Picture of stone formations in the Israel desert
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Trek West

Trek West is a three-week teen travel adventure in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

  • At a Glance

    21 Days | Current Grades: 8-10

    Community Service: ~8 Hours

    Location: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, & California

  • Dates & Costs

    • Closed
    • 7 Spots or Less

    Land Cost: $5,450

  • Included:

    • Airport pick-up in Phoenix, AZ and drop-off in San Franciso, CA
    • Accommodations (hotels and lodging)
    • All meals
    • All programming
    • Deluxe motorcoach
    • Laundry service
    • Gratuity for program staff
  • Learn More:

Travel through the stunning landscapes of California and the American Southwest on the ultimate road trip adventure for Jewish teens.

Trek West is a three-week journey that combines must-see touring, active outdoor adventures, meaningful Jewish experiences, and a unique opportunity to forge friendships as part of a close-knit group. See a totally new side of America, including the awe-inspiring national parks of Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon National Parks. You’ll climb mountains, explore fascinating cities, and  come home with a sense of accomplishment.

Elements of the Program

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Trek West covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Malibu Beach and fabulous Las Vegas. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest, kayaking on Lake Tahoe and staying at a dude ranch in Utah.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, rafting down the Salt River in Arizona, descending deep into the Grand Canyon, climbing to Angels Landing in Zion and swimming in the desert waters of Lake Powell. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Trek West is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (fixing the planet), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places we stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Trek West opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Raft down the Salt River in Arizona and explore Sedona

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

Experience life on a western dude ranch

Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and UNLV

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | Sedona, Grand Canyon & Bryce

After landing and getting oriented in Phoenix, the adventure begins as we head north to the red rocks of Sedona and a rafting trip down the Salt River. Then it’s on to the truly Grand Canyon where we spend a memorable night along the canyon rim. From the Grand Canyon we continue north into Utah for a challenging (and rewarding) hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park followed by a unique Shabbat at the Ponderosa Ranch.

WEEK #2 | Bryce, Vegas & Los Angeles

Week two begins with Bryce Canyon, yet another national park treasure. From Bryce we start heading due west for Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way we will swim in Lake Mead. In Vegas, we will walk “The Strip” and catch and watch a show. From viva Las Vegas, we head straight for Los Angeles crossing the Mojave Desert along the way. LA is our home for the rest of the week. We will take a tour of Hollywood, relax at Malibu Beach, participate in a local service project, and spend a beautiful Shabbat in the Santa Monica hills at the American Jewish University.

WEEK #3 | Yosemite, Tahoe & the Bay Area

We begin our final week at Yosemite National Park where we will hike to the base of Half Dome and take in some of the most scenic views in the world. From Yosemite we travel through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe, where there will be time for kayaking and swimming. We close out the Trek West experience in San Francisco where we visit all of the highlights of the Bay Area and spend a final Shabbat together on the camps of UC Berkeley.

One Happy Camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: Country Inn & Suites – Scottsdale, Arizona

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Cool off with tubing down Arizona’s Salt River
  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Break to explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Check-in to our accommodations and dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #3 |Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #4 | Friday | Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Travel from Arizona to Utah via Lake Powell and Glen Canyon
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park and discover its otherworldly “Hoodoo” rock formations
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #6 | Sunday | Zion National Park

  • Challenge yourself hiking up Angel’s Landing high above Zion National Park
  • Relax and cool off at the at the Zion Lodge
  • Nature walk to the “Emerald Pools”
  • Evening: Western Film or Stargazing in the desert sky
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #7 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Travel from Utah  to Nevada
  • Photo stop at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign
  • Discover Vegas – CSI: The Experience, M&M World, Bowling at the Silver Nugget, etc.
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Hoover Dam

  • Tour of the monumental Hoover Dam separating Lake Mead from the Colorado River
  • Return to fabuous Las Vegas and walk “the Strip” – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo etc.
  • Evening: Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Begin traveling from Vegas to Los Angeles
  • View the Mojave Desert National Preserve en route
  • Tour the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance
  • Celebrate the spirit of Los Angeles at Venice Beach market
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Prepare meals for the hungry at the Midnight Missions
  • Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and visit to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
  • View of Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory and hike to Mt. Hollywood for stunning views of America’s second largest city
  • Evening: Comedy Club Show in Los Angeles
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #11 | Friday | Los Angeles

