Outdoor Leadership Challenge: San Juan River   

Ages: 14 +

Dates: July 19 - July 31 *this program departs on a Sunday

Tuition: $2,900
Overnights: 12

Challenge Level:  

Academy’s flagship program returns in 2020 with an exciting new collection of locations and activities! Designed to teach “Leadership in Action”, OLC will take students from the soaring peaks of the San Juan Mountains to the sunken canyons of the San Juan River. Under the professional and passionate leadership of Academy field staff, students will be encouraged to challenge themselves through daily excursions, activities and adventures. Our expedition will begin with three nights in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area backcountry where they will learn important skills such as proper packing, route planning, safe mountain travel, reading weather and emergency preparedness. Students will then work together to attempt a summit of an iconic peak located in the San Juans where these skills will all be called into action.  We will then head south and prepare for a cultural excursion into the heart of the vibrant Southwest. Students will immerse themselves in the native culture, natural environments and living history of the Native American history with a stewardship project through Friends of Cedar Mesa. Our grand finale will be a 7-day river trip journey down the scenically stunning and culturally rich San Juan River. OLC will once again partner with Grand Canyon Youth for a “service and science” river adventure that will include a citizen science program, place-based art projects and a service learning group project. Students will team up with professional guides to paddle this stunning 84-mile stretch of canyon that includes desert bighorn sheep, side hikes to petroglyph panels and Anasazi ruins, sandy beaches and star filled night skies. OLC will ignite your flames of discovery while challenging you to look at the world and yourself from the unique vantage point of the San Juan Mountains and San Juan River!
Program Itinerary: *Subject to change

Day 1

Meet and Greets. Menu plan and group shop. Start backpacking trek!

Day 2-3

Team building activities and backcountry preparedness workshops in the field. Continue point-to-point trek.

Day 4 

Final morning in the alpine backcountry. Hike out to trail head and drive to Cedar Mesa. Intro to service with Friends of Cedar Mesa!

Day 5

Service project with Friends of Cedar Mesa. Evening orientation with Grand Canyon Youth. Camp at the put-in.

Day 6-11

Launch the San Juan River for 5 days of wilderness exploration! GCY specialists will lead our exploration journey into the heart of the Navajo Nation. Students will explore the petroglyphs and ruins of the Anasazi culture, participate in citizen science projects and enjoy the Academy's longest river trip of 2020!

Day 12

Final Morning on the RIO! Arrive at take-out. De-rig and celebrate an amazing adventure! Drive to Dolores and enjoy one final camp out with your group.

Day 13

Pack up camp and head back to Telluride! Hugs, high fives, and parent pick-up.


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

Click pack for a packing list
Rent or purchase discounted gear 

*Students are required to provide a backpack for this program. Packs can be rented with Paragon Sports by using the link above.

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