Teen Expeditions

Teen Leadership Expedition — Pacific Northwest, Whitewater Paddling

Ages 13–14  |  7 days  |  Starting at $1995
Discover the limits of your comfort zone as you brave Oregon’s waterways this summer
A group of teenagers whitewater paddling.

Adventure First

At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning the technical skills to travel & explore remote destinations in the wild Pacific Northwest!

Explore the wild and scenic Deschutes River, which runs clear and cold as it flows to the Columbia. Paddle through exciting rapids & explore canyons, filled with sage brush, soaring osprey, and incredible basalt rock formations. The Deschutes River Canyon provides habitat for approximately 300 different species of wildlife, including birds, mink, mule deer and many reptiles and mammals.

Take a journey up to the breathtaking Pacific Northwest and experience the awe of whitewater rafting through Oregon in this river adventure program. This 7-day overnight teen camping excursion aims to build lifelong leadership traits through character development. The summer teen adventure program features survival skills developed through activities such as camping, hiking and whitewater paddling.

During your expedition, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your paddling skills, as you travel along the river. Learn wilderness camping skills, backcountry navigation, Leave No Trace ethics, and more as you discover Oregon’s backcountry.


  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Awareness certification
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • River Kayaking skills
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Remote wilderness camp craft, including map & compass, stove use, and backcountry cooking.

Course Details

7 days
Portland International Airport (PDX)
Alternative drop off/pick up locations
Alternative drop off days and locations are available, as are pick up locations. Please contact us for options, costs, and additional information.
Register for Course
Skills Acquired
  • Develop Kayaking skills
  • Whitewater Raft on the Deschutes River
  • Advance your knowledge of environmental science and outdoor leadership  — while discovering Oregon’s wild, beautiful places
  • Acquire the skills needed to travel in remote, pristine destinations around the world!
Academic Credits

Not currently offered for this expedition.

An NCOAE instructor rowing a raft.


  • Gain new leadership and outdoor skills 
  • Make new friends and lasting memories 
  • Explore Oregon’s wild and remote high desert from the river to the trails 
  • Challenge yourself like never before 
  • Eat amazing backcountry meals 

On the Map

  • Deschutes River
  • Cascade Mountains
  • Central Oregon

Talk to Us

Have any further questions about the course location, what you'll learn, or what else to expect? Contact us, we're here to help!





Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 7-day Pacific Northwest – Teen Whitewater Paddling Adventure?

Experience a multi-day wilderness adventure during which you’ll participate in whitewater rafting, kayaking and camping activities – while learning how to travel in the backcountry.

You’ll explore the Deschutes River and surrounding Cascade Mountains as you practice the basics of camp setup, map & compass use, kayaking, backcountry cooking, and other outdoor skills.

How far will I be traveling?

You and your group will travel more than 20 miles down cool mountain streams and hike to cascading waterfalls, while practicing kayaking, rafting, and camping skills needed to explore rugged, remote areas around the world!

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be living in tents and enjoying our evenings in different areas most nights, identifying the stars and sharing highlights of our learning.

Who should take this course?

This course is best suited to those who want to challenge themselves and learn new skills in the outdoors!

Is the 7-day course offered in other locations or on different dates?

We offer this course in a variety of locations and during different periods throughout the summer to accommodate the destination and schedule that works best for you.

You can also explore the Pacific Northwest and North Carolina on other multi-day teen expeditions!

What do I need to do to physically prepare for this course?

You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to paddle your own boat, with your own gear and some group gear.

What is the average group size and instructor/student ratio?

Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 12 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every six students.

What are the minimum and average ages of participants?

Students enrolled in this course are 13-14 years old.

What gear and equipment do I need?

NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the NCOAE pack list for this course.

Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in Oregon?

Your tuition with NCOAE covers all major costs related to your room, board, and lodging, except when specified in the itinerary. Students should bring a small amount of spending money for personal items; such as souvenirs, extra snacks, and gifts.

What kind of food will I be eating?

Since we will be carrying all of our food in our boats, we’ll be eating many of the items that begin in their dehydrated forms; extra water weight is not something we want to carry. Expect meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even fresh baked bread and pizza! Of course, you’ll be making them all from scratch — learning to cook backcountry gourmet on the trail.

What do I need to know about travel to and from the course location?

Arrival: Check-in will be between 10:00am – 10:30am PT at Portland International Airport (PDX). NCOAE staff will sign your student in, collect any medication, and do a bag check to ensure your student has all needed items for the trip.

If flying, please plan to arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX) on the day of your course, no later than 10 a.m. Pacific Time. A staff member from NCOAE will greet your child at the airport’s baggage claim area, sign them in for their course, collect any medications they may have, and do a bag check to ensure they have everything they need for their course.

To assist your child, you can view the map of PDX — including the location of the baggage claim areas — online at https://www.flypdx.com.

Departure: We provide a shuttle for the group that morning back to Portland International Airport (PDX) where your journey home will begin. Student pick-up will be from 12:00pm – 2:00pm PT at PDX baggage claim on the day your course ends.

If flying, plan to have your child’s flight depart PDX no earlier than 2:00pm PT on the day their course ends.

Request More Info


An instructor showing a student a map.

Participating in an NCOAE course has been one of the greatest experiences of my life!
It helped me to grow emotionally and taught me skills that I am able to transfer into my everyday life. I am truly grateful and lucky to have been a part of this program

Aaron Marshall, NC Teen Adventure Graduate