  • Take part in a Jewish communal service project
  • Lunch on own at LA’s original Farmers Market and Grove outdoor mall
  • Explore the grounds of the Getty Museum in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Return to campus and prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat in the Los Angeles hills
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #13 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Tour of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley
  • Travel northwards to Yosemite National Park via California’s central valley
  • Arrive to Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #14 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #15 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Paddle surfing, kayaking and beach volleyball on Lake Tahoe
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympic sites
  • Take cable cars up to Squaw Valley’s Swimming Lagoon at 8,200 feet
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #17 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #18 | Friday | Marin County

  • Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on foot connecting San Francisco and Marin County
  • Walk among giants in Muir Woods – Home to ancient redwood trees
  • Picnic-style lunch at Stinson Beach on the Pacific Coast
  • Travel to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais for an epic view across the entire Bay Area
  • Return to the city and experience tea time at the Japanese Gardens of Golden Gate State Park
  • Return to campus to prepare for final Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at local synagogue in Berkeley
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #20 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Travel by boat to explore Alcatraz Prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay
  • Shopping, lunch and wild sea-lion viewing at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ride San Francisco’s traditional cable cars and zig-zag down Lombard Street
  • Jewish San Francisco – Tour of historic Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in America dating back to the California Gold Rush
  • Visit Alamo Park to see the iconic “Painted Ladies” homes
  • Evening: Closing dinner and ice cream at Fenton’s Ice Cream
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Return flights depart from San Francisco Airport

 

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated chaperoned flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is chaperoned by our staff.  Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
We stay in several different kinds of lodgings, ranging from 3-star hotels to college dormotories. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that you pack should be light weight and comfortable in hot temperatures. Whenever we plan to be outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen and water. These rules are strictly enforced because over exposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in the American West is 30 teens.

What’s the food like?
Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

Supervised Connections 

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

  • Trek Pan-America (Trek West #2 + Trek Costa Rica #2)
    35 Days | Current 8th – 10th Graders
  • At a Glance

    21 Days | CURRENT GRADES: 8-10

    Community Service: ~8 Hours
    Location: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, & California

  • 2018 Dates & Costs

    • Closed
    • 7 Spots or Less

    Land Cost: $5,450


  • Included:

    • Airport pick-up in Phoenix, AZ and drop-off in San Franciso, CA
    • Accommodations (hotels and lodging)
    • All meals
    • All programming
    • Deluxe motorcoach
    • Laundry service
    • Gratuity for program staff
  • Learn More:

Travel through the stunning landscapes of California and the American Southwest on the ultimate road trip adventure for Jewish teens.

Trek West is a three-week journey that combines must-see touring, active outdoor adventures, meaningful Jewish experiences, and a unique opportunity to forge friendships as part of a close-knit group. See a totally new side of America, including the awe-inspiring national parks of Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon National Parks. You’ll climb mountains, explore fascinating cities, and  come home with a sense of accomplishment.

Elements of the Program

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Trek West covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Malibu Beach and fabulous Las Vegas. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest, kayaking on Lake Tahoe and staying at a dude ranch in Utah.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, rafting down the Salt River in Arizona, descending deep into the Grand Canyon, climbing to Angels Landing in Zion and swimming in the desert waters of Lake Powell. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Trek West is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (fixing the planet), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places we stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Trek West opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Raft down the Salt River in Arizona and explore Sedona

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

Experience life on a western dude ranch

Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and UNLV

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | Sedona, Grand Canyon & Bryce

After landing and getting oriented in Phoenix, the adventure begins as we head north to the red rocks of Sedona and a rafting trip down the Salt River. Then it’s on to the truly Grand Canyon where we spend a memorable night along the canyon rim. From the Grand Canyon we continue north into Utah for a challenging (and rewarding) hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park followed by a unique Shabbat at the Ponderosa Ranch.

WEEK #2 | Bryce, Vegas & Los Angeles

Week two begins with Bryce Canyon, yet another national park treasure. From Bryce we start heading due west for Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way we will swim in Lake Mead. In Vegas, we will walk “The Strip” and catch and watch a show. From viva Las Vegas, we head straight for Los Angeles crossing the Mojave Desert along the way. LA is our home for the rest of the week. We will take a tour of Hollywood, relax at Malibu Beach, participate in a local service project, and spend a beautiful Shabbat in the Santa Monica hills at the American Jewish University.

