Optional Activities

Mount Hermon offers its writers a break from the classroom in the form of various recreational activities, many at no additional charge for writers conference registrants.

  • Go Kayaking on Sunday afternoon. This ocean kayak experience departs from the Santa Cruz yacht harbor. Explore the kelp beds and hopefully see aquatic wildlife. Transportation and equipment provided. You will get somewhat damp on this tour, so dress in layers. Meet at the Fieldhouse parking lot and look for the van and kayak trailer.  (Free for conferees!)
  • Take a guided hike to the cross on Palm Sunday morning, starting just before dawn. A somewhat strenuous climb, so you should be in decent shape for this. But the group sticks together and one another encourages each other along the way. (Free for conferees!)
  • Tackle the Sequoia Aerial Adventure ropes course on Sunday afternoon. Select your level of challenge on three aerial trails and over 30 elements, including swinging logs, cargo nets, and cables set 30 to 80 feet in the air. Mount Hermon’s highly trained staff offer instruction and monitor your progress through the course. Meet at the Adventure Center behind the Fieldhouse. (Regularly $59, $40 for conferees!)
  • Enjoy a Redwood Canopy Tour zip line, a two-hour journey through the upper reaches of the redwood forest, in groups of not more than eight people. Two certified guides will usher you through six zip lines and two sky bridges at heights of up to 150 feet, sharing ecological knowledge (and corny jokes) along the way. The tour does not require a high level of physical fitness, but participants should be in reasonably good health and weigh between 75 and 250 lbs. Sign in at Adventure Center behind the Fieldhouse. (Regularly $89, $60 for conferees!) 
Some Recreational Activities require advance sign-up.

Sign up for kayaking, the ropes course, and/or the Redwood Canopy Tour zip lines at dinner Friday night or breakfast Saturday morning. (Or visit the Adventure Center between 9:00am and 5:00pm on Saturday to see if there are still openings.)

For other activities, meet at the times and places specified below.


  • Sign-ups for head shots at the Meet & Greet 3:00–4:00pm
  • Sign-ups for kayaking, the ropes course, and/or the Canopy Tour zip line 6:00–7:00pm in the dining hall


  • Sign-ups for kayaking, the ropes course, and/or the canopy tour zip line 8:00–9:00am in the dining hall


  • For the Hike to the Cross, meet Bill Fernald in front of the post office at 6:00am.
  • Mount Hermon Historical Center open from 3:00–5:00pm
  • Redwood Canopy Tour 
    • 3:00–5:00pm (8 guests)
    • 3:30–5:30pm (8 guests)
    • Meet at the Adventure Center at the back of the Fieldhouse. Wear comfy clothes and close-toed shoes.
  • Sequoia Aerial Adventure
    • 3:15–5:15pm (10 guests)
    • 3:45–5:45pm (10 guests)
    • 4:15–6:15pm (10 guests)
    • Meet at the Adventure Center at the back of the Fieldhouse. Wear comfy clothes and close-toed shoes.
  • Kayaking 3:00–5:30pm (Meet outside the Fieldhouse. Transportation will be provided to the Santa Cruz Harbor.)

Other Valuable Opportunities

Mount Hermon offers writers these additional options:


  • Visit the outdoor prayer labyrinth (near the Mount Hermon pool and Ferndell Falls) or the indoor prayer labyrinth (set up in the Fireside room near the Hospitality Center) for a time of quiet reflection at any point during the conference. (Suggestions for how to optimize your time there will be in the conference program packet.)
  • Get a high-quality Headshot ($55 for a 10- to 15-minute photo shoot with five high-resolution digital files chosen and edited by the photographer). Sign up for photo shoots during the Meet & Greet on Friday afternoon or in the Hospitality Center throughout the conference.
  • Spend a few moments in the Mount Hermon chapel. If during this event you feel either overwhelming joy or painful disappointment, come to the A-frame chapel for reflection and spiritual renewal. Prayer partners will be available to accompany you at the throne of grace, if you wish, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons.
  • Find a time in the program where you wouldn’t mind missing the scheduled sessions (for example, an hour where you could get recordings of all of the workshops offered) and take a walk among the redwoods, streams, and waterfalls surrounding the conference area. You will get a map when you sign in that shows the paths.
  • During the unscheduled time on Sunday afternoon, or at any time during the conference, feel free to skip out on everything we’ve offered and just hole up in your room and read a book or take a nap. Work on your current writing project, or something you feel inspired to write while you’re here, or a writing technique you learned in a session, or a homework assignment from your morning track or mentoring clinic. Visit Central Lounge or the Soda Fountain, grab a snack, and relax. Sit on a bench and sketch a tree or flower. Browse in the conference bookstore or the permanent Mount Hermon Book Shop. If you have a car, feel free to drive to the beach and watch the waves, or visit the nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, or go into town and catch a movie. We want you to make this conference whatever you need it to be, so ask God to lead you to the activities that are right for you this week.