Wild Country Trek

Summer Trek




Overview of Wild Country Trek

The Wild Country Trek is an expedition designed for teens who are excited to get out and explore the great outdoors! This is an exploratory, yet challenging trek designed for both newcomers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The itinerary includes hiking, music, art, science, culinary skills, archaeology, adventure, and personal development as well as time to learn basics of expedition planning, packing, and preparation. It’s a great fit for young teens with a sense of adventure and there is no need for substantial wilderness experience. 


The two sessions of Wild Country Trek have different itineraries and the itineraries vary from year to year (see below for a sample itinerary). Both sessions will spend the majority of their time exploring the wild places of New Mexico and will have about a week to get to know Basecamp. While out exploring New Mexico, WCT trekkers will be introduced to backpacking through a short overnight trip followed by a 3-4 day trip later in their itinerary. Some years they head to the Gila National Forest and experience abundant water in the desert as well as the first Wilderness in the United States. Other years they head to the Pecos Wilderness and are stunned by mountain vistas and alpine lakes. Along the way, WCT trekkers will have the opportunity to meet with local artists, park rangers, or scientists to dive deeper into the history, culture, and ecology of the Southwest. Their knowledgeable staff will support them through challenges whether that’s the first time summiting a mountain, figuring out how to resolve conflict in small group settings, or learning to be a supportive group member. By the end, trekkers come away with new friends, outdoor skills, great memories, and self-confidence after three weeks of independence and exploration. 

While at Basecamp, trekkers will have the opportunity to learn new skills from our specialists like metal smithing, animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic.

While on trek with us, participants will complete a project in a field they are interested in. These are meant to be opportunities to take advantage of the vast knowledge sets of our staff, dive deeper into a topic of interest, and to walk away from the summer having a tangible example of all that was accomplished. Examples of past projects include: building a latrine at basecamp, creating maps, conducting a stream study, creating a field guide, compiling an art portfolio, writing an original song, planning and leading activities for other trekkers, and many more. To help us prepare to facilitate these projects, we will send a survey for your trekker to complete. If they aren’t sure, that’s okay! Our staff are ready and excited to talk with them about their interests and figure out what makes sense.




Age Range: 13 - 15

Gender: All welcome, Male, Female, Non-binary

Min Group Size: 8

Max Group Size: 15

Instructors: 3

Elevation: 5,000 to 12,000 feet

21 Days on Trek

Cost: $4795

June 22 - July 12, 2024

Enroll Now

July 20 - August 9, 2024

Enroll Now

Trek Details

Focus: Environmental science and stewardship in the field

People: Who we are

For the wild-seeking, self-discovering, budding naturalists, Wild Country Trek is geared towards 13-15 year
olds who are excited about learning in the outdoors.

  • Future Stewards: WCT trekkers are guided by questions of stewardship and mindful connection to
    the places they visit- WCT asks

    • How do I care about people/places/community?
    • How do I help the environment?
  • Adventurous and Creative Scientists: WCT trekkers are seeking adventure while on trek. They are
    creative in their problem solving, building critical thinking skills, asking questions and working on
    projects that combine elements of adventure, creativity and science in the field.

Places: Where we go

WCT spends 3 weeks traveling in southern Colorado and southern New Mexico, with most of that time spent
on the road. This is a pivotal shift in Gulch treks as WCT and older treks spend more time on the road then
at Basecamp, fostering more independence and mindfulness in the field.

  • Basecamp: WCT spends ~ 1 week at our Basecamp, starting to step up as leaders for younger
    trekkers and having opportunities to be guided/mentored by older trekkers.
  • On the Road: WCT spends ~ 2 weeks on the road, honing in on camping skills, visiting Gulch
    community members and learning about place through a science-driven lens.
  • In the Backcountry: For younger trekkers, WCT is the first trek to introduce backpacking into its
    programming. WCT goes on a 3-4 day backpack in San Juan National Forest (CO) or the Gila
    National Forest (NM) visiting the Weminuche and Gila Wildernesses.

Projects: What we do

WCT provides an opportunity for 13-15 year olds to deepen their understanding of the spaces and people
around them; to collaborate with their peers and hold each other accountable; and to deeply connect with
themselves in the outdoors. WCT introduces opportunities for trekkers to step into leadership roles, and play
an active role in the environments they encounter.

  • Technical Skills Development:
    • Backpacking skills: Trekkers will learn how to set up/take down backcountry camp, cook
      using Whisperlite stoves, navigate with a map and compass, and actively practice Leave No
      Trace in the field.
    • Frontcountry skills: Trekkers will master details both on the road and basecamp,
      participating as active members of the group while on the road.
  • Introduction to Leadership:
    • Lead a day hike: Trekkers will plan and lead a day hike themselves, preparing daypacks and
      planning logistics for the trip.
    • Lead a climbing day: Trekkers will collaborate with the Climbing specialist and Gulch staff to
      lead a climbing day. They will act as guides and mentors to younger trekkers.
  • Action and Stewardship in the Field:
    • Restoration projects: WCT trekkers will work on projects in the field which may include
      watershed restoration, removal of invasive species and working on forest-fire burn sites.
    • Applied science in the field: Trekkers will work to collect data in the field, working with
      partners to collect water samples, soil samples and weather data.

June 22 - July 12, 2024

Enroll Now

July 20 - August 9, 2024

Enroll Now


More Information

Trek Log

Chef Joéy

“I woke up today under a soggy tarp, listening to Gus complain about sliding out onto the cold forest floor below us. We quickly packed up our gear and had bagels while listening to Nate give a very motivational and inspiring Ted Talk. To sum it up, his main point was “when you struggle, don’t say why me, say try me.” We then stretched and prepared to set out on our 3rd day of backpacking in the Carson National Forest. Hiking was not difficult, and we stopped to camp after about an hour and a half. Everyone was pretty hungry so we ate the vast majority of our remaining trail mix, chips, meat, cheese, and crackers while having heated discussions about politics. We then did 3-hour solos during a thunderstorm. Following solos, we ate a healthy dinner with Ramen, Mac-n-Cheese, and mashed potatoes. We played Froggy Murderer at campfire and sang Country Roads with excessive volume shortly before going to bed. The end.”


“Today was an eventful day. We packed up our bags and went on a two day backpacking trip to a water tower. It was a little annoying because we lost the trail and took a two-mile detour, but we found a campsite. It’s not at the water tower but it’s alright.”

Resources for Parents

Within Your Itinerary You Might

The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise

  • Meet with a musician
  • Visit an Amphitheater
  • Take some Day hikes
  • Meet with an instrument manufacturer
  • Visit music festival
  • Visit Hispanic Cultural Center and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • A Sunset hike
  • Basecamp Loop (Cottonwoods)
  • Visit Zuni Pueblo to meet musicians and artists
  • Meet with an artist 
  • Visit Georgia O’Keefe Museum and other local art based museums  
  • Visit Taos Earthships
  • Explore Lavender Farm
  • Day hike Canyon de Chelly
  • Day hike El Morro National Monument

Need Assistance or Have Questions?

Fill out the form below and a staff member will contact you soon.

*All locations and itineraries are subject to change given permitting and fire restrictions.