Life at Verde Valley School lends itself to impressive outdoor adventures and extraordinary competitive sports seasons. We offer a varied outdoor program in which we encourage students to take some time away from academics by getting outside, challenging themselves and hopefully finding a passion for the outdoors that continues beyond their time at VVS.
VVS Outdoors is our comprehensive outdoor adventure education program designed to give students many opportunities to engage with the spectacular natural environment of the Southwest and to help students increase self confidence through challenging personal limitations. Since environmental stewardship is at the core of all we do, VVS Outdoors partners with the Access Fund, a grassroots conservation and climbing access organization, and Leave No Trace (LNT) Center for Outdoor Ethics. All VVS Outdoor trips follow LNT guidelines. VVS Outdoors includes our afternoon program, Adventure Weekend, regular weekend trips and Field Trips.
Afternoon Outdoor Program
Students can get into the great outdoors every afternoon with an outdoor program that includes:
Our equestrian program boasts some of the most stunning riding terrain in the nation, and perhaps the world. Surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest, VVS’s backyard has limitless potential for learning and adventure on horseback. Ours is one of the most diverse recreational riding programs offered at the high school level. We offer trail riding, Western and English lessons and compete on many different levels. The program is open to beginner, intermediate and expert riders. Learn more about riding at VVS here.
With student-built, on-campus trails and pump track and access to the hundreds of trails in Sedona, the VVS mountain biking program is challenging and diverse. Beginners and expert riders are welcome. Mountain bikers can also compete in the Arizona High School Cycling League series.
Whether you’re a beginner or expert climber, our program offers bouldering and route climbing every trimester of the school year at world-renowned climbing sites close to campus. The program utilizes a small on-campus wall to develop skills, strength and stamina readying students for the challenges of the rocks further afield. Local climbing areas are close enough to reach for afternoon sessions on sandstone spires, granite boulders, overhanging limestone and basalt cracks.
The trails around campus are a runner’s paradise. During the cross-country off season many of our runners take to the tracks around campus. The trails are diverse and whether you’re surrounded by stunning rock views, jogging through tall grass through canyons and along Oak Creek, or running slick rock among cactus, afternoons spent running are beautiful and challenging.
Afternoon hikes on Sedona trails help students discover the red rocks, have impromptu lessons on local flora and fauna, and get out into some of the most amazing vistas in the southwest. Hikes range from moderate to difficult.
The goal of Adventure Weekend is simple: get everyone into the great outdoors of Northern Arizona. Past weekends have included all day horse packing trips through Walnut Canyon, rock climbing in Jack’s Canyon, mountain biking on Sedona trails, hikes up Cathedral Rock, swimming in Oak Creek, trips to the Grand Canyon and overnight backpacking trips to Clear Creek. Adventure Weekend is on the calendar early in the school year so we show students all that Northern Arizona has to offer. Since once wouldn’t be enough, we also have a spring Adventure Weekend.
Outdoor activities, ranging from horseback riding competitions to climbing day trips, are offered each weekend. These adventures give students the chance to travel to different destinations, try something new or further explore the sports they have sampled during weekday afternoons. Trips range from half-day excursions to weekend-long adventures.