Three Parks in One

Olympic National Park is renowned as a premier backpacking destination because of the wide range of ecosystems that are found here. From the regal Olympic Mountains, to enchanting old-growth forests, to the breath-taking wilderness coast, there are adventures around every corner. Despite rumors that it always rains in Washington, the summers here are nearly perfect, with warm days, starry nights, and picturesque mountainscapes covered in wildflowers.

Come see for yourself!

 
 
 
 Teenage Backpacking group celebrates along the trail in olympic national park, Washington state

7-Day Olympic Mountains Wilderness Adventure

Dates: July 15 - 21, 2018
Ages: For students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, or who have just graduated high school

Experience the best that Olympic National Park has to offer on this seven-day excursion. During this program, you will:

  • Spend four days backpacking through the Olympic Mountains, arriving at a new campsite each afternoon.
  • Experience what it’s like to be a field scientist by conducting ecological research.
  • Learn the basics of backcountry travel.
  • Hike about 5 miles a day, carrying everything you need in a backpack weighing 30-40 lbs.
  • Form new friendships.

This backpacking trip is perfect for all experience levels, including those who are new to backpacking and those who already love backpacking but have only have a week to spare this summer! No backpacking experience is necessary and financial aid is available.

Cost: $1,150
Financial aid is available! Click here for more information.

 high school students hike through olympic national park, WA in july

13-Day Olympic Mountains Wilderness Expedition

Dates: July 22 - August 3, 2018
Ages: For students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, or who have just graduated high school

Immerse yourself in backpacking, in environmental science, and in the wonder of exploring a national park on this exceptional 13-day experience.

  • Embark on an 8-day backpacking expedition through Olympic National Park.
  • Design and conduct your own science investigation.
  • Discover what it means to be a field scientist.
  • Travel across gorgeous forest and mountain landscapes.
  • Learn, or improve, your backpacking skills.
  • Form new friendships.
  • Hike 5-10 miles each day to a new campsite, carrying everything you need in a large backpack that weighs 40-50 lbs.
  • Strengthen your leadership skills.
  • Present your science investigations to National Park staff, NatureBridge educators, your family, and peers.

Students have used their NatureBridge summer backpacking experience and research for high school capstone projects, college entrance essays, and job resumes. This challenging and fun adventure will likely be one of your most meaningful and rewarding experiences. No backpacking experience is necessary and financial aid is available.

Cost: $2,137
Financial Aid is available! Click here for more information.

 high school students backpack along the beach in olympic national park, WA in the summer

21-day Marine Science Exploration Crew - In partnership with the Student Conservation Association

Dates: July 1 - 20, 2018 & July 29 - August 17, 2018
Ages: 15 - 18 years old

Participants on this crew can expect to challenge themselves both physically and mentally throughout the program. Crew members will backpack down the Olympic Coast learning navigational skills, conducting conservation service work in terrestrial and/or coastal ecosystems and applying scientific methods to research questions inspired by the unique ecosystems within Olympic National Park. The crew may encounter inclement weather and days will be long, but rewarding. This position is great for budding scientists!

Note: This program is offered in partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Application and enrollment is processed through the SCA. Click below to be re-directed to the SCA's website.

 

Fees and Financial Aid

(For NatureBridge Wilderness Adventures and Wilderness Expeditions only. Please refer to the SCA's website for Marine Debris Removal Crew information.)

Enrollment & Tuition
Fees include all meals, lodging, and educational experiences. 

Financial Aid
NatureBridge is committed to making our programs financially accessible to all students. We are pleased to offer financial aid for families who qualify. To apply for financial aid, download and complete our financial aid application. Instructions for financial aid applicants are included on the financial aid application form. Financial aid decisions are based on the family's demonstrated need and the student's commitment to participating in one of our summer backpacking trips. 

Students in the Seattle School District should also consider applying for the Assistance League of Seattle's summer scholarships.

 

Our Campus on Lake Crescent

The NatureBridge Olympic campus is located on the south shore of beautiful Lake Crescent. Built as a resort in the early 1900s, this campus includes historic and modern cabins, a fully equipped classroom, and a dining hall that retains its original name Rosemary Inn. Students will stay in large dorm-style cabins, some of which include their own bathroom and others that share a large bathhouse. Our campus is connected to miles of hiking trails that lead to old-growth forests and nearby Marymere Falls.

 

 canoes and cabins along lake crescent at naturebridge campus in olympic national park in Washington state
 

Getting here

 

We can’t wait to see you this summer!

Olympic National Park is on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It is your responsibility to get to and from Olympic at the beginning and end of the course. Travel options are listed below. Please refer to the program-specific preparation packets for exact arrival/departure details.

Travel by Car

If you are planning to drive, please refer to our Google map for directions (or click on the pin on the map to the right).  

Travel by Plane

We offer a shuttle service to and from Seattle International Airport (SEA) on the first and last day of the session. Details noted on the Parent/guardian Logistical Questionnaire.

Important: Participants should purchase tickets for a flight that arrives before 11 a.m. on the arrival day and departs after 12 p.m. on the departure day.  

This service costs $50 each way ($100 round-trip). If you would like to use this service, please contact Katie Draude, our Summer Programs Manager, prior to purchasing tickets to discuss flight times.

 

Getting Prepared: Information for Registered Participants

Ready, set, go!

Unless you are an experienced backpacker, the thought of living in the wilderness for multiple days and nights can be a little daunting. Rest assured that our environmental science educators have a great deal of experience leading wilderness expeditions and will be able to help you live happily and comfortably in the backcountry.

It is important that you arrive physically and emotionally prepared for the challenge. Our Preparing for the 7-day Olympic Mountains Adventure and Preparing for the 13-day Olympic Mountains Expedition guides will help with a complete packing list and guidelines for buying or renting the right equipment and clothing.

Registered Student Paperwork and Information

Registered participants must complete the NatureBridge Registration, Health Screen and Participant Agreement and the Student Contract.

Forms can be returned to the NatureBridge office by
Email - kdraude@naturebridge.org
Fax - 360.928.3046
Mail - NatureBridge
          Attn: Summer Backpacking
          c/o Katie Draude
          111 Barnes Point Road
          Port Angeles, WA 98363

NatureBridge Registration, Health Screen and Participant Agreement: Participating students must visit a physician prior to the course to discuss the course and ascertain that their health is well-aligned with the demands of the course. This form must be signed by both a physician and the parent or guardian of the participant.

NatureBridge Student Contract: Participating students must read and sign this contract prior to the course.

Preparing for the 7-day Olympic Mountains Adventure and Preparing for the 13-day Olympic Mountains Expedition Guides: These guides contain detailed travel information, a packing list, and helpful tips for preparing for your trip.