Breaking Barriers In The Southwest


Breaking Barriers In The Southwest

A Journey Of A Lifetime

This expedition invites students of diverse backgrounds and abilities to participate in a 7-day journey to the desert southwest where they will learn to push through personal and physical barriers, unite adversities, and embrace a No Barriers Life. Throughout this empowering and challenging journey, students will raft the San Juan River, learn about Native American history and culture, and experience the transformative power of the Desert Southwest.

Expedition Overview

This expedition is designed for students ages 15-19 and is open to both first time travelers and No Barriers Youth Alumni. This program is specifically designed to accommodate students of differing abilities. Whether you have a physical disability to overcome or your barriers are more invisible, we invite you to apply for this program.

Your journey begins in Phoenix, Arizona, where you will meet your No Barriers Expedition Leader before departing for Flagstaff. There you will receive a thorough orientation from Grand Canyon Youth, our rafting partner and guides, and bond with your fellow travelers as you spend your first night camping under the stars.

From there, you will head to Sand Island, Utah, and launch on the San Juan River! For the remainder of your journey, you will be fully immersed in the beautiful landscape of the Desert Southwest. Your days on the river will be spent traveling downstream, exploring historical & cultural sites, hiking up side canyons to petroglyphs, seeing wildlife, playing games, and paddling together as a team. All this will be accompanied with facilitation of the No Barriers Life curriculum, which focuses on themes of personal growth and overcoming adversity.

After your time on the river, you will head back to Flagstaff for your No Barriers Closing Ceremony, say goodbye to your fellow travelers and friends, and depart for Phoenix to fly home. This program will provide you opportunities to build community, explore your personal potential, and ultimately discover that what’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

We at No Barriers are excited to offer this expedition to a wide range of mixed ability participants and there will be additional staff to help attend to the needs of our travelers. Due to the limitations of being on inflatable rafts and due to the demands of spending multiple days in remote locations without services we do require that participants can manage their personal needs and understand the physical and emotional demands of camping in the backcountry.

Please review the Essential Eligibility Criteria before starting your application to self-evaluate whether this program if the right fit for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions and we look forward to your application!


Dates: August 1 – 7, 2019

Cost: $2295 *Scholarships may be available. If you are interested in being considered to receive financial assistance, please indicate in your application.

Ages: 15 – 19.

Enrollment Deadline:  February 15, 2019


Breaking Barriers in the Southwest 2019

7 Days | All Inclusive | | Download Itinerary



  • Depart your home gateway and arrive in Phoenix, AZ where you will meet the rest of the group and your No Barriers Expedition Leaders.
  • Drive to Flagstaff, AZ (~2 hours) and arrive at the Grand Canyon Youth Office for a gear check and orientation.


  • Overnight camping at Sunset Crater National Monument



  • Breakfast & No Barriers Opening Ceremony


  • Travel to Sand Island, Utah. Meet river guide crew and launch on San Juan River!


  • Make camp along the banks of the San Juan. Dinner and sleeping under the stars

Day 3 - 5: RIVER DAYS!


  • Breakfast, pack up camp & travel downstream on inflatable oar rafts. Explore historical & cultural sites, hike up side canyons to petroglyphs, see wildlife, play games and paddle as a team.


  • Make camp along the banks of the San Juan. Dinner and sleeping under the stars




  • Breakfast, pack up camp, and travel downstream to Mexican Hat boat ramp in Utah.



  • Assist in de-rigging boats and travel back to Flagstaff, AZ.


  • Dinner, showers, re-pack for airport & complete No Barriers Evaluations.
  • Overnight at KOA in Flagstaff



  • Depart for Phoenix and say your goodbyes before departing your flight home!

I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for another unbelievable and life changing trip. No Barriers Youth made it all possible and took the guesswork out of a potentially nerve wracking and complicated task.

Amanda W., Trip Leader

Getting immersed in the culture of India and getting to know and love the children was the greatest. When the students would cling to me at the end of class, and tell me how much they enjoyed having me there was heartbreaking.

Rachel W., Student

There is so much life, happening all the time. It's crazy to think that, after only three weeks, I feel like I've become accustomed to so much of how the world move.

Saul S., Student