Hikes through the forest to search for animal tracks and learn how animals adapt and survive on Donner Summit.

  • Tree identification and the many benefits of forest.
  • Hands-on assessment of the carbon sequestration capacity of local trees.
  • Rich and empowering discussions to relate forest ecology to students’ carbon footprint.


  • Riparian habitat/streamside surveys, and wetland studies in Van Norden Meadow
  • Participation in field studies that are conducted in collaboration with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Science.
  • Data collection may include: macroinvertebrate surveys; stream transects and maps; amphibian surveys; ground water measurement; vegetation surveys.
  • Discussions about current issues in Van Norden meadow. Career opportunities in wetland ecology and restoration. Led by local experts in the field.
  • Historical impacts on the meadow ecosystem and South Yuba Watershed, from native populations, settlers, and modern development .


  • Explore historical climate patterns and how they shaped the Sierra Nevada
  • Discuss current climate change research and future questions to address
  • Investigate local issues, such as climate refugia, snowpack and water storage, drought and development
  • Identify current plant and wildlife adaptations to a changing climate, and consider future challenges
  • Contemplate current and future solutions to mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change


  • Student may visit the Central Sierra Snow Lab to learn about current studies taking place on Donner Summit
  • Hands-on measurement of snow density and Snow Water Equivalent
  • Learning the anatomy of a snowflake and many unique crystal formations
  • Discover the Sierra’s role as California’s water bank


  • Explorations of the volcanic and granitic landforms of Donner Summit
  • How the Sierra Nevada mountains were formed
  • Glacial movement and the creation of watersheds


  • Walk back in time to explore:
  • Tunnel Number Six (the most difficult-to-complete section of the entire Transcontinental Railroad)
  • The craggy gap that the emigrant Stevens and Donner parties struggled through with their wagons
  • Some of the oldest petroglyphs found in the Sierra


  • Rock climb the spectacular granite cliffs of Donner Summit. Challenges met and overcome. Face risk with support. Certified, experienced guides.
  • Hike Sierra peaks – Challenge hikes provide “top of the mountain”, breath-taking, 360 views.
  • Snowshoe hikes – Traverse and ascend snowy mountain peaks, in dazzling sparkles of low angle winter light.
  • Flat water kayaking – Paddle mirror-like, pristine alpine lakes, immersing yourself in the joy of
    reflective stillness.
  • Ski or Ride– snowboarding, cross-country or downhill skiing. Exciting snow travel, technical descents, pure magic. Rentals and lessons provided.


  • Yoga and Mindfulness – Ancient practices backed by current brain science. Training pathways in: Self-awareness, Self-care, Recovery, Connectedness, Resilience, Empathy, Happiness, Peace / Ease, Breathing, Mind-body Integration, Flow States, and Peak performance.

BOOK NOW: A typical field trip integrates our leading edge Field Studies with Mountain Adventure and/or Wellness curricula. Serving over 1,000 student annually, we customize our programming to meet your goals, needs, and challenges. Top private schools and inspired public schools return year after year.
CONTACT: Greg Bernstein, Director of Operations;