Summer Teen Backpacking Trips

Get Lost in Adventure & Find Yourself!

Come alive with adventure and discover the beauty of nature accessible only on foot! We will leave behind the modern world and use only what we carry on our backs, our own resourcefulness, and the gifts that nature provides. It’s time to get your teen out of their comfort zone and expanding their horizons while steeped in the beauty of nature.

Why hike and camp with Living Earth School?

Living Earth Teen Expeditions are the perfect blend of deep wilderness immersion, leadership lessons, team building and personal development.

Your teens will learn how to be a part of nature instead of just moving through nature, connecting them with something much bigger than themselves. Our backpacking guides are trained, professional naturalists who provide meaningful mentorship throughout the trip.

Participants will walk away with a variety of soft and hard skills, including:

  • Packing your pack with the proper gear for the trail and the weather

  • Reading maps and navigating the trail
  • Low-impact backcountry camping etiquette, including tent and rain shelter basics

  • Campfire cooking, safe water harvesting, and setting up a secure bear bag

  • Working together as a team, while also building independence

  • Strengthening communication skills with others and self

  • Thriving in remote backcountry with greater confidence

Intro Backpacking Trip

This trip is designed for teens who love the outdoors but have never backpacked before. On this 6 day adventure we will hike to scenic views, splash in cool mountain water, and connect together in the peace of the forests and mountains. This trip aims to take beginners and, by the end, empower them with the skills to:

  • Set up tents
  • Use backpacking stoves
  • Assess hazards
  • Read maps
  • Work as a team and trust themselves

Difficulty will range from walking 1 flat mile in a day to hiking 5 miles in a day, including uphill and downhill (to see those views of course!), all while carrying 30-40lbs in a backpack. There will be sweaty days and relaxing evenings with our well-seasoned instructors as guides every step of the way.

Location: To Be Determined

LGBTQ+ Backpacking Trip

As much as we like to categorize, few things in nature fit perfectly into the neat little boxes we make – and that includes us humans. A first for Living Earth School this year, we are offering a teen backpacking trip for anyone in or exploring the LGBTQ+ community. If you know what labels fit you, great! If you’re still figuring that out, perfect! Figuring out community, becoming an adult, and identity is already a complicated equation when the default script more or less fits for you. This trip is about figuring out your own script.

You’ll get to connect to other young people and trip leaders with shared experiences, explore the outdoors in a welcoming and affirming environment, and celebrate your authentic self out in nature. Like all of our teen trips, this expedition will focus on building connections to the natural world, gaining forest skills, and digging deeper into personal and community skills.

No prior backpacking experience is required but will include hiking up to 5 miles in a day with 30-40lbs in a backpack.

Location: to be determined

Advanced Backpacking Trip

One of the beauties of backpacking is the ability to go to a destination that offers extreme beauty and adventure. This trip is designed for people who have been backpacking before, whether with LES or on their own. Participants will become comfortable with the ins and outs of expedition backpacking, including:

  • Camp set up
  • Meal prep
  • Safety

Participants will also have the opportunity to help pick the route and decide our adventure together. Every day, participants will learn more about the core areas of leadership—work ethic, initiative, communication, attitude, and respect.

We will advance backcountry and leadership skills so that your child can pursue a lifetime of adventures to beautiful places all over the planet. This is a trip they won’t forget.

Location: To Be Determined

Details & Registration – Teen Summer Backpacking Trips

  • Ages 13 – 18

  • 2024 Dates:

    (Intro) Backpacking Trip 1: July 21 – 26 (FULL)

    (LGBTQ+) Backpacking Trip 2: July 28 – August 2

    (Advanced) Backpacking Trip 3: August 4 – 9

  • Drop off is 10 am Sunday at the trailhead and pick up is at 4 pm Friday.

  • Hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains

  • Cost: $695 per trip

    Financial Assistance: We do have a growing Scholarship Fund for campers this summer thanks to generous donors! Please fill out this APPLICATION FORM to be considered for financial assistance. Decisions are made on a first-come first-serve basis and applicants will hear back within 3 weeks. We recommend applying before Jan 15, 2024. The application period ends March 11th, 2024.

  • All gear and supplies will be included, other than the basic camping and clothing needs. We will send a what-to-bring list and details upon your registrations. Essential camping gear and backpacks are available to borrow from LES.

    Please send us an email at connect@livingearthva.org with any questions!

  • Free T-shirt included