciting experiences for beginners and seasoned campers alike. If you’ve never camped out before, don’t worry; we start with the basics. Before departing on an overnight trip, campers learn the skills they need to be safe and comfortable while they’re away, things like how to set up a tent, cook a meal, and roast a marshmallow over a campfire. For campers who are interested in experiencing more adventure, we offer the opportunity to backpack, bike, canoe, fish, rock climb, or sail on trips ranging in length from three to nine days.

Extended Wilderness Trips

Our campers love that Thunderbird includes adventure programming. You can’t beat the excitement of experiencing new challenges in majestic locations across North America with close friends from T-bird! Seasoned campers, ages 14 to 16, have the opportunity to travel on multi-week adventure programs throughout the United States and Canada. Older campers have the opportunity to work toward these trips or continue with our traditional in-camp program. Extended Trip programs include:

  • Adventure Quest (AQ) – Two distinct 4-week programs (with an option to do all eight weeks) including biking, sea-kayaking, canoeing or rock climbing in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. For campers who've completed 8th grade. Highlights:
    • Bike for six days along the picturesque shores of Lake Superior. (session 1)
    • Relax and sight-see in the lakeside town of Bayfield, Wisconsin. (session 1)
    • Sea-Kayak in the Apostle Islands for four days, paddling through caves and swimming in crystal clear water amid rock formations. (session 1)
    • Canoe for five to seven days through the interconnected waterways and pristine wilderness of the Boundary Waters or Voyageurs National Park. (session 2)
    • Rock climb with climbing guides on the picturesque and challenging bluffs along the North Shore of Lake Superior. (session 2)
    • Sightsee in Duluth, Minnesota, and neighboring North Shore towns and take in their vistas, waterfalls and even a lighthouse tour. (session 2)

    Thunderbird Wilderness Climbing Trips
  • Pacific Northwest (PNW) Trip – A full season program including a six-week trip in Washington state and Oregon. For campers who've completed 8th grade. Highlights:
    • Experience a variety of majestic landscapes in Olympic National Park. Backpack for four days along the Pacific Ocean coast and hike in the sand, camp on the beach and play in the tide pools. Then backpack for five days in the inland part of the park through old growth forests, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and rolling streams.
    • Backpack for seven days in North Cascades National Park, where hikers spot marmots and other wildlife while traveling through endless wildflower fields and jagged mountain peaks.
    • Explore Mount Rainier National Park's awesome visitor center and Skyline Trail, where you can hike on snow and among wildflowers.
    • Whitewater raft on the Clackamas and Deschutes rivers with a guide company in northern Oregon. Gently rolling currents plus energizing rapids combine to create the perfect two-day river adventure.
    • Sightsee in Seattle and other unique Pacific Northwest towns.
    • Travel by ferry to the San Juan Islands where you'll visit Mt. Constitution and whale watch in Friday Harbor.

  • Canadian Canoe Trip – A full season program including an extended backcountry canoe trip in Canada. For campers who've completed 8th grade. Highlights:
    • Learn whitewater canoeing skills during three days of paddling school in northern Wisconsin.
    • Enjoy the pristine and rugged Boundary Waters on 6-day prep trip.
    • Venture into the Canadian wilderness of Ontario and Manitoba for an extended canoe trip. Lake hop on the first half of the trip then shoot the rapids of the Bloodvein River until you reach Lake Winnipeg at the trip's end.

  • Thunderbird Wilderness Trips
  • Junior Leader (JL) Trip – A full season program including a six-week trip in the Western United States and Canada. For campers who've completed 9th grade. Highlights:
    • Travel to famous western sites like the Badlands, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug.
    • Backpack for five days in the rugged Wind River Range, Wyoming.
    • Spend three days learning to rock climb in Jackson, Wyoming with a professional guide company, capped off with an epic summit climb in Grand Teton National Park.
    • Give back by cutting trails, restoring campsites or building bridges during a six-day service project with the US Forest Service in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho.
    • View breathtaking glaciers, massive waterfalls and snow-covered peaks on a 5-day backpacking trip in Mount Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia.
    • Experience Kananaskis Country in western Alberta on 3-day backpacking trip through alpine meadows and jagged peaks.

  • Counselor-In-Training (CIT) Trip – A full-season program including a 4-week trip in the Northeastern United States. For campers who've completed 10th grade. While on trip, campers receive instruction about what it takes to be an effective camp counselor. Once back at camp, CIT's begin the transition to staff members, living in camper cabins alongside experienced camp staff. Trip highlights:
    • Sea-Kayak with a guide company for three days through the rocky islands of coastal Maine off the coast of Bar Harbor.
    • Visit Acadia National Park and hike the Atlantic coast's highest point, Cadillac Mountain.
    • Backpack for four days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and climb to the top of a few Presidential Peaks.
    • Visit the trails and waterways of the Adirondack Mountains of New York while canoeing or backpacking.
    • Sightsee in Burlington, Vermont, and visit the nearby Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory or climb Camel's Hump, Vermont's highest undeveloped peak.
    • Visit Niagara Falls and take the "Maiden of the Mist" boat tour.