Outdoor Leadership Challenge: San Juan River   

Ages: 14 +

Dates: July 19 - July 31 *this program ends on a Saturday

Tuition: $2,900
Overnights: 12

Challenge Level:  

Telluride Academy’s Outdoor Leadership Program is BACK in 2021! This immersive, two-week experience will give students ample outdoor time while incorporating science, environmental education and regional cultural immersion. We’ll concentrate heavily on teamwork, leadership, community and sustainable outdoor practices. Our first day will focus on introductions, both to each other and our partner organization, Telluride Institute. The Institute will lead us through a Valley Floor science project before easing us into the start of our backpacking trip the following day. The start of our backpacking trip will take us up high into Prospect Basin where we’ll explore the local elk habitat, learn about the unique ecosystem, hike below soaring peaks and participate in an ecology-based service project. After our adventures atop the ski resort we’ll re-stock our packs and start our three-day journey back to town via Bear Creek and Bridal Veil basin. We’ll wander through dense forests, trek high above tree line, explore old mining structures and discover our own strengths. On the last day of our alpine adventure, we’ll get picked up at Bridal Veil Falls and go for a celebratory sunset SUP at McPhee Reservoir, our new base camp.

The second portion of our program kicks off in Montezuma County where we will learn about conservation and regenerative agriculture with Montezuma Land Conservancy, understand the inner workings of a local ranch, participate in intricate research projects and bolster our regional, cultural understanding. Telluride Institute, Fozzie’s Farm and Ute Mountain Ute specialists will give us true, unique insight into issues facing our environment and our communities. To culminate our experience, we’ll drive down to Bluff, Utah where we will launch the San Juan for a three day, two night river expedition. Our expert guides will take us to hidden ruins and ancient rock art that’s only accessible by water craft. We’ll get ample stories about ancestral pueblo culture and the history of the sacred San Juan before taking out and heading home.  We’ll celebrate with tacos on the way back to Telluride and grant sweet goodbyes to all the wonderful and new friends we’ve made!

Program Itinerary: *Subject to change

Day 1

Meet and Greets. Valley Floor Science project with Telluride Institute.

Day 2-3

Backpack into Prospect Basin. Explore and participate in ecological restoration project with Telluride Institute.

Day 4-5

Alpine backpacking adventure from Prospect Basin to Bridal Veil Basin!

Day 6

Hike out of Bridal Veil Basin. Drive down to McPhee Reservoir for sunset SUP session and to set up new base camp.

Day 7-9

Fozzie's Farm and Ute Mountain Ute! Learn about sustainable and regenerative agriculture, participate in research projects, learn about local Native American culture.

Day 10

Final day with Fozzie's Farm and Ute Mountain Ute! Drive to Bluff and camp at the river put-in.

Day 11-12

Launch the San Juan River with Wild Expeditions! Camp along the shores and explore hidden ruins and ancient rock art.

Day 13

Take-out and celebrate with tacos! Drive home and say goodbye. Thanks for a great program!


*A detailed itinerary will be available on the first
day of the program. Schedule subject to change

Click pack for a packing list

*Students are required to provide a backpack for this program.

*River trips are dependent on water levels, weather and ability and are subject to change.