Youth Backpacking Trips

Overnight Backpacking Trips are Ascend Wilderness Experience’s flagship program. This all-inclusive experience provides gear, food, fellowship, knowledgeable and trained wilderness guides. Everything necessary for a safe and inspiring wilderness adventure at no cost! Ascend offers a variety of youth trips for ages 6-18, as well as all-ages trips for friends and families to hike together.

Choose from:

3-day Backpacking Trips (Ages 9-14)

Ascend’s 3-day overnight wilderness experience for youth is designed for the novice backpacker. This trip is intended to expose youth to the rewards of hoisting all your gear onto your back and finding solace in the backcountry. Hikers will be grouped into age appropriate groups of 9-11 and 12-14. No cell phones allowed! (Ages 9-14, rated Introductory-Moderate)

  • Ages 9-11 (July 10-12 & July 16-18) – These 3-day introductory backpacking trips are designed for youth who are just dipping their toes into independent outdoor adventures. Hiking distances are age appropriate and destinations may include: East Boulder Lake, Stoddard Lake or Boulder Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
  • Ages 10-13 (July 22-26) – The 10-13 year old group will spend a full 5 days immersed in the backcountry of the Trinity Alps. The location of this trip is currently TBD, but is sure to have options for amazing vistas, alpine lakes, solitude, and communing as a group and in wilderness.
  • Leadership and Mentor Training Trip – Ages 12-14 (July 29-Aug 2) This trip is often designed for the 12-14 year old age group that has attended an Ascend trip before and/or shows aptitude and desire to take a leadership role in a wilderness setting. These trips tend to hike deeper into wilderness, provide even more inspirational hiking excursions, and focus on empowering activities in which the participants learn orienteering skills and take on more responsibilities under the tutelage of trained Wilderness Guides. The youth who participate in these trips have the opportunity to apply as a Junior Guide and assist the adult wilderness guides during younger aged trips, or to apply to be on Ascend’s Teen Stewardship Youth Crew. During this backpacking trip, youth will spend an afternoon participating in stewardship tasks in addition to supplemental leadership activities facilitated by Ascend Wilderness Guides for this specific trip. These opportunities are excellent stepping stones for youth considering a career in outdoor work, or simply wanting to experience nature in a deeper way.

5-day Backpacking Trip (Ages 14-18)

This 5-day backpacking excursion will take place up Stuarts Fork, camping at Morris Meadows. Everything necessary will be provided by Ascend including pack mule support to help carry equipment and some camping gear. Teens will receive a stipend for this work experience.

  • Teen Internship Field Science Trip – (July 15-19) New in 2024 to Ascend’s Internship Program, is an opportunity for teens to be in the field with professors from Cal Poly Humboldt University, learning how to properly take samples of important ecological areas to be used to analyze a history of watershed contaminates and climate change. Youth will also work with botanists to learn how to collect and study plant specimens, which will be used in the Cal Poly Humboldt labs to evaluate the regional biodiversity, and build a greater understanding about fire resiliency. Youth will also work with Cal Poly Humboldt geologists at Emerald Lake taking lake core sediment samples in order for scientists to analyze watershed contaminates and effects of climate change.

7-day Backpacking Trips (Ages 14-18)

The 2024 trip is devoted to rehabilitating the trail system up Boulder Lakes trail to Foster Lake. Participants on this trip will learn valuable skills and trail-building techniques, especially if they have an interest in outdoor recreation career paths. Teens leave the experience with a certificate for their efforts, an appreciation stipend for their hard work, and life-long memories of an unforgettable week in one of the most sought-out wilderness areas in the state.

  • Teen Stewardship Work Experience Trip (June 24-30) This trip offers valuable resume and skill building work experience and also serves the community and the wilderness by accomplishing important tasks under the leadership of Forest Service personnel and an Ascend Wilderness Guide. Participants should expect to work hard during days devoted to stewardship activities and will receive a stipend for their efforts. Stewardship on the trip will include activities such as removing brush and digging. Participants get to explore alpine terrain, learn about the environment, gain life and work skills using equipment. (Ages 14-18, rated Moderate-Difficult)

Due to group size limitations in the Trinity Alps, availability is limited per trip. Please be sure to communicate with staff and commit to your trip. It is extremely difficult to fill last minute cancellations. We also offer all-ages trips for families that prefer to hike together.