Upcoming Trips

Bearcat Explorers experience destinations near and far! Alumni, parents, and friends are invited to join us on the upcoming trips. At any point, feel free to contact the office at 503-370-6430, or email the trip contacts listed below.

2019 Trips

Rafting the Owyhee River

May 14-17, 2019

rafting on the river

You’ll definitely want to bring your sense of adventure on this trip. Join us for four days of rafting, hiking and exploration through one of the most remote and special regions in North America. Known as “the Grand Canyon of Oregon,” the Owyhee River is surrounded by majestic canyons that rise as much as 2,000 feet above the river’s edge.

Along the way, you’ll hike hidden trails, explore remote caves, take a dip in refreshing hot springs and enjoy meals prepared by expert river guides. Your route will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Oregon.

Click here for a full itinerary and information about what to expect. Join us on an adventure through this rarely-explored region that you’ll never forget!

For additional information, contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu). Visit our group reservation portal to secure your spot.

  • Cost: $825 per guest (includes expert professional guides, all on-river meals, group rafting gear).
  • Difficulty: Class II and Class III rapids
  • Activity Level: Heavy
  • Group Size: 15
  • Tour Host: River Drifters
Photo credit: River Drifters

national parks

America's Majestic National Parks

June 15-29, 2019

This trip is a combination of the Canyonlands of the Southwest and the Wild West Adventure trips. See info on those individual trips below.

In response to numerous requests, we are finally offering alumni and friends the opportunity to enjoy one or both eight-day trips which will cover the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce and Zion Parks in the Southwest, followed by another eight-day excursion through the national parks from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota, including Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

Vantage Deluxe Travel will be our tour operator for these trips. Their trips are known for excellent itineraries and great value. If you have traveled with Vantage during the previous two years (Croatia in 2017 and Canadian Rockies in 2018), you will be entitled to discounts (3% of Croatia trip cost; 5% of Canadian Rockies trip cost). Additionally, Vantage offers a 10% discount if you pre-pay for the trip a year in advance, with lesser discounts thereafter.

See the details for each individual tour below.


Canyonlands of the Southwest

June 15-22, 2019

This trip is the first leg of America's Majestic National Parks trip. See below for pricing for this trip alone and when combined with the Wild West Adventure.

The first Saturday-to-Saturday leg of this tandem tour of great national parks of North America follows the classic route from Scottsdale, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada with highlights including a visit to Sedona, a train ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, a cruise on picturesque Lake Powell, a float trip on the scenic Colorado River and a visit to the spectacularly beautiful Zion Canyon. Along the way, we will experience seven sightseeing excursions and five cultural discoveries, while staying at deluxe hotels and lodges.

Wild West Adventure: Yellowstone, Grand Teton and U.S. Monuments


June 22-29, 2019

This trip is the second leg of America's Majestic National Parks trip. See below for pricing for this trip alone and when combined with Canyonlands of the Southwest.

The second Saturday-to-Saturday leg can also be done individually or in tandem with the Canyonlands tour, beginning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and ending in Rapid City, South Dakota. Highlights will include a float trip on the Snake River, extensive viewing of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Devils Tower (first U. S. national monument named by Franklin Roosevelt) and the amazing Mount Rushmore lighting at night.  This tour includes 10 sightseeing excursions and four cultural discoveries, as well as the aforementioned deluxe hotels and lodges.

Please contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (kburris@willamette.edu or 503-370-6430), Jim Booth (jbooth@willamette.edu or 503-910-3192) or Cheryl Sheehan at Vantage (csheehan@vantagetravel.com or 866-786-2006, ext. 7147) for more information or to deposit.


  1. America's Majestic National Parks (both Canyonlands of the Southwest and the Wild West Adventure combined) - $7,198 (with free airfare!).
  2. Canyonlands of the Southwest - $3,499 (+airfare--$499 from Portland). Post-trip option: Two nights in Las Vegas for additional $499.
  3. Wild West Adventure - $3,699 (+airfare--$749 from Portland). Pre-trip option: Two nights in Jackson Hole for additional $799.


