Dunn's Outdoor Experiential Education program allows students to experience physical and mental challenges, risk and reward, and stretch their boundaries of comfort.

As they learn basic outdoor skills, their appreciation of the outdoors increases and they begin to develop an environmental consciousness. In addition, students learn to make decisions as a group and bond with teachers as well as peers.


Annual Outdoor Education Trips


All Middle School

During the first week of school each year, the entire Middle School goes on a beach camping trip to build community and set goals for the school year. This trip has become an annual tradition and rite of passage.

6th Grade

A trip to a beach on the Central Coast provides exposure to environmental studies as well as a basic camping experience. This 5-day trip is a blend of marine and terrestrial studies, where students explore the ocean by snorkeling, tide pooling and surfing. While on land, they take wooded hikes and climb a craggy peak.

7th Grade

Camping in the Pinnacles National Park, this 5-day trip challenges the students as they learn to work together as a group to explore caves, climb rocks, and view California Condors.

8th Grade

Backpacking in Joshua Tree National Park, this 6-day outing challenges students in a stark (and safe) setting as they learn to be leaders in the outdoors.

9th Grade

MontaƱa de Oro State Park in nearby Morro Bay allows students a varied outdoor experience as they sea kayak, rock climb,and backpack. The 4-day trip in the fall provides opportunities to bond and participate in team-building experiences for new Upper School students.

10th Grade
In the Central Sierra Nevada Moutains, this 7-day backpacking trip focuses on learning about working with others in the wilderness.

11th Grade
A challenging 5-day back-packing trip in Joshua Tree National Park teaches the leadership skills necessary for the back country – and for life back at Dunn.

12th Grade

Seniors have two experiences. The first is a 5-day trip in the fall to the Sequoia National Forest to help them focus on their goals for the year and leadership expectations. In the spring, the focus is on the final bonding of the class.


Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world.

Eudora Welty