Trackers Earth Bay Area

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Berkeley, Larkspur, Walnut Creek
Operated By: 
Trackers Earth Bay Area
Kinder, School-Aged, Preteens, Teens, Young Adults, Adults
575 participants
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Parent Reviews

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Have you tried ? They have camps and after school programs. We only did the camps but my daughter loved prowling through the woods with a bowie knife (they teach knife safety- it's not as reckless as it sounds :) ). They have a wide variety of kind of "old school" camp activities. Highly recommend. 

RE: All-outdoor camps for 2022? ()

My son was just at Trackers ( this winter break and absolutely loved it! Everything was outdoors, it was fun, and well organized. Last summer, he went to Cal Youth Camp, which was all outdoors as well, he got to play a lot of different sports and made friends. My daughter went to Monkey Business Camp in Tilden Park, and everything was outdoors in nature. They played games and made crafts, and she really enjoyed it!

RE: All-outdoor camps for 2022? ()

There are a lot! Here's our list: Trackers, Sees the Day, Cal Explorers, Berkeley City Camps, Kids for the Bay, A World of Peace, Wild Ones Art Camp, One Generation, Monkey Business. Some of these are on our list of camps we want to try but haven't yet. We've done:

- Trackers: focus on outdoor skills, all outdoors, they do a great job teaching how to be responsible in the outdoors including leave no trace principles, how to be safe about things like knives. They throw in some cool fantasy stuff, like there was a dragon theme day over winter break where the kids searched for "dragons" (actually birds), and that makes it really fun for younger kids. This is the one I'd recommend the most for nature and hikes.

- Cal explorers: they had a little bit of indoor time but mostly outdoors with a huge range of activities - sports, arts and crafts, science/nature projects, dance, usually they have swim lessons but they canceled last year because of COVID. 

- Berkeley camps: they have a few different ones, with a range of activities and prices. We did one of the playground-based ones and it was simple but fun - lots of free play on the playground with some arts and crafts and sports activities mixed in. Some of their camps go to more nature spots like the marina and tilden, we want to try one of those this year.

Most don't have registration open, except for Trackers which is already full for most weeks!

RE: Winter camps for 6 year olds! ()

We love Trackers in Berkeley!  Great camp if your kiddo likes the outdoors.  

RE: Winter camps for 6 year olds! ()

We signed our son up for Trackers ( for thanksgiving and part of winter camp. We did their summer camp last year and our kid loved it! It is in El Cerrito, so it's a bit of a drive, but it's worth it for a short time. In the before times they had a bus from central Berkeley, and I'm hoping those will return someday! They spend all day outside having a great time and learning some great outdoor skills. It's also really flexible, you can sign up for individual days depending on your childcare needs.

We love Trackers Bay Area.  They're located in El Cerrito (at Camp Herms) this summer and my kids have been going there for the last 4 years.  They're outdoors and masked and are great with active boys!

RE: Summer camp for 4-year-olds ()

It really depends on your particular kids where they will thrive but our kids both did really well at Trackers at that age. Also, Monkey Business has a special camp for preschool age kids. It's a separate location and staff from their 'big kid' camp and our son loved it when he went at age 3. I don't know if they are running it this summer or not, so many things have changed due to covid.

Lastly, my son's preschool, MCPC in Oakland, runs a summer camp for 3-5yo each summer. They run two 3-week sessions. I think it's usually in June and July though, not August. Though dates haven't been firmly set yet for this summer, also because of covid and cohort restrictions, etc. Good luck!

Our 5th grader has done a half day Trackers program this fall and enjoys it. They are quite organized and reliable and we've had good experiences there for many years. I don't think there is much of a racial or social justice curriculum at Trackers however. And I don't find the kiddos who go to trackers particularly diverse.  There is a Forest school that I think is anchored at Gill Tract that is much more social and racial justice oriented, and while we haven't gone to their programs, they seem pretty awesome and worth checking out.

I have two kids in Trackers--one is a first grader, the other is in third. They've attended part-time since preschool (we were home schoolers even before the pandemic). They are both active and outdoorsy, and I'm pretty confident that attending Trackers is the highlight of their week.

I can't speak to whether or not social/racial justice is formally integrated into the program, but the students and teachers are a diverse bunch. You could probably give them a call and chat with a staff member about this. 

Since Covid, masks are worn except when eating, everything happens outdoors, temperatures are taken at drop-off, etc.

If your kid enjoys moving, imaginative play, and being outdoors, Trackers would probably be an excellent fit for them.