WEEK #3 | Yosemite, Tahoe & the Bay Area

We begin our final week at Yosemite National Park where we will hike to the base of Half Dome and take in some of the most scenic views in the world. From Yosemite we travel through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe, where there will be time for kayaking and swimming. We close out the Trek West experience in San Francisco where we visit all of the highlights of the Bay Area and spend a final Shabbat together on the camps of UC Berkeley.

One Happy Camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: Country Inn & Suites – Scottsdale, Arizona

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Cool off with tubing down Arizona’s Salt River
  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Break to explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Check-in to our accommodations and dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #3 |Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #4 | Friday | Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Travel from Arizona to Utah via Lake Powell and Glen Canyon
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park and discover its otherworldly “Hoodoo” rock formations
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #6 | Sunday | Zion National Park

  • Challenge yourself hiking up Angel’s Landing high above Zion National Park
  • Relax and cool off at the at the Zion Lodge
  • Nature walk to the “Emerald Pools”
  • Evening: Western Film or Stargazing in the desert sky
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #7 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Travel from Utah  to Nevada
  • Photo stop at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign
  • Discover Vegas – CSI: The Experience, M&M World, Bowling at the Silver Nugget, etc.
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Hoover Dam

  • Tour of the monumental Hoover Dam separating Lake Mead from the Colorado River
  • Return to fabuous Las Vegas and walk “the Strip” – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo etc.
  • Evening: Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Begin traveling from Vegas to Los Angeles
  • View the Mojave Desert National Preserve en route
  • Tour the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance
  • Celebrate the spirit of Los Angeles at Venice Beach market
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Prepare meals for the hungry at the Midnight Missions
  • Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and visit to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
  • View of Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory and hike to Mt. Hollywood for stunning views of America’s second largest city
  • Evening: Comedy Club Show in Los Angeles
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #11 | Friday | Los Angeles

  • Take part in a Jewish communal service project
  • Lunch on own at LA’s original Farmers Market and Grove outdoor mall
  • Explore the grounds of the Getty Museum in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Return to campus and prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat in the Los Angeles hills
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #13 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Tour of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley
  • Travel northwards to Yosemite National Park via California’s central valley
  • Arrive to Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #14 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #15 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Paddle surfing, kayaking and beach volleyball on Lake Tahoe
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympic sites
  • Take cable cars up to Squaw Valley’s Swimming Lagoon at 8,200 feet
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #17 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #18 | Friday | Marin County

  • Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on foot connecting San Francisco and Marin County
  • Walk among giants in Muir Woods – Home to ancient redwood trees
  • Picnic-style lunch at Stinson Beach on the Pacific Coast
  • Travel to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais for an epic view across the entire Bay Area
  • Return to the city and experience tea time at the Japanese Gardens of Golden Gate State Park
  • Return to campus to prepare for final Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at local synagogue in Berkeley
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #20 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Travel by boat to explore Alcatraz Prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay
  • Shopping, lunch and wild sea-lion viewing at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ride San Francisco’s traditional cable cars and zig-zag down Lombard Street
  • Jewish San Francisco – Tour of historic Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in America dating back to the California Gold Rush
  • Visit Alamo Park to see the iconic “Painted Ladies” homes
  • Evening: Closing dinner and ice cream at Fenton’s Ice Cream
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Return flights depart from San Francisco Airport

 

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated chaperoned flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is chaperoned by our staff.  Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
We stay in several different kinds of lodgings, ranging from 3-star hotels to college dormotories. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that you pack should be light weight and comfortable in hot temperatures. Whenever we plan to be outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen and water. These rules are strictly enforced because over exposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in the American West is 30 teens.

What’s the food like?
Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

Supervised Connections 

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

  • Trek Pan-America (Trek West #2 + Trek Costa Rica #2)
    35 Days | Current 8th – 10th Graders

Trek West

Trek West is a three-week teen travel adventure in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

Trek West

Trek West is a three-week teen travel adventure in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. See a totally new side of America – from bustling cities to the breathtaking national parks!

  • At a Glance

    21 Days | Current Grades: 8-10

    Community Service: ~8 Hours

    Location: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, & California

  • Dates & Costs

    • Closed
    • 7 Spots or Less

    Land Cost: $5,450

  • Included:

    • Airport pick-up in Phoenix, AZ and drop-off in San Franciso, CA
    • Accommodations (hotels and lodging)
    • All meals
    • All programming
    • Deluxe motorcoach
    • Laundry service
    • Gratuity for program staff
  • Learn More:

Travel through the stunning landscapes of California and the American Southwest on the ultimate road trip adventure for Jewish teens.

