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Friday, Oct. 26, 6-9 p.m.

Join our hiking and backpacking youth and adult leaders for a night of fun and friendship! Hear about amazing trips girls took this year and exciting treks planned for 2019. Experienced, brand-new, and future hikers are all welcome, as are friends. Email or call 619-298-8391 for more information, and check out videos from past Hikerfests.

Hikerfest Guest Speaker

Liz Thomas ’07 is a professional hiker, adventure conservationist, and outdoor writer who broke the women’s self-supported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail. Her book, Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike, received the 2017 National Outdoor Book Award for Best Instructional book. Liz holds a Masters in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies where she held a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship for her research on trails, conservation, and trail-side communities.

Liz has been seen on Good Morning America and in the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! News, Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, and Outside. She was guest editor and is a regular contributor to Backpacker magazine and instructs their online class, “Thru-hiking 101.” She serves as the Vice President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association and ambassador for the American Hiking Society. A former outdoor staff writer at Wirecutter/New York Times, Liz is a currently editor in chief at Treeline Review, an outdoor web magazine, and is writing a guidebook to Southern California waterfall hikes.

The Hiking and Backpacking Program

Every year, we offer great new outdoor adventures for girls and adults! Designed for individuals, our three-step wilderness progression safely takes girls and adults out of the campground and into the woods. Wilderness Hiking lays a strong foundation of outdoor skills and knowledge and is a prerequisite for our Basic Backpacking course and Advanced Backpacking trips. Class fees include course materials and a "10 Essentials" starter kit.

Register online for classes!
Use the Individual Registration Form to register by mail or fax; these are not troop programs.

Wilderness Hiking

First in the outdoor progression, this one-day training teaches adults and girls (grade 6 and up) the essential skills and knowledge necessary for exciting wilderness exploration. Our emphasis includes safety, proper gear and equipment, the Leave No Trace ethic, building independence in girls, and laying a strong foundation for more extraordinary adventures, such as backpacking.

Basic Backpacking Training

Basic Backpacking teaches everything adults and girls (grade 7 and up) need to know to begin a true, multi-night wilderness adventure. Hikers gain the knowledge and skills they need to make important decisions about gear, clothing and trip planning so that you can hit the trail feeling confident and self-sufficient. Training includes classroom instruction, group day hike and backpacking trip.

Special Session: Basic Backpacking at Camp Winacka

For girls (entering grades 8-12) only. Adult leadership will be provided by council backpacking trainers and camp staff. Girls train and practice at Camp Winacka, then set out on a trip at the end of their stay.

For this trip only, Wilderness Hiking is  not a prerequisite. The Wilderness Hiking curriculum will be covered extensively as part of the camp session.

Register through the resident camp system.

Advanced Backpacking Trips

This third step in training safely takes girls and adults on unforgettable wilderness adventures, where they'll enjoy the majesty of nature along with the camaraderie of fellow backpacking enthusiasts, while building skills to a higher level.

Youth and Adult Leadership

We welcome new adult and youth leaders to help teach our hiking and backpacking courses. You must be trained one level above your teaching status (e.g., Basic Backpacking trained to teach Wilderness Hiking).

Youth and adult volunteers are a tremendous asset on any hiking and backpacking trip. Our youth leaders particularly benefit from the opportunity to teach others while upholding the high standards of our program, and sharing not just their knowledge, but their passion for the outdoors. Please contact Monet Richter, (619) 610-0818, for more information on how to volunteer.

Get Outdoors!

After you're trained, go on your own adventure: Check out our local day hike maps, Winacka and Whispering Oaks hiking page, and suggested backpacking trips.

Hikerfest 2017
Cottonwood Lakes by Celeste J
Crown Lakes by Marilyn S
Duck Pass by Isabella C
Mt. Whitney by Alison P
Hilton Lakes by Kayla M
John Muir Trail by Page H and Kevin H
Sequoia Kings Canyon by Kailee
San Jacinto by Haylie B
Uganda by J. Brown

Hikerfest 2016
Backpacking in Morocco video by Rebecca E.
Skyline to Sea photo slideshow
by Alex S.
World Backpacking photo slides by alumna Katie G.
Minarets Trip video by Allison P.