Summer Teen River Trips

Get Lost in Adventure & Find Yourself!

Come alive with adventure and discover the beauty of nature accessible only by river travel! We will leave behind the modern world and use only what we carry in our boats, our own resourcefulness, and the gifts that nature provides.

Why paddle with Living Earth School?

Living Earth Teen Expeditions are the perfect blend of deep wilderness immersion, leadership lessons, team building, and personal development.

  • Your teens will learn how to be a part of nature instead of just moving through nature, connecting them with something much bigger than themselves.
  • Our river guides are trained, professional naturalists who provide meaningful mentorship throughout the trip.
Upper Potomac River Trips

Paddle along the historic C&O Canal, learning the natural and human history of the Potomac Watershed. This beginner-friendly trip is geared toward participants with little to no experience on the water. Teens will walk away with the skills to work as a team with peers in both canoes and camp. Pulling one’s weight and doing one’s task makes the camp and boats move smoothly with grace.

Introduction to River Skills—The Upper Potomac is a large, flat river, providing the perfect environment for new paddlers to develop their skills in a low risk environment. Skills learned include:

  • Proper basic canoe paddling techniques, water safety, and river navigation.

  • The trip will cover about 45 river miles, with the longest paddling day covering about 10 miles. River miles vary depending on water levels.

Introduction to Wilderness Camping—Teens will learn the skills to live in the backcountry and be able to apply them to future adventures, on or off the river including:

  • Low impact camping: how to pick the right campsite, set up a tent, and stay dry

  • Backcountry cooking: how to start a fire and keep it going, over-the-fire cooking techniques, stove cooking, and fire safety
  • Expedition planning: survival skills, including water filtration, packing the proper gear, and route planning
Upper James River Trips

Paddling the historic Upper James River, teens will explore how the river can teach us to be our best selves. They will walk away knowing how to use past knowledge and skills to enrich and persevere through tougher, longer, and more challenging experiences. No prior river experience is necessary.

Introduction to Rapids—On this section of the James River, teens will learn to navigate whitewater, ranging from mild ripples up to Class III rapids. Skills learned include:

  • Proper intermediate canoe and kayak whitewater paddling techniques, swift water safety, and navigation through river obstacles.
  • Participants will carry and maintain all required gear in more challenging environments.
  • The trip will cover about 68 river miles, with the longest paddling day covering 17 miles. River miles vary depending on water levels.

Focus on Team Building:

  • Teens will be camping at organized campsites with like minded participants who are experienced peers in Living Earth and personal expedition experiences.
  • Participants will experience the impact of human development and industrialization and will discuss the process of reclaiming damaged spaces for the benefit of all species.

Details & Registration – River Expeditions

  • Ages 13 – 18

  • 2024 Dates:

    River Trip 1: June 9 -14 (Potomac)

    River Trip 2: July 14 – 19 (James)

    River Trip 3: July 21- 26 (Potomac)

  • Drop off and Pick up times differ by river trip location!

    Potomac River: Sunday drop off at 1 pm. Friday pick up at 1 pm.

    James River: Sunday drop off at 9:30 am, Friday pick up at 11:30 am.

  • Location and Drop off/Pick up Times:

    Potomac River: drop off: Spring Gap Campground – Oldtown, MD – Sunday @ 1 pm

    pick up: 15-Mile Creek Campground – Little Orlans, MD – Friday @ 1pm

    James River: drop off: Irongate Boat Launch, Botetourt Rd, Eagle Rock, VA – Sunday @ 9:30 am

    pick up: Wilderness Canoe and Camp, Natural Bridge Station, VA 24579 – Friday @ 11:30 am

  • Cost: $895 per session

    Financial Assistance: We do have a growing Scholarship Fund for campers this summer thanks to generous donors! Please fill out this APPLICATION FORM to be considered for financial assistance. Decisions are made on a first-come first-serve basis and applicants will hear back within 3 weeks. We recommend applying before Jan 15, 2024. The application period ends March 11th, 2024.

  • No Prerequisites

    All group gear and supplies will be included, other than basic camping and clothing needs. We will send a what-to-bring list and details upon your registration. For the James trips, prior river experience is recommended.

  • Free T-shirt included