100% thumbs up for Trackers! My son (K) went to Trackers summer camp for the first time and since September has been in the Outdoor Adventure program twice a week from 1- 6 pm. They are super COVID-19 safe and my son comes home with excited reports of exploration and cool skills like archery, carving, hiking, etc. I am so grateful for Trackers both for my son's benefit, and for their superb management behind the scenes. They are responsive and creative in support of families during the pandemic. They are now enrolling for second term starting in late November into Feb 2020.

Have you looked at Trackers, near the Ashby BART station? They have great outdoor, drop-off programs. Both of my kids have had a great time with them.

Hi I have been homeschooling my 12 yo with the support of Valley View Charter school and he attends classes at a wonderful micro school with mixed ages in Albany Called In Addition. Vonnie is the director and can be reached at tel:(510) 693-1959

My son also enjoys going to Trackers homeschooling classes. Trackers is in Berkeley across from Ashby Bart  there’s lots of various classes and programs  

Good luck! 

Trackers Earth in Berkeley has a year-round Mariners Apprenticeship program with instructors and kids who are avid fisher-people.   They also have fishing camps.

My daughter (10) is enrolled in the Trackers Camp Rangers program for September - June. This is an amazing camp and program where they spend 1 weekend a month in the outdoors. This includes 4 two-night overnights and 5 single days. The kids learn survival skills, build shelters, cook outdoors, edible plants, knife skills, the whole bit. The leaders are all highly experienced outdoor guides (not your average college kid on summer break - this is their PASSION) She is beyond excited to do this but there aren't yet any girls enrolled in our program and this feels important to me. Come join her! We chose this as a refuge during the often turbulent transition to middle school. A small group in the outdoors is bound to be soothing to any soul! I have no affiliation with the program other than a desire to help my daughter. 

Rangers, Session A for 10 and 11 year olds

I have my kid in Trackers aftercare. They pick up from Washington on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is wonderful!

I have him in a couple of days of LEARNS at Washington, too. Sadly, the LEARNS program at Washington is a real weak spot. He loves school, but the aftercare he has very mixed reports about. Sometimes he loves it, but by his own 8 year old description "nobody get's picked on in school because the teachers won't let you get picked on. But the teachers in aftercare will let kids pick on you." 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Aug 2013

wondering if anyone can submit a review of Trackers camp/ Thanks Thinking ahead to next summer

We've done Trackers for years, and mine have really enjoyed it. We've only ever done the more ''traditional'' outdoor skills ones (as opposed to pirates, zombies, etc.), but even those have really captured my kids' imaginations. Anne

Aug 2012

Re: Camp with structure and sports for active 8 year old
I love, love Trackers ( My son also has similar social anxiety issues/hard time joining in and their summer camps have been perfect. Low key, yet outdoors the whole time. My son has done a fishing camp, a wilderness survival skills camp, and because he had such a good experience,we did an after-school program through Trackers this past school year. The groups are small so the staff is able to engage with each of the kids. It's not a bells-and-whistles kind of camp but engages kids more than most of the camps we've tried. You could start with an after-school program and if your son likes it, try a summer camp. anon

April 2012

I signed up my 8 year old boy for a Tracker's camp over the summer, and I got back the ''welcome'' e-mail confirmation, which told me to expect my child to come home ''covered in poison oak.'' I had never seem my son react to poison oak before, but recently he got some on his arms and ankles, and it was not a pleasant experience, and lasted at least a couple of weeks. So now I'm having second thoughts about this camp (or any of the outdoor type camps!), and wondering what I can do to minimize exposure, if they try to keep the kids out of the stuff, or if they actually encourage the kids to immerse themselves in all the plants of the forest (for ''camouflage'', etc.). It sounds like a fun camp, and he signed up with a friend, but I do not want any of his summer ruined by itchy poison oak rashes if I can avoid it. If anyone has experience with this camp, I would love some feedback. thanks

We did a Trackers camp last year and it was great, the kids all loved it. I think the point of the email is that this is an adventure camp, prepare for your child to come home muddy, dirty and having gotten into whatever they can. Sounds like a great opportunity for you to help your child recognize poison oak, having known the effects, and raise their awareness of it. From my experience I can guarantee you that they wouldn't encourage your child to roll around in poison oak, but they will or may be going places where it is plentiful.

Hello - I'm the director of Trackers here in the Bay and I wanted to respond to the question of poison oak management at Trackers specifically and at outdoor camps in general.

Some of our groups are more likely to encounter poison oak than others. ''Stealth, Archery, and Wilderness Survival'' or ''Forest Ninjas'' do involve sneaking around in the bushes. We do those stealth exercises in areas where poison oak does not grow and we always have an instructor scout the area first. To supplement that we do extensive preparation with the children to teach them what it looks like and how to avoid it. If we have any reason at all to suspect exposure, we do a thorough wash with tecnu (the anti-poison oak soap).

