The Tahoe Rim Trail Association offers something for everyone, including exciting educational adventures for youth and teens. Whether it's during the height of the Tahoe wildflower season or the crisp, calm of winter, the TRTA provides hands- on, experiential learning opportunities designed to connect youth to the beauty and natural history of the Tahoe Basin. From summer Youth Backcountry Camps to year-round Trailside Education programs for schools, scouts and other youth groups, the TRTA has something for all kids to enjoy.
Trailside Education Programs give you the opportunity to immerse your students in the beauty and natural history of the Tahoe Basin. Join us for an educational day hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail or invite our knowledgeable educators to your school for a classroom presentation.
All programs are aligned with California and Nevada State Academic Standards. Hikes can take place anywhere around the lake on the Tahoe Rim Trail with lengths ranging anywhere from a morning to an afternoon. Depending on the age group, programs are a mix of experiential and nature-based activities. Please review our Teacher Packet for more information on coordinating a Trailside Education program with the TRTA.
Wilderness Skills and Survival (Year-round, school yard option) (For grades 4-8)
The Northern Sierra can be a harsh landscape with temperature extremes, dynamic weather and rugged terrain that test the survival skills of its inhabitants. This class introduces students to the fundamentals of outdoor survival, including: navigation, staying warm, getting found and outdoor leadership. Through activities and discussions, students will be more prepared to tackle their outdoor adventures safely and competently. In the winter, this program is completed on snowshoes.
Plants and Animals of the Tahoe Basin (Year-round, classroom option) (Grades 2-6)
This program is designed to allow young people to use their senses to develop an awareness of the animals and plants that make their home in the Tahoe Basin. Participants will explore an alpine ecosystem and develop a better understanding of what plants and animals need to survive. As we explore Tahoe's web of life, we see how wildfires, human activity and biodiversity impact the health of Tahoe's various ecosystems. In the winter, this program is completed on snowshoes.
No Trace in My Space – Leave No Trace (Year-round, classroom option) (Grades 4-8) - Lesson Plan Preview
The Tahoe Basin was once described as the “Jewel of the Sierra”. Through fun and interactive activities, the TRTA introduce youth to the 7 principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) and teaches them the skills and attitudes needed to be active environmental stewards. Whether participants are recreating in the backcountry or simply taking a walk through their neighborhood, LNT wilderness ethics can help youth learn how to respect wildlife and others, dispose of waste properly and minimize environmental impacts. With LNT, youth will be able to take care of Tahoe’s forests, preserving its natural beauty for generations to come.
Tahoe Rim Trail Time Machine (May – October, on-trail only) (Grades 4-8)
The Tahoe Rim Trail serves as the time machine for this program. As we travel the trail, TRTA staff take participants back in time and into the future. Lessons are learned from the landscape, and the group will follow in the footsteps of the Washoe, explorers and settlers. Young people will reflect upon how the Tahoe Basin’s natural, human and cultural history have influenced the activities in the region over time, as well as consider what the future holds for the Tahoe Basin. Travel back in time and back to the future on the TRT!
Don’t forget to Bring:
Youth Backcountry Camps
Each summer the Tahoe Rim Trail Association partners with Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) and The American Red Cross to offer Youth Backcountry Camps to junior high and high school students. In the same spirit of our guided hikes for adults, Youth Backcountry Camps provide an opportunity for youth to get outdoors with their peers to discover and experience firsthand the beauty of the Lake Tahoe region. These camps are designed for youth with little or no experience living, working and traveling in the backcountry, or for those who want a fun service-learning trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Have questions about Youth Backcountry Camps? Check our FAQ's page!
Participants in Youth Backcountry Camp will learn and experience:
• Navigation with map and compass
• Backcountry living skills
• Wilderness survival skills
• Local ecology and geology
• Outdoor leadership and team building
• Personal reflection and development
• Trail construction and maintenance
• Leave No Trace wilderness ethics
Participants can expect to hike between 2 and 9 miles per day. Camps are limited to 10 - 12 participants per session. The programs are fully supported by well-trained TRTA and TINS staff, and all food, camping gear, permits and transportation to and from the trailheads are provided. Participants only need to provide shoes, clothes, and a passion for the outdoors!
2013 Youth Backcountry Camp Sessions:
Session 1: YBCC June 28 - 30 (3-day backpacking trip for ages 12 - 14) - $225 (Private Session)
Session 2: YBCC July 7 - 11 (5-day backpacking trip for ages 14 - 17) - $335 (Private Session)
Session 3: YBCC-Wilderness First Aid (WFA) July 14 - 18- (ages 14 - 17) - $335 Learn More
Session 4: YBCC-Desolation Wilderness July 21 - 26- (ages 14 - 17) - $395 Learn More
Session 5: YBCC-Mt. Rose Wilderness July 28 - 30- (ages 12 - 14) - $225 Learn More
Scholarships (in full or partial) are available on a need basis. Please read, fill out and return the scholarship application to receive funding for one of our YBCCs.
Youth Backcountry Camps present the perfect opportunity for a group backpacking experience in the Tahoe backcountry. If you have a group of teens and are interested in reserving a YBCC Private Session for the summer of 2014, please contact the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for more information. The TRTA can tailor a program to your group's interests and provide prepatory information (like gear lists, when to make travel plans, what to expect from your experience, YBCC Coordinator Packet) to help plan the logistics for your YBCC Private Session.
Other Summer Camp Opportunities
Looking for ways to get your younger ones outside this summer? Then look no further than Junior Entomologists and Tahoe Explorers day camps with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS). Designed specifically for students ages 6-12, these camps will give youth an opportunity to discover more about the beautiful Lake Tahoe region while getting their hands dirty! So, while your older teens are summiting mountains and challenging themselves on a Youth Backcountry Camp, your younger ones can be part of these fun, educational nature camps. Register today!
Campers Ages 6- 8
Junior Entomologists - In various outdoor locations around Truckee, young campers will look under logs, among plants, and in tree bark in search of hidden insects. They will also learn what these bugs eat and their important jobs in the ecosystem. Note: Transportation is needed. Usually carpooling with other campers is a good option and can be arranged by you and other parents on the first day of camp.
- Truckee/ North Shore Camps: July 8-11, Monday-Thursday, 9:00am - Noon
- South Lake Tahoe Camps: July 22-25, Monday-Thursday, 9:00am - Noon
Cost: $120; $100 for Tahoe Institute for Natural Science or KidZone Museum
Campers Ages 9- 12
Tahoe Explorers - Campers will learn about wildlife ecology, forest ecology, water ecology, and geology of the Tahoe basin while hiking, kayaking, and learning from various natural science experts. Transportation and all activity fees are included.
- Truckee/ North Shore Camps: June 24-28, 9:00am - 4:00pm
- South Lake Tahoe Camps: July 15-19, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Cost: $260; $230 for Tahoe Institute for Natural Science or KidZone Museum Members