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  • Explore the city of Denver
  • Hike from Crested Butte to Aspen
  • Trek in stunning Crested Butte
  • Enjoy delicious campfire cuisine
  • Ute Indian cultural immersion program
  • Shavano Valley exploration
  • Gain incredible views from the summit of the "Red Lady"
  • Rafting down the Browns canyon
  • Join a conservation service learning program

This 9-day course will immerse students in different mountain environments throughout Colorado. In association with the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, students will engage and participate in active and experiential education. The focus of this course will be centered around natural history, hiking and students will gain a further understanding of biological concepts in different climactic zones in Colorado. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to work and volunteer with the United States Forest Service on a unique service project to gain further understanding of how the land is managed in alpine regions of Colorado. In addition, students will gain knowledge about the Ute Indian tribe and visit the Shavano valley. This exceptional expedition focuses on experiential education guided by experts in the field of Environmental Science and Outdoor Education. Crested Butte, Aspen and the Arkansas river valley is an exceptional environment for adventure, fun and learning. Simply put, there is no better place to spend the summer in the USA!


Start and Finishing Point:




Welcome to Colorful Colorado! Upon arrival, our World Expedition representative will be awaiting your arrival at the Denver International Airport. Once you have all our belongings, you will load up in your private van and drive to your accommodation for a full trip and safety briefing. Your instructor will go over the itinerary in detail and make sure you have everything ready to go for your action-packed week of adventure, fun and learning. After the orientation meeting, you head into town for your first dinner together as a team.

Meals:  L,D

This morning after breakfast, you will load up in the van and explore the historical and cultural highlights of Denver, the capitol of Colorado. You will learn about the history of Colorado and how Denver became the capital city. After the city exploration we have lunch before setting out on a 3–4-hour, beautiful drive, over Cottonwood pass, to our quaint campsite on the Taylor River. This will be home for the next 4 nights! Accommodation camping at Campfire Ranch

Meals:  L,D

This morning you will wake up, cook breakfast, organize camp and depart for our first hike. From camp, we will drive to the town of Crested Butte and explore the historic town with one of the most well-known local legends who has lived in Crested Butte since the 1970’s. You will get to learn how things were and how things have changed, through her lived experience. Subsequently, you will drive North to the town of Gothic and visit the Rocky Mountains Biological Lab field station before heading to the Judd Falls train head. Today the hike will take you up the East Maroon drainage following Copper creek. Crested Butte is the “Wildflower Capital” of the state of Colorado, and you will be amazed by all the different colors that cover the land beneath you. You will cross multiple streams and be walking in a drainage in between 2 ridgelines, until reaching the destination of Copper Lake. Copper lake is an alpine lake right below East Maroon and Triangle pass. You will have lunch, spend some time reflecting and if you’re feeling fit you can walk up to the pass before making your way back down valley. Upon arrival at the van, you will head back to camp and have free time until dinner is served. Your instructor will provide the plan for the next day. (NOTE: We have the ability to change this hike if physical ability is of consideration) Overnight at Campfire Ranch

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will wake up early, pack a road breakfast and lunch, then drive to the Red lady aka Mt. Emmons, trail head. Today will be one of the biggest physical challenges, hiking the beautiful mountain of 12,400 ft. that looks over the town of Crested Butte. Red lady, as the locals call it, has played a significant role in the town politics, which you will learn more about on the hike. You will continue to hike with the goal of making the summit. You will then descend the peak and head back to the trail head, board the van and head back to camp. You will have a well-deserved, hearty and nutritious dinner before hanging out around the campfire for the evening. The instructor will provide the plan for the next day. (NOTE: We have the ability to change this hike if physical ability is of consideration)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning after a hearty breakfast, you will load up in the van and drive to the town of Montrose, Colorado. Today, you will be visiting the Ute Indian museum and Shavano Valley. You will be lead through the museum by an expert Ute guide. They will explain their culture, their history, and the current cultural situation. Beading was an important past time to the Nuchuu (Ute) people, and you will have the opportunity to learn their techniques by making your own beaded crafts. After the museum and beading activity, you will have lunch and then head out to the Shavano valley. The Shavano Valley is a canyon on the Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado, about five miles west of Montrose. The Shavano Valley is the ancestral homeland of the Uncompahgre Ute. The valley itself is about seven miles long and to its southwest there is a trail that winds up from the valley floor to the rim of the gorge. On the cliff face and on the detached boulders are hundreds of years of rock art and petroglyphs. Your guide will give you a tour of the different images and what they mean. After an hour or so, you will load in the van and head back to the campsite on the Taylor River. Upon arrival you will prepare dinner and discuss the day. Overnight Campfire Ranch

