Skip Navigation

Signature Field Trips

Northern Light School is proud to offer a wide range of opportunities for students to explore our country, build self-confidence, and develop the bedrock values of compassion, teamwork, and perseverance that are the hallmarks of our graduates.
Students start overnight trips in the 4th and 5th grades and develop a comfort with being away from home while learning important interpersonal skills and relevant academic content. As students gain confidence in themselves and each other, they move farther from home in their 6th grade year to the Sierra Nevadas at Yosemite National Park. From there, they travel out of state in the summer following 7th grade year to the beautiful Yellowstone National Park in Montana.  During 8th grade year, students fundraise for a spring trip to Washington D.C that serves as a capstone of their Northern Light journey.

4th and 5th Grade - Coloma Outdoor Discovery

Coloma Outdoor Discovery SchoolEach spring, students in 4th and 5th grade spend several nights in Coloma, CA, a historical hub of California's Gold Country.  Students travel back in time as they get hands-on experience with the culture, food, and folklore of the California Gold Rush.  Students pan for gold in the Yuba river, explore California history up close, and work through a variety of team-building activities, such as completing a challenging ropes course.

6th Grade - Yosemite Valley

Each spring, the 6th grade students travel a little bit farther from home into California's Sierra Nevada mountain range to Yosemite Valley.  After a scenic Amtrack ride into the park, students lodge for a week in tent cabins along the valley floor and explore nature in one of the world’s most iconic landscapes.

Students bond as a class as they hike the valley, journal under giant sequoias, and push themselves beyond their comfort zones.   On the last day of the trip, students become stewards of the park by participating in a nature preservation project that demonstrates the importance of protecting the ever-changing valley floor.  Learning about the geological forces that created Yosemite Valley serves as a culmination of the 6th Grade Earth Science and Geology curriculum.  This invigorating outdoor experience leaves students with improved leadership skills, a deepened sense of community, and a fuller appreciation for our connection to the natural world.
Find out more about our program at NatureBridge Yosemite National Park.

7th Grade - Yellowstone Summer Retreat

Big Sky MontanaThe annual 7th Grade Yellowstone Retreat, generously sponsored by the Wright Family since 2011, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Northern Light School’s incoming eighth grade students to build character, work as a team, and transform into leaders of the school.
Big Sky MontanaFor one week in July, the incoming eighth graders participate in hiking excursions, ropes courses, archery classes, whitewater rafting, cooking classes, animal watching expeditions, and lectures by world-class mountaineering experts.  From heartfelt discussions around the fire to a willpower-testing hike to the peak of Mount Cedar, this trip pushes students to go further than they thought possible.  By the end of the week, the incoming eighth grade class is strong, confident, and prepared to tackle any obstacle - academic or emotional - that they may encounter during the coming school year.  

8th Grade - Washington, D.C.

The annual 8th Grade Trip to Washington, D.C. is an opportunity for 8th gradeWashingon D.C. students to visit our Nation's Capital and walk in the footsteps of the courageous men and women who shaped America.  Students take in the Capitol Building, the White House, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Georgetown University, the renowned memorials on the Washington Mall, the Smithsonian Institution Museums, the Pentagon, Mount Vernon, and much more! 
In addition to visiting national landmarks, the eighth grade class connects with Northern Light School Alumni attending college or university in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York – all of whom travel to the D.C. Metro Area to share a very special meal with their Northern Light School family.
The eighth graders fundraise for this trip throughout their final year at Northern Light School by putting on bake sales, hosting dances, and coming up with their own creative ways to bring in sponsorships.  This experience teaches them valuable, real-world economic lessons and forces them to work together to achieve a common objective.