Looking for Adventure? We’ve Got Plenty for All Ages

Jumping Into Adventures

Our optional wilderness program’s inception in 1946 is still the foundation of today’s programming. These unparalleled opportunities offer new and exciting experiences for beginners and seasoned campers alike.

For the New to Camping, don’t worry, we start with the basics. Before departing on an overnight trip, campers learn the skills they need to be safe and comfortable while they’re away, things like how to set up a tent, cook a meal, and roast a marshmallow over a campfire. For the Apprehensive  a “sleep under” for the overnight allows the camper to participate worry-free in all the fun up until bedtime. An overnight bag is always packed in case they change their mind. For those Seeking more Adventure, we offer the opportunity to backpack, bike, canoe, fish, rock climb, or sail on trips ranging in length from 1-9 days.

What Does Adventure Mean To You?

At Thunderbird, we know this means different things to different campers. Our goal is to help define your interest and make it happen! The possibilities are endless!

What Adventure Are You Looking for…..

  • A day on a high ropes course, guided fishing trip, float trip on the Mississippi or an overnight bike trip. 
  • Canoeing on the Mississippi, other Minnesota rivers, Boundary Waters or Canadian waters for 3-9 days.
  • Rock climbing on the North Shore of Lake Superior, biking for 3-7 days on Minnesota’s “rails to trails”, backpacking for 3+ days on the Superior Hiking Trail or Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.
  • Or, do you want the option to backpack, white water raft and tour Washington, Wyoming, Vermont, Maine, Canada and more? Check out T-Bird Expeditions to see how campers grow into and not out of Thunderbird.
  • Have a new idea and want to present it to camp, we may be able to offer it!

Ready for the next step?

For campers who have completed eighth grade and are looking for new adventures, we offer an optional full season program called Progressions. Campers who participate in Progressions, have the best of both worlds. They continue to enjoy the camp-based activities and also embark on progressively longer backpack and canoe trips that qualify them to participate in T-Bird Expeditions. It is incredible to watch the transformation that occurs as our campers weave through this summer’s experience. Many start off nervous/excited and return home with a newfound self-assurance and greater understanding of the importance of how team work and grit afford mastery of skills and memories.

Tbird Expeditions

Boy doing a high ropes course at camp

Our adventure programming is truly unique. Only Thunderbird offers campers the opportunity to transition into a Teen Adventure Program experience so they never leave their camp friends or community. Campers completing 9th-11th grade opt into these trips and travel on multi-week adventures that start and finish at Thunderbird. You can’t beat the excitement of experiencing new challenges in some of the United States and Canada’s most renowned places with their friends and counselors from T-bird! And, the best part is we offer Worry Free Parenting!  You will never need to research or think about how entertain your teen in the summer because the leadership at Thunderbird does the staff vetting, trip planning and supervision of the trips in the summer.

Trip programs include:

Adventure Quest (AQ) – Two distinct half season, with an option to attend full season including biking, sea-kayaking, canoeing or rock climbing in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. For campers who’ve completed 9th grade. Pre-season, these campers customize their adventure. Here are some options:

  • Bike along picturesque Lake Superior

  • Sea-Kayak in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, paddling through caves and swimming in crystal clear water amid rock formations.
  • Canoe through the interconnected waterways and pristine wilderness of the Boundary Waters or Voyageurs National Park.
  • Rock climb on the picturesque and challenging bluffs along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
  • Sightsee, hike to waterfalls and lighthouses along Lake Superior.

Pacific Northwest (PNW) Trip – A full season program including a five-week backpacking and touring trip in Washington state and Oregon. For campers who’ve completed 9th grade.

  • Olympic National Park: Backpack for 3-days along the Pacific Ocean coast, camp on the beach, play in the tide pools and ocean and epic sunsets. Then move to the inland of the park for a 5-day hike through the old growth forests, snow capped peaks and waterfalls.
  • Backpack for eight days in North Cascade National Park, where hikers spot elk, mountain goats, eagles and more while traveling through endless wildflower fields and jagged mountain peaks.

  • Explore Mount Rainier National Park‘s awesome visitor center and Skyline Trail, where you can hike on snow and among wildflowers.
  • Whitewater raft with guides on the Clackamas and Deschutes rivers in northern Oregon. Gently rolling currents plus energizing rapids combine to create the perfect two-day river adventure.
  • Sightsee in Seattle and other unique Pacific Northwest towns.
  • Travel by ferry to the San Juan Islands where you’ll visit Mt. Constitution and whale watch in Friday Harbor.

Canadian Canoe Trip – A full season program that culminates in a 14-21 day canoe trip in Canadian waters or on the Bloodvein River. Highlights:

Boys rowing in a canoe on a river

  • Whitewater canoeing skills during three days of paddling school near Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Enjoy the pristine and rugged Boundary Waters on a prep trip.
  • Venture into the Canadian wilderness of Ontario and Manitoba for an extended canoe trip. Lake hop on the first half of the trip then shoot the rapids of the Bloodvein River until you reach Lake Winnipeg at the trip’s end.


Junior Leader (JL) Trip – A full season program including a five-week trip in the Western United States and Canada. For campers who’ve completed 10th grade. Highlights:

  • Travel to famous western sites like the Badlands, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug.
  • Backpack for five days in the Wind River Range, Wyoming.
  • Raft on the Yellowstone River
  • Hike in Grand Teton National Park
  • Gain 40 hours of community service cutting trails, restoring campsites or building bridges during a six-day service project with the US Forest Service in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.
  • View breathtaking glaciers, massive waterfalls and snow-covered peaks on a 5-day backpacking trip in Mount Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia.
  • Experience Kananaskis Country in western Alberta on a 3-day backpacking trip through alpine meadows and jagged peaks.

Counselor-In-Training (CIT) Trip – A full-season program including a 3-week trip in the Northeastern United States. For campers who’ve completed 11th grade. While on a trip, campers receive instruction about what it takes to be an effective camp counselor. Once back at camp, the CIT’s who choose to stay all summer begin the transition to staff members, living in camper cabins alongside experienced camp staff. Highlights:

    • Sea-Kayak with a guide company for 2-days through the rocky islands of coastal Maine off the coast of Bar Harbor.
    • Visit Acadia National Park and hike the Atlantic coast’s highest point, Cadillac Mountain.
    • Backpack for 4-days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and climb to the top of a few Presidential Peaks.
    • Visit the trails and waterways of the Adirondack Mountains of New York while canoeing or backpacking.
    • Sightsee and college tour in Burlington, Vermont, and visit the nearby Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory or climb Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s highest undeveloped peak.
    • Visit Niagara Falls and take the “Maiden of the Mist” boat tour.

Camp Thunderbird is an authorized permittee of Grand Teton National Park 

Are you ready to choose your adventure?