Project Description

Northern California: The Lost Coast – Backpacking Expedition


Clayton Walton
Clayton WaltonInstructor
Clayton L. Walton has spent the last 19 years designing student development initiatives that challenge participants to intentionally engage their college experience. As the Executive Director of Globally Engaged Experiential Learning and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Clayton promotes a holistic student development philosophy that informs the design and implementation of his coursework, study away programs and co-curricular initiatives.

Lost Coast of Northern California

Strikingly beautiful and accessible only by foot, the Lost Coast of Northern California is a rugged mountain chain spanning 60 miles of spectacular Pacific coastline. Home to an elk herd, majestic redwoods, oaks and Douglas fir, an array of wild flowers and abundant sea life, it is truly a magical place. The narrow trail leads along ridges, across clear mountain streams, and down to hidden sandy coves framed by rugged cliffs. The crash of the waves, cries of the seals, and spectacular vistas make for an unforgettable experience in nature. We will practice challenging hiking and navigation, carve redwood spoons, and at the end of the day are rewarded by a refreshing bath in the stream, running barefoot on the beach and, if we are lucky, close encounters with the elk.

Our journey begins at our basecamp located in the pristine headwaters of the Russian River at Frey Ranch and Vineyard, known for being California’s first organic and biodynamic winery. In 2017, the fall wildfires raged through the property, burning much of the farm infrastructure and personal homes. Along with this devastation however has come incredible resilience and new growth within the community and landscape alike. Here, we will do service work and prepare for our expedition, after which we will drive northwest through scenic country to the Eel River. From here we embark on a scenic two-hour drive to the Lost Coast.



Program Dates

TBA (Summer 2024)

Who Can Participate

  • Rutgers undergraduate students who have:
    • completed 12+ credits
    • related coursework
    • approval from the faculty director as well as their advisor
  • Rutgers graduate students

No previous knowledge of Spanish is required in order to apply for this program.

Related Areas of Study

  • Climate Change and Resilience
  • Sustainable Living
  • Outdoor Expedition

Important Note: This is not a complete list. We value diverse perspectives in our programs and encourage students from all majors and professions for participate. All program applicants are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to determine if and how this course may be applied towards their program requirements and degree completion.

Course Code:

Students self-register in Webreg and choose the following courses:

  • TBD (3 credits)
    • This course is being offered through the Department of Social Work.



Travel and Visa Information:

Passport: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the program’s end date.

Visa: US Citizens do not need a visa for visits to Belize that are shorter than 30 days.

Pre-Departure Resources:

US State Department

Center for Disease Control.


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