  • Deposit: $500 per person
  • Final Payment Due: March 15, 2019
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Group Size: 20
  • Tour Host: Jim Booth '64

Mediterranean Pathways

August 22 - September 2, 2019

greek gems

There are few places on the planet more interesting and beautiful than Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. This trip will feature a luxury cruise at an exceptional price. Go Next will be our tour operator on the Oceania Five-Star cruise ship Sirena. Join Jim Booth ’64 and his wife Sandy on what may be their final trip for alumni and friends of Willamette.

The cruise begins in Rome (although some may wish to start a week earlier from Monte Carlo) and just gets better as we enjoy the beauty and history of Sorrento & Capri, Sicily (Taormina), Corfu, Gythion, Mykonos, and the biblical bucket list site of Ephesus and Dubrovnik before finishing with two nights in the unique and historic city of Venice. To add to the value, Oceania is offering free air, unlimited Internet and a choice between a $600 shipboard credit, six free shore excursions or a free beverage package (per stateroom). In addition, you will enjoy the camaraderie of the group at two cocktail parties along the way!

We expect space to go fast (already half of the trip has been sold as of 4/10/18), so contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu), Jim Booth ’64 (503-910-3192 or jbooth@willamette.edu) or Barb at Go Next (bduoos@gonext.com or 952-918-8949) with questions and/or deposit.

  • Cost: From $4,099 per person (includes free air)
  • Deposit: $950 per person
  • Final Payment Due: May 22, 2019
  • Activity Level: Light
  • Group Size: 40
  • Tour Host: Jim '64 and Sandy Booth

New York Theater Tour

September 16-21, 2019

nyc 2019 broadway

Travel to the Big Apple and join fellow Willamette alumni for an unforgettable experience touring the city's legendary theater scene. Along with a five-night stay at the Kimberly Hotel in midtown Manhattan, travelers will enjoy five exceptional shows (four on Broadway and one off Broadway), three intimate post-performance discussions with New York arts professionals and a private tour of the best art galleries in New York's chic Chelsea district. On top of all that, the trip also includes daily gourmet breakfasts, a welcome and farewell dinner and a private coach to take you to and from shows and events. This experience is truly a theater lover's dream!

This trip will be led by award-winning playwright, screenwriter, film director, actor and founder of Insider Cultural Tours James Ryan. Mr. Ryan is the former chair of the graduate dramatic writing program at the Actors Studio/New School University and he teaches in the graduate dramatic writing program at Rutgers University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, and the Drama League Award.

For additional information, contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu).

  • Cost: $3,995 per person double occupancy (airfare not included) Single supplement is $858.
  • Deposit: $1,200 (due by June 8, 2019)
  • Final Payment Due: July 18, 2019
  • Tour Host: James Ryan of Insider Cultural Tours
  • Shows and performance discussions to be announced a few months before the trip
  • See complete itinerary and details here.
Photo credit: Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Nepal Adventure: Mardi Himal Trek

October 5-15, 2019

nepal trail with mountains

Join us for an adventure unlike any other through the legendary Nepalese Himalayas. This journey is one of the most accessible yet least visited of the trekking routes in Nepal, complete with beautiful vistas, picturesque villages and celestial peaks.

Your trip begins with a sightseeing tour of the stunning city of Kathmandu, the heart of Nepal’s culture, art and religious life. You’ll then travel to the tranquil town of Pokhara to launch your five-day trek, where you will visit remote villages, experience magical sunrise views and meet the people of Nepal through a homestay.

Click here to view a full itinerary and some spectacular photos of the region. This trip is for those who truly want a unique Himalayan experience off the beaten path!

For additional information, contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu). Or call Carrie O'Callaghan '00 at Embark Exploration Co. (503-922-1050) for more details, information and to make your deposit.

  • Cost: $3,325 per person (accommodations, all meals on trek, trekking guides and more).
  • Airfare: $1000-1500 per person
  • Deposit: $500
  • Activity Level: Heavy
  • Maximum Group Size: 12 
  • Tour Host: Embark Exploration Co.
Photo credit: Embark Exploration Co.

Additional trips are currently being planned! Stay Tuned!