What We Do

Welcome to the Shoestring Adventures community, where you can connect with others who share your love for the outdoors. We offer guided weekend camping and backpacking trips across California, as well as group hikes on our local trails.

Camping & Backpacking Weekend Trips

Weekend trips are led by experienced guides with current Wilderness First Responder and CPR Certification, who will empower you with the skills you need to become more confident planning your own adventures, like how to start a campfire, prepare a delicious meal outdoors, read a map, Leave No Trace and more. Connect with like-minded people, enjoy gourmet camp meals and say “cheese” for our Triptographers, who will document the experience. Click here for upcoming events.

Hiking Day Trips

Group hikes are led by Shoestring Adventures Ambassadors. Hosts are community members who have earned their Wilderness First Aid/CPR certification with Shoestring Adventures and want to gather and connect with others in their favorite outdoor spaces.

Photo by Ryan Tuttle


“I had a fantastic time on my Shoestring Adventures trip. It was my first time camping since I was a kid, and I was nervous to try it again. Alyx makes everything so easy, and she is a great guide! All I had to do was follow her packing list and show up—she took all the work out of cooking, knowing where to go, what to bring, etc. The park was so beautiful and it was a wonderful experience I will always remember. It turns out I LOVE camping and hiking, and since then I have even gone on my own trips (but I missed Alyx’s campfire cooking).”

Lindsay, Death Valley Weekend Adventure

“I’d always dreamt of seeing Havasupai Falls but I never made the time to deal with, and was a little overwhelmed by, all the logistics required. I was super psyched to discover Shoestring Adventures had everything covered and all I had to do was show up. Alyx and her crew did an awesome job handling everything-including great meals. The rest of the adventurers were super awesome which made the experience even more memorable. I can’t wait for the next adventure with Shoestring!”

Evan, Havasupai Backpacking Adventure

More Testimonials

Meet Our Family

Alyx Schwarz

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Alyx started Shoestring Adventures in 2011 following back surgery, the end of a year long struggle with chronic pain. A former triathlete and marathon runner, she rediscovered her love of the outdoors through hiking and devoted her weekends to exploring, photographing and blogging about her home state of California.

In 2014, she founded Shoestring Adventures LA, a free Meetup for her rapidly growing community to find connections and support as they ventured into the great outdoors. In 2015, she began organizing camping trips for weekend warriors throughout California: everything from Death Valley to Yosemite and beyond! Alyx is a certified Wilderness First Responder with several years of experience guiding trips. LEARN MORE

Photo by Justin Sullivan

Abbey Ganz

Community Engagement Coordinator
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Abbey is earning her bachelors degree in Recreation, Hospitality, and Tourism Management at California State University Northridge. While attending Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, she fell in love with her first job for San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation, which brought her back to Los Angeles to continue her studies.

She loves being around people, trying new things and spreading positivity. Abbey is the best cheerleader on the dirt, and we are lucky to have her on our team! LEARN MORE

Cyndee Ewing

Strategic Advisor
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With an MBA from University of Southern California, a B.S. in Information and Computer Science from UCI and over 11 years planning and implementing results-focused marketing strategies in the entertainment industry, Cyndee is an experienced marketer with a passion for innovation and effective storytelling. She’s a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts and currently serves as the President of the L.A. Alpha Phi Alumnae Chapter.  As an endurance and adventure junkie, Cyndee has been to 30 countries, completed 3 marathons, 20 half marathons, 2 triathlons and conquered 1 mountain, Mt. Baldy. She hopes to climb Mt. Whitney later this year. LEARN MORE

Favorite Camp Activity: Singing songs and telling stories around a campfire with a beer in hand and a s’more stick in the other

Favorite Camp Food: Campfire Banana Boats

Shani Leead

Social Media & Content Manager
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Shani is an LA based photographer and content creator with a bad case of the doodle bug. She spends her working days connecting communities and organizations through the power of social media and the web. She loves traveling, hiking, camping, and beachin’! When she’s not outside, you can find her at comedy shows, concerts, or the movies. Her favorite fictional character is Walter Mitty (of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and, if you haven’t already, she highly recommends that you watch it! LEARN MORE

Yosefa Gilon

Blog Editor
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Yosefa earned her Master of Arts degree in International Education from the School for International Training (SIT) and has lived and worked in nine countries. She is passionate about cultural exchange and has found a way to combine her love for adventure, travel, and education. She works in the study abroad office of a university coordinating short-term study abroad programs around the world for undergraduate students.

