Outdoor Education Program
Because Stevenson is located in such a unique environment with proximity to numerous outdoor adventure sites, the school encourages participation by all students in our Outdoor Education Programs. Opportunities are plentiful in our weekend trips that include hiking, overnight backpacking, whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, surfing, and climbing at Pinnacles National Monument and Yosemite National Park—world-renowned rock climbing meccas.
The Sophomore Wilderness Expedition not only provides sophomores an exciting extended outdoor trip, but also provides leadership opportunities for experienced juniors and seniors. This outdoor program is led by a number of faculty members and coordinated by the Wilderness Expedition Director.
The Outdoor Education Program also offers after-school courses in sea kayaking, surfing, and rock climbing. These courses offer students an alternative to the classroom or the playing field, a chance to connect with nature, and an opportunity to develop a side of themselves that perhaps they never knew they had.
Stevenson offers an after-school sea kayaking program over the fall and spring terms with multiple course levels offered: introductory kayaking, kayak surfing, and kayak touring.
Within each of these course levels, there will be instruction for beginners and instruction geared toward students with more advanced skills in the sport of kayaking. Paddling ans self-rescue skills are taught to meet the individual needs and experience of each student, while ocean and surf dynamics are explored to instill an appreciation and respect for nature.
Sea kayaking offers a breathtaking lens through which students can observe the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and its vast array of marine wildlife. Whether it is an exploratory paddle or a skills training course, our students will find themselves in places all over the Central Coast from Stillwater Cove to Elkhorn Slough.
More information about the sea kayaking program is available through the Outdoor Education office.
Stevenson offers an after-school indoor climbing program over the fall and winter terms with introductory and competition course levels offered.Those who seek thrilling adventures beyond the gym that will boost their self-confidence and push them to limits they never imagined are invited to join us in an exciting climbing program.
Stevenson’s weekend trips through the Outdoor Education Program offer our students the opportunity to get away from the routine of school life and rejuvenate themselves in the outdoors. Throughout the year we offer a number of trips that take the students away for one or two nights. Students can choose from a variety of outdoor settings and adventures, depending on their interest level. Trips range from a rugged three-day backpacking trip in the Sierra to a car camping trip in Joshua Tree National Monument. Whichever path they choose, a weekend of new experiences and fond memories is guaranteed.
The outdoors can also be a place to gain self-confidence, to take on leadership roles, or to test group skills. Students will be in settings where they have to cooperate with others and work as a team to achieve a goal. They will learn outdoor skills such as camp cooking and how to read a topographic map. They will be faced with challenges that test their perceived limits. California is filled with many gorgeous and unforgettable places to seek and explore. We hope these outdoor experiences will refresh our students and spark an interest in future involvement with the program.
Fall Term Trip Schedule
Cliff Lake - Moderate backpacking
Join us for this annual trip to Cliff Lake, located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. We will spend three days and two nights camping next to a scenic high-mountain lake with endless opportunities for exploring. There will be plenty of time spent relaxing next to the lake, swimming, fishing, reading a book, or exploring the various surrounding peaks.
Ventana Double Cone - Advanced backpacking
In this three-day trip, we will attempt to summit one of the highest peaks in the Ventana Wilderness, which is located about an hour south of the School. If we reach the top we will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the most isolated and pristine spots in the Coast Range.
East Side Trip - Rock climbing, fly-fishing, kayaking
We will take a combined trip to the east side of the Sierra where climbing, fly-fishing, and kayaking will be offered. You will find some of the best rock and most beautiful water anywhere in the country. Nights will be spent camping by the fire and comparing stories from the day.
Winter Term Trip Schedule
Pinnacles National Monument - No experience necessary
The annual hunt for Elvis is a special trip Mr. Thayer takes every year. You will go for a day hike to explore caves and hike in the high peaks, where there are stunning views of the surrounding area. If you are lucky, you might have an Elvis sighting.
Spring Term Trip Schedule
Joshua Tree National Monument - Car camping
Joshua Tree is located in the heart of the Southern California desert. This area is known all over the world for its desert climate, as well as its quality rock and incredible crack climbing. The weekend will be spent exploring this unique desert environment. All day Friday and Saturday will be spent hiking the trails within the park and exploring the exotic environment of this desert. You may want to bring along your climbing shoes, for there are endless opportunities for bouldering throughout the park. Click here to see current weather conditions in the Joshua Tree area.
Pinnacles National Monument - Rock climbing
The Pinnacles National Monument is the hottest climbing spot for Peninsula climbers. The metamorphic rock makes for great climbing and great scenery as well. We will spend one night camping out and put in a full day of climbing before we head home. Click here to see current weather conditions in the Pinnacles National Monument area.
The Sophomore Wilderness Expedition, an 11 day backpacking trip during spring break, introduces students to an exciting and rugged wilderness environment through outdoor activities while emphasizing the development of a positive attitude toward challenging situations. This is accomplished while simultaneously teaching specific outdoor skills to meet the physical demands made by the environment.
Described by alumni as one of the most defining experiences from their Stevenson years, the Sophomore Wilderness Expedition is an opportunity to be challenged, to form strong bonds with classmates, and to develop lifelong skills and a love for the great outdoors.