School Programs at Deer Hill

Many schools find these programs to be unparalleled experiences for their class or group of students. Deer Hill’s approach to inspiring personal growth supports group experiences by encouraging each member to bring their best self to the surface.

Deer Hill empowers students to connect authentically with each other and themselves by utilizing the powerful and grounding nature of a wilderness experience.
Our program activities vary naturally to keep students engaged, challenged, and working as a team, while they also include time for reflection and solitude at the end of each day.
We work closely with you to design a program that builds off the curriculum that your students are already learning in the classroom, to create a memorable capstone learning experience.

Common School Program Options

For groups embarking on adventures outside our Colorado basecamp, Deer Hill utilizes various program elements in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona to deliver our mission. To learn more about each specific program element, visit this page.

Most schools like to combine a few elements, such as River Rafting and Service Learning, and some like to focus on just one element that speaks deeply to the work they do back in the classroom. For more details on how these program elements may work best for your school, reach out to the Program Sales Manager through the button below.

River & Service Learning

River & Service Learning experiences are one of the most popular school group programs at Deer Hill. Rafting expeditions are a great way for groups of people with varying degrees of comfort in outdoor activities to explore the wilderness of the Southwest. Groups will splash through Class I – II+ rapids, relax on stretches of flatwater, camp on sandy beaches, make meals together, explore ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins, and practice Leave No Trace techniques. At Service, either with Native American service hosts or with an enriching community farm stay or local project, students engage in cultural exchange, explore a change in perspective, and often become closer with their classmates through hands-on projects.

Options include:

  • Average Trip Length: 9-12 days, customizable for your school’s needs
  • Ability to start on the river or at service
  • Choose between rafting on the Upper or Lower section of the San Juan River, the Colorado River, or the Green River.
  • A wide range of enriching Service Learning experiences in the Four Corners region

Backpacking & Service Learning

Through Backpacking & Service Learning experiences, students challenge their physical ability as their body carries them through meaningful work. Human-powered transportation has the great ability to challenge, connect, and teach many valuable lessons in community. Deer Hill Expeditions leads backpacking trips in the mountains of Colorado and the canyons of southeastern Utah. At Service, either with Native American service hosts or with an enriching community farm stay or local project, students engage in cultural exchange, explore a change in perspective, and often become closer with their classmates through hands-on projects.

Some options include:

  • Average Trip Length: 9-12 days, customizable for your school’s needs
  • Ability to start either at service or backpacking
  • Your choice between many different grand expeditions at Sharkstooth Pass, Dark Canyon, or Canyoneering in Southeast Utah
  • Consider basing your group out of High Camp Hut to accommodate a greater range of adventure levels, with day hikes and exploration of the area
  • A wide range of enriching Service Learning experiences in the Four Corners region

River & Backpacking

River & Backpacking trips take students deep into canyons and forests of the Southwest to explore a deeper connection with nature, which in turn often inspires greater authentic connection with self and others. Rafting expeditions are a great way for groups of people with varying degrees of comfort in outdoor activities to explore the wilderness of the Southwest. Groups will splash through Class I – II+ rapids, relax on stretches of flatwater, camp on sandy beaches, make meals together, explore ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins, and practice Leave No Trace techniques. Hiking in the backcountry has the great ability to challenge, connect, and teach many valuable lessons in community, which can provide an incredible capstone experience for a class. Deer Hill Expeditions leads backpacking trips in the mountains of Colorado’s and the canyons of southeastern Utah.

Options include:

  • Average Trip Length: 9-12 days, customizable for your school’s needs
  • Ability to start on the river or backpacking
  • Choose between rafting on the Upper or Lower section of the San Juan River, the Colorado River, or the Green River.
  • A wide range of hiking opportunities, from canyons, to the mountains, to day hikes based out of High Camp Hut!

Create Your Expedition with Deer Hill

You provide the group, we guide the experience. Certain activities are dependent on the season, but Deer Hill operates year-round. Inquire online to find out if Deer Hill is the right outfitter for your group.

  1. Review the suggestions above (more options available)
  2. Contact the Program Sales Manager by submitting an inquiry (see below)
  3. The Program Sales Manager works with you to design a program for your group

School Program Inquiry

The program you run at Deer Hill is just amazing and top-notch. Your obvious love and devotion to outdoor life is evident in every little thing that you do. Our guides were exceptional and Mr. Smith, our Navajo host, impacted my group in a profound way. Our sweat lodge was life-altering. On behalf of all my children and all their parents, thank you.

Elizabeth, teacher

Through Deer Hill and its Staff’s commitment and capacity to fulfill its mission for our Waldorf 8th grade group, the words the students spoke at our closing Circle made clear the experience met my wildest hopes for them. Their world views changed dramatically. They expressed whole new levels of gratitude for their privileged lives.

Amber Fitts, teacher

Our trip with Deer Hill, so tactfully facilitated by our guides, brought us to a meaningful conversation with the forces of nature and, as importantly, a profound encounter with ourselves.

Rev Bowen, teacher