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you will get to experience one of the best hikes in Colorado!! This morning you pack up camp and drive to the West Maroon Trail head. From there you begin the hike to the famous town of Aspen, Colorado. Initially, the walk takes you through a beautiful forest and then heads up into the alpine zone at West Maroon Pass. From the pass, you will have 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and of the valley you will descend. You will have lunch and continue hiking until reaching the Maroon Bells, which are iconic mountains near the town of Aspen. An hour later, you will meet our van and drive 1-2 hours to the campsite for the night. You will have a hearty, well-deserved dinner and head to bed early. Your instructor will provide the plan for the next day.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you turn the focus to service learning. For the next day, you will be getting your hands dirty as your group partakes in a unique and rewarding service project. In today’s fast paced and capitalistic world, we believe its vitally important to know and understand the importance of ‘giving back’ and being of service. Depending on the group, you will be volunteering at either, a local farm, to study regenerative agriculture, working with the United States Forest Service or with a working with a private educational institution. Your instructor will provide the plan for the next day.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning, after breakfast, you will head back to the volunteer project, until departing for a BBQ lunch, down by the beautiful, Arkansas river. Your instructor will fire up the coals and you will enjoy some delicious food while you reflect on the hard work you just accomplished. After lunch and with a bit of rest, you will spend the next 2.5 – 3 hours rafting through the amazing, Browns Canyon!! The Browns Canyon stretch of whitewater on the Arkansas river, is one of the most enjoyed, classic and visited stretches of whitewater in the United States. The river carves its way through different types of rock and hosts some of the best class 2 and 3 rapids on the planet. There is no better way to celebrate your achievements, than to get wet, swim and raft in the hot summer sun. Once the rafting trip is over, you will change clothes and board the van back to your hostel in Denver. Upon arrival at the hostel, you will have showers, pack your things and head out for your last night’s, celebratory dinner in downtown Denver.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will pack your bags for the final time and head to Denver Airport for your flight home. On the flight, you will have time to reflect on all of the new, incredible experiences you just had with your classmates. Thank you for choosing World Expedition Schools.

Meals:  B,L

Learning outcomes for students

A World Expeditions Schools adventure is a unique learning experience. Our journeys are designed to encourage thriving and positive youth development along with leaving the communities and environments where we travel in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to enhance the following life skills that will help you grow as an individual:
• the confidence to lead a group and make decisions
• the value of working together as a cohesive team to achieve a common objective
• the ability to face mental and physical challenges
• the ability to adapt to new environments outside of their 'comfort zone'
• to appreciate and care for the natural environment. The environments we trek through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers and also the local peoples
• basic outdoor skills obtained on trek such as personal hygiene, pitching a tent, helping to prepare meals
Importantly our adventures help increase general well-being and build resilience in young citizens to help them deal with adverse situations in life.
World Expeditions Schools absorbs the cost of credits mitigating 100% of the unavoidable carbon emissions. This is our commitment to being part of the solution to climate crises.


  • All accommodation as per the itinerary
  • All meals as per detailed itinerary
  • private vehicle transfers
  • expert wilderness guides
  • all group camping equipment (tents, kitchen gear, water filters, etc)
  • park fees and permits
  • (optional) College course credits guided by a master's level expert in the field, Seth Quigg M.A
  • **Flights can be organised at very competitive rates by World Expeditions Schools if required

  • Sleeping bag, pillow and hiking poles (available to rent)
  • Tips
  • Items of a personal nature


Customise your program

We can fully customise a School Travel Program to suit your students' learning objectives and budget. Whether you require a Service Learning program, physical challenge, cultural immersion or certain curriculum targets - talk to one of our educational travel experts about the elements you need in your itinerary. We pride ourselves on developing unique itineraries to meet the learning requirements for schools.

World Expeditions Schools is a division of one of the world's leading adventure travel companies, World Expeditions. We can develop itineraries in any destination that is offered by World Expeditions, which is to every continent on earth.

Use our simple Expedition Design Form to contact us with your requirements and an educational travel expert will be in touch to assist.

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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