This expedition includes:

  • Mountain biking
  • Peak ascents
  • Day hiking
  • Native American service project

The perfect introduction to Deer Hill Expeditions, this 15-Day summer expedition includes mountain biking in the Ponderosa forests of the San Juan Mountains, day hiking and peak ascent attempts from a mountain basecamp near treeline, and a cross-cultural service project with one of our our host families in the Navajo Nation.

“Deer Hill has given me something remarkable and I will never forget the memories forged here.” – Sigura, participant

The Trail AwaitsApply

Arrive at Basecamp

Days 1-3
Participants arrive at Basecamp throughout the first afternoon. Their expedition leaders help them become acquainted with Deer Hill, as participants meet each other and the group begins to form. In addition to playing games, and eating home-cooked meals, the group will pack group and personal gear for the first part of their trip.

Mountain Biking

Days 3-5
Participants post up in the Ponderosa forest to mountain bike the swooping trails at the base of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Whether you’ve been mountain biking since before you could walk, or never set tire to trail, these forested paths give cyclists an opportunity to climb, coast and cruise to their heart’s content. The group will begin to learn to camp together, sleeping in tents and cooking outdoors, setting the foundation for the rest of their expedition.

Mountain Basecamp with Day Hiking and Peak Ascents

Days 5-9
The group packs up their camp and makes a new camp in the high country. Again, the Trailblazers will set up a basecamp, this time in the spruce, fir and aspen just below treeline. They will set out daily on peak ascents and hikes through wildflower meadows to mountain lakes and scenic viewpoints. Participants will be asked to challenge themselves toward greater and greater accomplishments in discovery of their potential, learning Leave No Trace practices and essential components of life in the wilderness.

Service in the Navajo Nation

Days 9-13
Refreshed and emboldened by their time in the mountains, the Trailblazers head to their service site in the Navajo Nation for a project of their hosts’ design. Historically, projects have included building or repairing sheep corrals, hogans, or shade structures, among other acts of service that support the continuation of Navajo ways. As with all Deer Hill programs, there will be time for participants to learn about the culture, history and lifestyle of their hosts through activities, storytelling, discussion and, of course, sharing food together.

Return to Basecamp

Days 13-15
Participants return to Basecamp for program closure. The group cleans equipment and returns it to its storage locations at Basecamp, and returns any rental items to the Deer Hill Store. The group holds a closing ceremony to conclude their experience, and enjoys a cookout and slideshow on the final evening. On the last day of the program, expedition leaders drive participants to the Durango airport to return home.

Ages 13-14*

July 10 – July 24, 2018

15 Days

24 Service Hours


Scholarship Information

*For questions about age or grade level, call us at 970.533.7492.

Start and End at Basecamp

The expedition is bookended with time at Deer Hill’s Basecamp in Mancos, CO. From Days 1 to 3, participants get to know each other as they pack group and personal gear for their river expedition. At the end of their expedition, the group returns to Basecamp (Days 13-15) for hot showers and home-cooked meals. The final full day will include a closing ceremony and celebration with a cookout and slideshow.

The group is at Basecamp only at the beginning and end of the expedition, and for the transition between service and backpacking.

Arrival and Departure:

Durango Airport (DRO) or

Deer Hill Basecamp, Mancos, Colorado.

Arrive July 10, 12-6pm; Depart July 24, 8:30am-2pm

Travel Information



I have been doing similar outdoor adventure trips for the past five summers, but I have never experienced anything like I have this summer at Deer Hill.

Lily, participant