Youth Backpacking Trips

Overnight Backpacking Trips are Ascend Wilderness Experience’s flagship program. We provide gear, food, information, knowledgable and trained wilderness guides and everything necessary for a safe and inspiring wilderness adventure at no cost. Ascend offers a variety of youth trips for ages 6-18, multigenerational trips, and adult-only trips.

Choose from:

  • 3-day Backpacking Trip – 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)
  • 5-day Backpacking Trip – Designed for return Ascend participants and youth with more backpacking experience, this 5-day overnight trip is a step up from the 3-day introductory trip. With two bonus days, hikers will be able to explore more terrain and be delighted by incredible views on day hikes from camp. They will also engage in more rewarding stewardship activities like brushing trails deep in the backcountry. Hikers will be grouped into age appropriate groups of 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18. (Ages 9-18, rated Moderate-Difficult)
  • Leadership and Mentor Training Trip – 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. These opportunities are excellent stepping stones for youth considering a career in outdoor work, or simply wanting to experience nature in a deeper way.
  • Teen Stewardship Work Experience Trip – Unveiled in 2021, this 7-day backpacking trip has been wildly successful thanks to our partners at the Forest Service and the amazing teen participants who have worked incredibly hard to rebuild and maintain public trails in the Trinity Alps. Teens spend 7 days with an Ascend Guide and Forest Service Wilderness Trails Crew Leader performing trail work on a specific section of neglected trail in the Trinity Alps. Participants get to explore alpine terrain, learn about the environment, gain life and work skills using equipment, and get a sneak peak into what a future career in trail crews could look like. 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. (Ages 14-18, rated Moderate-Difficult)
  • Teen Salmon River Fish Count – New to Ascend’s programs in 2023 is an opportunity for teenage participants to explore the Salmon River by volunteering with the annual Salmon River Fish Count. This will be a 4-day camping trip that includes two days on the river and incorporates watershed restoration, river ecology, and biology of salmon through hands on experience.

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.