That said, in California it is hard to 100% guarantee a poison-oak free outing whenever one goes off-trail, which is what many of our camps specialize in. This is why we ask parents to assume there COULD have been poison oak exposure so that they can have a change of clothes ready at the end of the day - better safe than sorry!

If a child has a particular poison oak sensitivity we note that on our instructor forms and keep an extra close eye on them. They also get extra washes with tecnu even if we don't think they need it. In severe cases, as with children who get systemic poison oak reactions, we would counsel that child into a camp where poison oak exposure risk is much less likely. That will include camps like ''Little House,'' our fishing camps, ''Pirate Adventure,'' etc. I am sure most other outdoor camps can give you an idea of which topics/weeks will be less likely to include poison oak exposure as well.

Please feel free to call me directly at 415-215-7209 or email me at jess [at] if you have any questions! Jess L.

April 2012

Re: Hiking outdoor summer day camp for 9.5 yr old girl
Have you looked at Trackers, Some of their programs are going to have a bigger hiking component than others - I'd bet a Rangers week would be good. They do have extended care until, I believe, 6:00. Hiking Mama

Jan 2012

Re: Afterschool Program in North Berkeley for 3rd grader

We didn't have great afterschool options and enrolled in a Trackers afterschool camp...they are awesome and focus on outdoor education and are very imaginative. Their website is anon

May 2011

Does anyone have experience with Trackers Bay summer camps for kids? They sound extremely interesting, but the only reviews I could find were from folks who seemed to use Trackers Bay classes as part of a home schooling program. Any thoughts on just going for a week of their summer camp? -interested mom

I hate to just tell you what you've already heard but I have to say.....I have 2 kids in public school and homeschooling the 3rd. The one (1st grade ) I'm homeschooling has been in an amazing trackers program at Tilden this year. His Lead Teacher is Whitney and she is an amazingly talented educator. She has a group of boys ages 6-12 and she engages them in intriguing, beneficial and FUNl ways each week. He has made a sling shot, a bow and arrow, tracked animals, played capture the flag, fished, and countless other invaluable things this year. He will be going to public school next year for 2nd grade BUT I will be signing him up for a Trackers after school class as well. Shea

The one review on the BPN site is from me, written after our first Trackers summer camp experience. We're signed up for our third round of Trackers this year, and now will have two there. Our daughter loved the second year as much as the first. And, I heard a lot more about the outdoor activities last year (this may have been because last year they were at Redwood Regional Park, and I don't think they had an indoors). She came home with throwing stones to practice, and talked my ear off about gophers and snails. They also had a day where they went and boated on the Bay with a boat that one of the counselors had made himself. I still hear about Casey's boat now almost a year later (I just asked her what the best part of Trackers camp was, and she said ''the wildlife and Casey's boat). The ''guilds'' curriculum is new this year; my older daughter's a huge fan of the Little House books, so she chose a Wilders week. The location this year is new, but I'm sure they'll make it work. The lack of a stable location is I think just a side effect of starting up in the area. The program is based in Portland, and I have family there that have also done the summer camps and really enjoyed them. Anne

March 2010

Any reviews of TrackersBay Outdoor Nature Camp? I'd love to hear any feedback before signing up my 6 and 8 year olds. Thank you. lynn

Our daughter went to Trackers for one week last summer, when they were at Canyon School and she was between K and first grade. We're signing up for a session again this summer, so that's the short answer. She really enjoyed it. That said, we actually heard very little from our daughter about their outdoor-education curriculum. She mostly reported painting and playing on the play structure. I assume that's just what stuck with her and/or what she chose to do when given a choice (and I'm sure activities vary based on age and program week). I guess I was expecting reports of treks through the woods and close encounters with banana slugs -- in part because those are activities we do as a family and that I know my daughter enjoys. But, mostly I heard about the hot chocolate and painting. C'est la vie, and in the end I didn't worry about it, since she obviously really enjoyed the art and play activities and came home tired and content every day. And, I mean really content, without the emotional exhaustion she'd sometimes show facing new camps and new situations. She was just really chill at Trackers. She loved her teacher, Wendy, who also really impressed us. Our daughter did fall and hurt her wrist pretty badly on the first day (truly something that could happen anywhere), and I think Wendy and the camp handled that *very* well, keeping us informed and helping us make the call on whether this was a pick-up-and-take-her-for-an-x-ray situation (which, at first it really looked like), or just a wait it out situation (which it turned out to be). I was not at all surprised when my daughter requested Trackers again this summer, and I was happy to sign her up for it. Anne