When she’s not planning someone else’s adventure, she enjoys hiking, trail running, traveling, and writing about her experiences. She hopes to inspire others to explore and learn about other cultures. LEARN MORE

Trip Leaders

Graham Williams

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Graham has a Master’s degree in Recreation Management at California State University-Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, Health, and Exercise from the University of Nebraska. He has a collective of 7 years working for Outward Bound and various other collegiate outdoor recreation programs. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder, has taken his Avalanche 1 course and is working towards his AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Certification. He is an avid climber, surfer, backpacker and backcountry skier. He is absolutely stoked to live on the West coast where he can share his outdoor passions with others. LEARN MORE

Photo by Ryan Tuttle

Heather Bixby

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Heather currently works as an Internship Coordinator at a university and is aspiring to work full time as a Life Coach, offering healing and rejuvenating outdoor activities to others. Heather has found that being in the outdoors provides people with an opportunity to slip away from the sounds of the city, exercise, release tension, gain clarity, find peace, and discover something new about yourself, among so many other things! One of her most meaningful trips was backpacking the John Muir Trail solo. She is so thankful to be a part of the Shoestring Adventures family and looks forward to getting to know you! LEARN MORE

Canyon Grove

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Canyon graduated from San Diego State University with an degree in Recreation Tourism Management. With over half a decade spent as a head coach for high school lacrosse, he has a strong belief in teamwork when it comes to groups in the outdoors. He loves leading for Shoestring, not only for the personal opportunities to travel, but the opportunity to foster a welcoming community, enjoy delicious food, and make new friends in the great outdoors! He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and avid outdoor adventurer. He lives in Ocean Beach, San Diego. If he isn’t surfing, climbing, or backpacking, he’s working as a cellar person at a micro brewery and a guide for beer tours. LEARN MORE

Photo by Julie Hotz

Jacqueline Thompson

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Jacqueline has had an infatuation with the canyons of the southwest her whole life. With a degree in Environmental Studies, her passions lie in reclaiming environmental and human health through reconnecting others to the wild. Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, she spends her days rock climbing, trail and ultra running, and exploring the wilderness in any way possible. She is a rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering and alpine guide, and also a writer and yoga teacher during the off-season. When she is not frolicking in the mountains and canyons, she can be found practicing yoga, playing music and singing, cooking yummy food, and brewing all sorts of herbal and medicinal concoctions in her home apothecary. LEARN MORE


Ari Keith

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Los Angeles born and raised, Ari has been an avid hiker and backpacker for 3 years now. He is always looking forward to exploring new places with new friends and old. LEARN MORE

Photo by Shani Leead

Laurie Ganz

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Laurie lives an active lifestyle, whether that be going for a run, taking a yoga class, going for a hike or lifting weights at the gym. She also has a passion for cooking and loves coming up with new recipes. LEARN MORE

Shana Morda

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Shana is a native of the Santa Clarita Valley Area, who loves to be outdoors and hike! LEARN MORE

2018 Triptographers

Our Triptographers document the weekend adventures, so you can put your camera phone down and stay in the moment!

Stepfanie Aguilar

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I’m an outdoor enthusiast, photographer, writer, and a lifelong learner. You can find me trying out a new craft or testing out how I can integrate things I enjoy. I love connecting with adventurous and creative souls, so hit me up. Here we go! LEARN MORE

Mikaela Hamilton

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Texas-born, Georgia-raised, residing in Santa Barbara (and sometimes a little van named Fran). I love people, adventure, poetry, challenging myself, good food, and campfire conversation. I’m stoked to be a part of the Shoestring family! LEARN MORE

Clare Healy

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If catching a sunrise, summiting peaks, crushing tacos, or throwing up shakas is involved, I am probably close by. I majored in social media and my parents still ask if that was legitimate. I am a born and bred Californian, but I accidentally moved to Chattanooga, TN once and fell in love with the south. Hands down, the best feeling in the world is crushing a strenuous trail then crushing a beer. Lastly, my #1 goal in life is to keep the stoke alive. Shall we? LEARN MORE

Mike Struna

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I have been in LA for 2+ years and am loving all the adventure it has to offer! I am a designer and maker by day and lifestyle/adventure photographer by weekend and night. I love to capture the moments that nature has to offer – just have to surround yourself and seek them out! LEARN MORE

Photo by Peter Amend

Shani Leead

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Shani is an LA based photographer and content creator with a bad case of the doodle bug. She spends her working days connecting communities and organizations through the power of social media and the web. She loves traveling, hiking, camping, and beachin’! When she’s not outside, you can find her at comedy shows, concerts, or the movies. Her favorite fictional character is Walter Mitty (of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and, if you haven’t already, she highly recommends that you watch it 🙂 LEARN MORE

Lindsey Shea

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I am a professional photographer, artist, and barista, uprooted Southern California surfer at heart, and avid outdoorswoman. When not behind my camera or slinging lattes, I am usually behind a book or a map, plotting my next adventure. I also really love mac n cheese. LEARN MORE


Amanda Proudfit

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I’m a freelance photographer of all sorts of things living in the LBC with my husband and dog. I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, and have a deep appreciation for the outdoors and adventures. LEARN MORE

Work With Us

We provide memorable experiences for first-time campers and backpackers to test products in the field before they invest in their own gear. If you are interested in partnering with us to make the outdoors more accessible for all, please contact: alyx@shoestringadventures.com

Brands We’ve Worked With