Outdoor Education Students Road Trip Through West Coast

Ten Colorado College students spent their Spring Break road-tripping across the West Coast, where they visited numerous national parks and spent nights at different campgrounds. The trip, which was organized by Colorado College Outdoor Education (CCOE), is one of about 200 outdoor trips the CCOE hosts each year.

The purpose of the road trip was to visit as many national parks as possible. In just eleven days, students visited various sites in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. The group first traveled to California, where they visited the Redwoods National Park, San Francisco, San Jose, and Death Valley. They then headed to Utah, where they visited four of Utah’s five national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Arches, which was a favorite among several students.

For many students, however, the trip emphasized the importance of the CCOE and what it does.

“I've been able to visit numerous national parks and other locations through the CCOE that I wouldn't have been able to visit on my own outside CC,” says Hunter Markowich ’25. “My favorite part of the trip was seeing new places across the west coast, such as the Redwoods and Zion National Park, and also spending time in the outdoors camping with my peers, as well as traveling in a crammed van, which was well worth it in the end.

Mila Naumovska ’26 echoed that appreciation for the trip and all that CCOE does. “Outdoor Education is important and valuable because it gives an opportunity to low-income students to enjoy the outdoors to an extent they would not be able to without the financial help from the CCOE,” she says. “It also strives to create an inclusive environment for everyone who wants to participate.”

Naumovska’s biggest motivation to participate on the trip was to see the ocean, as this was her first time seeing the Pacific Ocean.

Audra Burrall ’23, one of two CCOE leaders on the trip, proposed the idea of a road trip after driving on the Pacific Coast Highway and falling in love with it last summer.

“It was pretty sweet driving a CC van out to the pacific and back,” says Burall.

Since her first year on campus, Burall has participated in and led New Student Orientation, Winter Start Orientation, and block break trips to various places across the West Coast, including the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Burall’s favorite part of this trip was driving the Mt. Carmel Highway at Zion, where students had a sing-along session to 2000’s pop music.

“Outdoor Education has been an all-inclusive bundle of leadership, stewardship, and discovery,” says Burall. “The CCOE has afforded me opportunities to explore the southwest and develop a passion for the outdoors I didn't know I had before coming to CC. I've loved being a part of Outdoor Education and its 'come as you are' culture during my time at CC.”

Wade Noelke ’24 says participating on the Spring Break road trip made him realize how grateful he is for the CCOE, because he was able to see and hike many of America’s western national parks.

“I might have never seen parks like Redwoods and Death Valley otherwise,” says Noelke. “This trip made me realize the silent beauty of our national parks and how we must work together to protect and support them in the future.”

“Outdoor Education at CC really creates an experiential way for students to apply some of the learning from the classroom into a real-world setting,” says Ryan Hammes, director of the CCOE. “The opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills in the natural world allows for personal discovery while in community with one another. Trips like this allow students to see new places and interact with each other in different ways that could never be replicated on campus. We are so fortunate to be able to provide the transportation, equipment, and affordable experiences for any student who wishes to participate on these trips.”

Students do not need prior camping experience to participate in the CCOE. For more information and to sign up for CCOE emails, please fill out this form.


Report an issue - Last updated: 05/11/2023