Camp Echo’s Adventure Trips are an experience unlike any other: canoeing through thousands of lakes in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area, backpacking through spectacular Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the list goes on… Camp Echo’s Adventure trips take the fun, community, and growth opportunities (self-confidence, group living, leadership, and technical outdoor skills) of summer camp on the road and expose participants to a whole new world of experiences.
- Adventure Trips are in the wilderness
- Sleep in tents for duration of program
- Go to the bathroom in the outdoors. Sometimes there are pit toilets or outhouses available, sometimes participants and staff will need to use nature, urinating in nature and digging a hole to defecate (poop).
- Programs are led by qualified staff, trained to lead in the outdoors. Every trip has at least one (but often two) 21+ year old staff and Wilderness First Responder (the industry standard for wilderness medicine).
- Trips generally have 6-8 participants. Trips for 9th-12thgraders are all gender during enrollment but sometimes shift to single gender based on demand. Trips for 8th graders are identified as single gender during registration.
- Trips challenge EVERYONE in different ways, across spirit, mind, and body. Campers need to physically ready to exert themselves everyday while on trip and mentally ready to overcome various challenges such as rainy weather, insects, blisters, and group living. The challenges of these trips provide unparalleled opportunities for growth.
- All trips will begin at Camp Echo, with bus transportation provided from the McGaw YMCA in Evanston. All travel and food expenses are included in the cost of the trip, including airfare for Cascades Backpacking.
Click below to learn more about Camp Echo’s Adventure Trip opportunities:
This trip is great for rising 8th graders who have already completed the Trailblazers I trip (North Manitou Island and Manistee River) or have other camping experiences.
Trailblazers II will end a day early directly in Evanston.
When campers arrive to Echo on the first day, they begin by reviewing backpacking skills– packing a multiday pack, hiking with loaded packs, fitting boots, and packing out food and gear from our trip center. After fully preparing the group leaves camp on their journey to Porcupine Mountain State park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The group will be on trail for the next 8 days, hiking approximately 6-8 miles per day. There is something for everyone on this trip – the breathtaking coastline of Lake Superior, countless waterfalls, and acres of shady forests. Participants build confidence and strength as hikers while enjoying the beautiful landscapes and lots of group fun throughout the trip.
Porcupine Mountain Backpacking will end a day early directly in Evanston.
The group heads for Minnesota on Tuesday and begins paddling in the Boundary Waters on Wednesday. The next week is spent “on trail.” By day, participants experience the beauty of waterfalls, rock cliffs, and abundant wildlife including bald eagles and moose. At night, the group enjoys incredible sunsets, dinner around a campfire, and falling asleep beneath a blanket of stars. The group will then get off the water and start their journey home.
Minnesota Canoe I will end a day early directly in Evanston.
Isle Royale Backpacking will end a day early directly in Evanston.
This trip is recommended for trippers who have already completed a two-week wilderness camping program and are ready for a greater challenge.
What happened to Mini-Trailblazers and Trailblazers?
As of November 2021, Camp Echo is not offering Mini-Trailblazers or Trailblazers programming for Summer 2022. As our Adventure Trip program continues to recover from a missed year of trips in 2020, we are focusing our opportunities on our experienced Camp Echo Trippers and campers who have fewer remaining years to experience Adventure Trips.
If possible based on initial enrollments and available staff we will update our offerings in early 2022. If these trips do not return for Summer 2022, we hope to have them back in the mix for Summer 2023!
SUMMER 2022 Adventure Trips Info Video
Click on the slides below for more information related to leadership, safety, and physical preparedness for adventure trips!
All participants entering tenth grade or higher will receive a camper letter, which is a letter from the counselor written directly to the camper (as opposed to a parent letter). This letter highlights the camper’s strengths as well as opportunities for growth to help teen participants when they later apply to work on staff. We believe this process of evaluative feedback provides a growth opportunity for teen program participants.
Trip Guides play a key role in the success of our program. All of our guides have been hired for their experience working with youth as well as their specific skills and knowledge of adventure travel. All of our Adventure Trips have at least two staff members. At least one, though often both, members are certified as a Wilderness First Responder and Lifeguard. These guides receive extensive training on camp and in wilderness settings so that they can support all of their groups’ needs, from physical wilderness first aid to providing mental emotional social health support.
Trips are physically and mentally challenging. A challenge well worth it, but does require some preparation to be successful. We encourage Adventure Trip participants to establish a home regimen for building strength and endurance and to be as successful in the new environment as possible. Another option is to sign up for physical conditioning classes at their local YMCA.