Trek West is a three-week journey that combines must-see touring, active outdoor adventures, meaningful Jewish experiences, and a unique opportunity to forge friendships as part of a close-knit group. See a totally new side of America, including the awe-inspiring national parks of Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon National Parks. You’ll climb mountains, explore fascinating cities, and  come home with a sense of accomplishment.

Elements of the Program

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Trek West covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Malibu Beach and fabulous Las Vegas. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest, kayaking on Lake Tahoe and staying at a dude ranch in Utah.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, rafting down the Salt River in Arizona, descending deep into the Grand Canyon, climbing to Angels Landing in Zion and swimming in the desert waters of Lake Powell. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Trek West is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (fixing the planet), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places we stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Trek West opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Raft down the Salt River in Arizona and explore Sedona

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

Experience life on a western dude ranch

Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and UNLV

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | Sedona, Grand Canyon & Bryce

After landing and getting oriented in Phoenix, the adventure begins as we head north to the red rocks of Sedona and a rafting trip down the Salt River. Then it’s on to the truly Grand Canyon where we spend a memorable night along the canyon rim. From the Grand Canyon we continue north into Utah for a challenging (and rewarding) hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park followed by a unique Shabbat at the Ponderosa Ranch.

WEEK #2 | Bryce, Vegas & Los Angeles

Week two begins with Bryce Canyon, yet another national park treasure. From Bryce we start heading due west for Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way we will swim in Lake Mead. In Vegas, we will walk “The Strip” and catch and watch a show. From viva Las Vegas, we head straight for Los Angeles crossing the Mojave Desert along the way. LA is our home for the rest of the week. We will take a tour of Hollywood, relax at Malibu Beach, participate in a local service project, and spend a beautiful Shabbat in the Santa Monica hills at the American Jewish University.

WEEK #3 | Yosemite, Tahoe & the Bay Area

We begin our final week at Yosemite National Park where we will hike to the base of Half Dome and take in some of the most scenic views in the world. From Yosemite we travel through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe, where there will be time for kayaking and swimming. We close out the Trek West experience in San Francisco where we visit all of the highlights of the Bay Area and spend a final Shabbat together on the camps of UC Berkeley.

One Happy Camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: Country Inn & Suites – Scottsdale, Arizona

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Cool off with tubing down Arizona’s Salt River
  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Break to explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Check-in to our accommodations and dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #3 |Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #4 | Friday | Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Travel from Arizona to Utah via Lake Powell and Glen Canyon
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park and discover its otherworldly “Hoodoo” rock formations
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #6 | Sunday | Zion National Park

  • Challenge yourself hiking up Angel’s Landing high above Zion National Park
  • Relax and cool off at the at the Zion Lodge
  • Nature walk to the “Emerald Pools”
  • Evening: Western Film or Stargazing in the desert sky
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #7 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Travel from Utah  to Nevada
  • Photo stop at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign
  • Discover Vegas – CSI: The Experience, M&M World, Bowling at the Silver Nugget, etc.
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Hoover Dam

  • Tour of the monumental Hoover Dam separating Lake Mead from the Colorado River
  • Return to fabuous Las Vegas and walk “the Strip” – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo etc.
  • Evening: Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Begin traveling from Vegas to Los Angeles
  • View the Mojave Desert National Preserve en route
  • Tour the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance
  • Celebrate the spirit of Los Angeles at Venice Beach market
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Prepare meals for the hungry at the Midnight Missions
  • Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and visit to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
  • View of Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory and hike to Mt. Hollywood for stunning views of America’s second largest city
  • Evening: Comedy Club Show in Los Angeles
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #11 | Friday | Los Angeles

  • Take part in a Jewish communal service project
  • Lunch on own at LA’s original Farmers Market and Grove outdoor mall
  • Explore the grounds of the Getty Museum in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Return to campus and prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat in the Los Angeles hills
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #13 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Tour of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley
  • Travel northwards to Yosemite National Park via California’s central valley
  • Arrive to Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #14 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #15 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Paddle surfing, kayaking and beach volleyball on Lake Tahoe
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympic sites
  • Take cable cars up to Squaw Valley’s Swimming Lagoon at 8,200 feet
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #17 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #18 | Friday | Marin County

  • Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on foot connecting San Francisco and Marin County
  • Walk among giants in Muir Woods – Home to ancient redwood trees
  • Picnic-style lunch at Stinson Beach on the Pacific Coast
  • Travel to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais for an epic view across the entire Bay Area
  • Return to the city and experience tea time at the Japanese Gardens of Golden Gate State Park
  • Return to campus to prepare for final Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at local synagogue in Berkeley
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #20 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Travel by boat to explore Alcatraz Prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay
  • Shopping, lunch and wild sea-lion viewing at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ride San Francisco’s traditional cable cars and zig-zag down Lombard Street
  • Jewish San Francisco – Tour of historic Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in America dating back to the California Gold Rush
  • Visit Alamo Park to see the iconic “Painted Ladies” homes
  • Evening: Closing dinner and ice cream at Fenton’s Ice Cream
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Return flights depart from San Francisco Airport

 

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated chaperoned flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is chaperoned by our staff.  Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
We stay in several different kinds of lodgings, ranging from 3-star hotels to college dormotories. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that you pack should be light weight and comfortable in hot temperatures. Whenever we plan to be outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen and water. These rules are strictly enforced because over exposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in the American West is 30 teens.

What’s the food like?
Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

Supervised Connections 

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

  • Trek Pan-America (Trek West #2 + Trek Costa Rica #2)
    35 Days | Current 8th – 10th Graders
  • At a Glance

    21 Days | CURRENT GRADES: 8-10

    Community Service: ~8 Hours
    Location: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, & California

  • 2018 Dates & Costs

    • Closed
    • 7 Spots or Less

    Land Cost: $5,450


  • Included:

    • Airport pick-up in Phoenix, AZ and drop-off in San Franciso, CA
    • Accommodations (hotels and lodging)
    • All meals
    • All programming
    • Deluxe motorcoach
    • Laundry service
    • Gratuity for program staff
  • Learn More:

Travel through the stunning landscapes of California and the American Southwest on the ultimate road trip adventure for Jewish teens.

Trek West is a three-week journey that combines must-see touring, active outdoor adventures, meaningful Jewish experiences, and a unique opportunity to forge friendships as part of a close-knit group. See a totally new side of America, including the awe-inspiring national parks of Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon National Parks. You’ll climb mountains, explore fascinating cities, and  come home with a sense of accomplishment.

Elements of the Program

The Must-Sees and the Hidden Gems

Trek West covers all of the must see highlights of the American West – Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Malibu Beach and fabulous Las Vegas. We also make time for more off-the-beaten path experiences like walking through a redwood forest, kayaking on Lake Tahoe and staying at a dude ranch in Utah.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Outdoor Adventures

The American West is about wide open spaces and stunning national park land. Live the great outdoors by hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite, rafting down the Salt River in Arizona, descending deep into the Grand Canyon, climbing to Angels Landing in Zion and swimming in the desert waters of Lake Powell. See a side of nature that you have only dreamed about, and challenge yourself along the way.

Living Jewish Values

As a BBYO Passport experience, Trek West is also an opportunity to explore your Jewish identity in a new context. Delve into the meaning of being “eco-kosher”, fulfill the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (fixing the planet), and celebrate Shabbat in new and different ways with local Jewish communities.

A Taste of University Life

Interested in what living on a college campus is like? Many of the places we stay at on the road are college campus dorms. Trek West opens a window on university life by experiencing schools as diverse as the University of California – Berkeley, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Raft down the Salt River in Arizona and explore Sedona

View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon

Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

Experience life on a western dude ranch

Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show

Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles

Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands

Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe

Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and UNLV

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | Sedona, Grand Canyon & Bryce

After landing and getting oriented in Phoenix, the adventure begins as we head north to the red rocks of Sedona and a rafting trip down the Salt River. Then it’s on to the truly Grand Canyon where we spend a memorable night along the canyon rim. From the Grand Canyon we continue north into Utah for a challenging (and rewarding) hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park followed by a unique Shabbat at the Ponderosa Ranch.

WEEK #2 | Bryce, Vegas & Los Angeles

Week two begins with Bryce Canyon, yet another national park treasure. From Bryce we start heading due west for Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way we will swim in Lake Mead. In Vegas, we will walk “The Strip” and catch and watch a show. From viva Las Vegas, we head straight for Los Angeles crossing the Mojave Desert along the way. LA is our home for the rest of the week. We will take a tour of Hollywood, relax at Malibu Beach, participate in a local service project, and spend a beautiful Shabbat in the Santa Monica hills at the American Jewish University.

