TAPS and Outward Bound Backpacking Expedition

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Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Entry Form Open from January 13, 2020 to February 5, 2020

All adult survivors 18 and older are invited to join TAPS and Outward Bound California on the Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking Expedition as we find new purpose, gain radical perspective, and remember what it feels like to live with determination.

TAPS Expeditions are outdoor skills-based events that require dedication, preparation and a real sense of adventure. Our route along the rugged California coast takes advantage of scenic views over the dramatic cliffs of Drakes Beach. As we hike through some fog, along the headlands and craggy cliffs of this stunning California coastline, we’ll be led to consider what we really can control as we learn to trust our guides, our gear, our team and ourselves.

TAPS Survivors at Joshua Tree National Park



Join us as we backpack along the northern California coast with our fellow survivors. Our experience at Point Reyes National Seashore will have us breathe in the coastal air, dip our toes into the Pacific Ocean and soak in a sunset or two as we hike this beautiful area.

Leading up to the expedition, we'll gain familiarity with each other through virtual team meetings to discuss preparation, gear lists and more. Your team will be a source of encouragement as you prepare for this adventure and an ongoing support network long after the expedition is complete.

While each expedition is unique and rewarding, they can also be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Each expedition offers an opportunity for exploration or revisiting valuable experiences in the outdoors. We hope you’ll apply to join us after you’ve taken some time to consider your current physical and emotional strength and resilience. 

This expedition is being put together in partnership with Outward Bound California.




There will be team meetings via conference call or video chat that are mandatory for participants. You will have access to our Facebook group, which will include participants from this expedition, as well as those who participated in previous expeditions so you can ask questions and learn from their experience.


This backpacking adventure will begin and end at the Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes National Seashore. The first day will include a gear check, a 3 mile hike, and a relaxing first night at Sky Camp. We’ll stop for lunch along the trail and keep our eyes sharp for unique local fauna and a variety of birds. Following breakfast on the second day, the group will hike to Coast Camp, about 4 miles through the misty green coastal headlands to a nestled spot near the beach. Upon arrival, we’ll set up camp and enjoy our dinner with the sounds of the Pacific Ocean not too far off. After breakfast we’ll spend the third day exploring the area on short day hikes to nearby spots like the Sculptured Beach and take in the views from the scenic cliffs. We’ll head back to Coast Camp to enjoy our last group dinner and our final night on the California coastline will prepare us for the next day's hike back to civilization. Our final day will begin with breakfast and breaking camp. Our team will then retrace our path travelling uphill to Bear Valley Visitor Center and departure, refreshed from a few days of coastal ocean air and fellowship.

*This is a tentative schedule provided by Outward Bound California and is due to change or minor adjustments for a number of reasons, including weather and participant skill level.


We fully expect your team members to become your family and an ongoing support network long after the TAPS Expedition is complete. You'll be provided with a directory following the expedition to keep in touch with each other.



This expedition requires no backpacking experience but does necessitate that you be physically fit and healthy. This physically demanding expedition that will include backpacking from 3-8 miles per day. Even if you don't have backpacking experience, if this adventure excites you then we encourage you to submit an entry form by February 5, 2020.

The TAPS Expeditions team will make sure you are prepared and well informed of the nature of this trip.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest you engage in a regular exercise regimen leading up to the trip. Prior to the trip, we'll have a conference call and/or an online video meeting to go over training regimens, gear lists and more.



Thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors, TAPS will cover the rest of the trip costs, with the exception of your transportation to and from Point Reyes National Seashore, your first and final night's lodging expenses and desired meals.



You will need to cover the cost of your transportation to and from Point Reyes National Seashore. The closest airport is San Francisco International Airport. Plan to arrive the day before, on March 8; we will be available to recommend lodging options that fit within your budget. In partnership with the Marines Memorial Club & Hotel in downtown San Francisco, an incredibly affordable rate for both nights (8 and 12) and breakfast is an available option. TAPS will cover the costs for all subsequent lodging and meals from Monday, March 9 through lunch Thursday, March 12.



Entry forms will be open from January 13 to February 5, 2020 (look for the blue button at the top of this page at that time). Entry forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so you can expect a call within two weeks of submitting your entry from. If more entry forms are received than we have slots available, we will do a random selection from qualified entries.

If you have any questions, please email expeditions@taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).

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