About the Program

Tour Snapshot

Dates:DaysAgesCostRound Trip
2213-17$3,400Austin or Fort Worth, TX
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Traveling round trip from Texas via a 15 passenger van and trailer campers will take the best of the west!. NO AIRFARE or expensive equipment to purchase! The Western Excursion is an action packed service trip for teens that combines the adventure of the Rocky Mountains with an opportunity to give back to the community and help restore the damaged caused by forest fires. Imagine backpacking along snow capped mountains, whitewater rafting down the mighty Arkansas River through one of the deepest canyons in Colorado, traversing the tallest sand dunes in North America, and exploring the iconic Arches of Utah. If this sounds like fun then this is the trip for you. For our service project we have teamed up with the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs to help restore Waldo Canyon following a devastating fire in 2012. We will help install log erosion barriers, rake hydrophobic soil, and reseed the ravished areas. On this EPIC trip through Colorado and Utah, teens will no doubt leave with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

More Info

22 Day Western Excursion Service ItineraryNo Previous Experience or Expensive Gear Required!
Day 1Welcome to Camp / Travel
Day 2EPIC Clinic - Great Sand Dunes Backpacking
Day 3-4Great Sand Dunes Backpacking
Day 5Whitewater Raft Royal Gorge
Day 68 Hours of Service - Install Log Erosion Barriers
Day 78 Hours of Service - Repair Hydrophobic Sand
Day 8Raft Browns Canyon
Day 9Raft Wildhorse Canyon and the Narrows
Day 10Rest and Laundry - Prepare for Backpacking Trip
Day 11-15Backpacking Trip
Day 16Logistics
Day 17-18Explore Arches National Park
Day 19Mountain Bike - Moab
Day 20Explore Four Corners / Pagosa Springs
Day 21Drive to Palo Duro Canyon / EPIC Banquet
Day 22Depart for Home


EPIC Adventures is excited to partner with the Flying W Ranch Foundation for the second year in a row! Together we will work to restore the damages caused by the Waldo Canyon fires of 2012. The fire destroyed more than 18,000 acres and 346 homes. At that time, it was the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history. About 20% of the damaged area was so severe that no living vegetation was left on the surface and the root systems were destroyed to a depth of four inches. The damaged areas were likened to that of the surface of the moon with no ability to allow for growth. We will spend a day learning how to repair this hydrophobic soil in order to prepare it to receive seeds and seedlings. Hydrophobic soil is created when burnt organic matter soaks into the ground and makes the ground impervious to water and essentially creates waterproof soil.

errosion control barriers

The scars created by the fire have also led to mudslides and flooding in the area due to the runoff and will continue to impact the area until the vegetation is replaced to soak up and slow the water down. Hydrophobic soil creates an estimated 40%-60% increase in runoff and without preventive measures will only continue to cause problems for the surrounding communities. Teens will work to build log erosion barriers to slow down the water. By placing damaged timber in the path of the water, the runoff can be slowed down enough to allow the forest to heal itself. Our teens will learn firsthand the devastation forest fires can have on an area. The feeling of pride and accomplishment gained by performing service work tends to last a lifetime. Aside from knowing that they helped to make an impact, teens will also receive a certificate of service showing 12 hours of completed community service that can be used to bolster college applications and resumes.

On our first stop on this EPIC Adventure we jump right into our first backpacking trip. To build a strong foundation, teens go through our EPIC wilderness clinic where they learn the basics of back country safety, securing tarps for shelter, water filtration, cooking skills, hiking tips, how to properly pack a pack, orienteering, and risk management. In addition we also teach Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics to help promote good expedition behavior and conservation before we hit the trail. Once on the trail, we will spend 3 days and 2 nights exploring the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado and hiking up to 12,000’ where the air gets thin and the views get big!  This bizarre landscape of sand dunes rising above 700’ was created by ocean waters and wind over time.

Royal gorge

Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas,” we will explore it from top to bottom. Teens will whitewater raft and take on the Arkansas River’s class II-IV rapids. Names like Sledgehammer, Soda Pop Rock, and Boat Eater will no doubt leave campers wanting more! Just to make sure teens get the full scope of what they rafted, we will take it to the top and check out the highest bridge in the United States. From 955 feet above the Arkansas River we can look down on some of the rapids we conquered and watch as other rafts come through.

This is arguably the most popular section of whitewater rafting in Colorado. We will spend a full day rafting through this narrow gorge navigating around huge boulders, waterfalls, and class III-IV rapids- Big Drop, Seidel’s Suckhole, and Twin Falls just to name a few! In between rapids we get some amazing views of the Sawach Mountain Range, home to many of Colorado’s highest mountain peaks. It is not uncommon to see a bighorn sheep perched along the rugged canyon walls. Majestic views and fun rapids make for an EPIC day!

This class II river trip takes on an added level of adventure when we hit the water in ducks! These are not the ducks that go quack! These ducks are inflatable kayaks that let teens get up close and personal with the whitewater. Following comprehensive instruction, campers get the chance to make all the decisions and show off their whitewater skills.  Duck trips are always a camper favorite and often the catalyst for some EPIC tales.

We put in just south of the Arkansas River headwaters for an action packed 11 miles of back to back class III+to IV rapids! Campers will spend the day powering through the Miracle Mile, Frog Rock, The Silver Bullet, and House Rock Rapid on this fun and splashy section of river! When campers are not wiping water out of their faces they will be in awe of the snow capped 14,000′ Collegiate Mountain Range in the distance.

colorado backpacking

Strap on your pack because we are going to hike to the summit of one the “fourteeners” Colorado is famous for! Working together as a group we head out on our second backpacking trip for what will be a an incredible journey past mountain streams and waterfalls as we climb above the tree line to the take in the view from 14,000 feet! Teens consistently learn more from our backpacking trips than any other element of camp. They are challenged appropriately and must work together as teams to follow routes, choose campsites, lead the group, build shelters, find and treat water, attend to good health and more!  Campers prepare meals over campfires or stoves each night and set up and sleep in tarp shelters.


Taking a break from the mountains, we head down for a dramatic change of scenery to Moab, Utah to discover the wonders of the desert. Moab is known around the world as a mountain biking mecca that offers countless trails suitable for every skill level. Never been mountain biking before? Don’t worry; we will spend time learning the ropes before we head out. Once everyone is comfortable and ready we will hop on our mountain bikes and spend the day finding out what this place is all about.  Peddling through beautiful canyons and across mesa tops, campers can be challenged to the best of their abilities all while taking in the sights of nearby Arches National Park. If you only go mountain biking one time in your life, this is the place!

Check out one of America’s most iconic natural landscapes! Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world famous Delicate Arch. We will explore narrow passages and discover the Fiery Furnace from the inside out. In the evenings expect to find yourself in the middle of a giant post card as the sun sets on the sandstone to reveal one of the most unique sunsets your will see!

Four Corners

Stand in four states at once! The only place in the United States where four states border in what is known as the quadripoint. The exact spot where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah touch. Random fact: six different governments have jurisdiction of this area including the Navajo Nation and Ute Tribe.



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