WEEK #3 | Yosemite, Tahoe & the Bay Area

We begin our final week at Yosemite National Park where we will hike to the base of Half Dome and take in some of the most scenic views in the world. From Yosemite we travel through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe, where there will be time for kayaking and swimming. We close out the Trek West experience in San Francisco where we visit all of the highlights of the Bay Area and spend a final Shabbat together on the camps of UC Berkeley.

One Happy Camper

This BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: Country Inn & Suites – Scottsdale, Arizona

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Backcountry Arizona & Sedona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Cool off with tubing down Arizona’s Salt River
  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Break to explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Check-in to our accommodations and dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #3 |Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: Springhill Suites – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #4 | Friday | Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Travel from Arizona to Utah via Lake Powell and Glen Canyon
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park and discover its otherworldly “Hoodoo” rock formations
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #6 | Sunday | Zion National Park

  • Challenge yourself hiking up Angel’s Landing high above Zion National Park
  • Relax and cool off at the at the Zion Lodge
  • Nature walk to the “Emerald Pools”
  • Evening: Western Film or Stargazing in the desert sky
  • Overnight: Ponderosa Ranch – Utah

DAY #7 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Travel from Utah  to Nevada
  • Photo stop at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign
  • Discover Vegas – CSI: The Experience, M&M World, Bowling at the Silver Nugget, etc.
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Hoover Dam

  • Tour of the monumental Hoover Dam separating Lake Mead from the Colorado River
  • Return to fabuous Las Vegas and walk “the Strip” – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo etc.
  • Evening: Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group
  • Overnight: UNLV Campus – Las Vegas, Nevada

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Begin traveling from Vegas to Los Angeles
  • View the Mojave Desert National Preserve en route
  • Tour the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance
  • Celebrate the spirit of Los Angeles at Venice Beach market
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Prepare meals for the hungry at the Midnight Missions
  • Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and visit to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
  • View of Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory and hike to Mt. Hollywood for stunning views of America’s second largest city
  • Evening: Comedy Club Show in Los Angeles
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #11 | Friday | Los Angeles

  • Take part in a Jewish communal service project
  • Lunch on own at LA’s original Farmers Market and Grove outdoor mall
  • Explore the grounds of the Getty Museum in the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Return to campus and prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat in the Los Angeles hills
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: American Jewish University Campus – Los Angeles, California

DAY #13 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Tour of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley
  • Travel northwards to Yosemite National Park via California’s central valley
  • Arrive to Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #14 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: Curry Village (Fixed Tents) – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #15 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Paddle surfing, kayaking and beach volleyball on Lake Tahoe
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympic sites
  • Take cable cars up to Squaw Valley’s Swimming Lagoon at 8,200 feet
  • Overnight: Quality Inn – South Lake Tahoe, California

DAY #17 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #18 | Friday | Marin County

  • Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on foot connecting San Francisco and Marin County
  • Walk among giants in Muir Woods – Home to ancient redwood trees
  • Picnic-style lunch at Stinson Beach on the Pacific Coast
  • Travel to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais for an epic view across the entire Bay Area
  • Return to the city and experience tea time at the Japanese Gardens of Golden Gate State Park
  • Return to campus to prepare for final Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at local synagogue in Berkeley
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #20 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Travel by boat to explore Alcatraz Prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay
  • Shopping, lunch and wild sea-lion viewing at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ride San Francisco’s traditional cable cars and zig-zag down Lombard Street
  • Jewish San Francisco – Tour of historic Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in America dating back to the California Gold Rush
  • Visit Alamo Park to see the iconic “Painted Ladies” homes
  • Evening: Closing dinner and ice cream at Fenton’s Ice Cream
  • Overnight: UC Berkeley Dormitories – Berkeley, California

DAY #21 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Return flights depart from San Francisco Airport

 

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
Families are responsible for making their own flight arrangements to our arrival and departure cities based on guidance that we provide in the spring. A designated chaperoned flight may be offered, which means you will be able to purchase your own individual ticket on a flight that is chaperoned by our staff.  Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
We stay in several different kinds of lodgings, ranging from 3-star hotels to college dormotories. Each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that you pack should be light weight and comfortable in hot temperatures. Whenever we plan to be outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen and water. These rules are strictly enforced because over exposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size in the American West is 30 teens.

What’s the food like?
Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

Supervised Connections 

Connecting travel arrangements are available between programs, and staff supervision is provided during the connection. Learn more about how connections work here.

  • Trek Pan-America (Trek West #2 + Trek Costa Rica #2)
    35 Days | Current 8th – 10th Graders
bbyo passport logo