Summer Teen Backpacking Trips

Teen Sit Spot Mountain Panorama

Living Earth Teen Expeditions are the perfect blend of deep wilderness immersion, leadership lessons, team building and personal development. Teens are growing up fast, LES expeditions get teens outside and immersed meaningful experiences in the beautiful world and steeped in something much bigger than themselves.

Come alive with adventure and discover the beauties of nature accessible only by foot. We will leave behind the modern world and use only what we carry on our backs, our own resourcefulness and gifts that nature provides.

Is it time to get your teen out of their comfort zone and steeped in the beauty of nature and expanding their horizon?

Learn the In’s and Out’s of Backpacking:

  • Proper gear and how to pack your pack properly
  • Reading maps and navigating the trail
  • Proper low impact backcountry camping etiquette
  • Camp cooking, safe water harvest and setting up a bear bag
  • Rain shelters and tent basics
  • How to work together as a team, while also building independence
  • How to better care for oneself and better communication skills
  • How to thrive in remote backcountry with greater confidence
  • Natural history, nature awareness skills and greater appreciation and connection with the natural world
Teen Hiking Map

Buena Vista Backpacking: an Intro 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, push themselves 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. No doubt there will be sweaty days and also relaxing evenings, with our well-seasoned instructors as coaches and guides every step of the way.

Location: Mt Pleasant and Mt Cole, Buena Vista, VA.

LGBT+ 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 an affirming teen backpacking trip for anyone in or exploring the LGBT+ 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: Buena Vista VA

Mount Rogers: an Advanced Trip

One of the beauties of backpacking is the ability to go to a destination that offers extreme beauty and adventure. This trip achieves just that – Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia at 5729 ft, surrounded by sweeping vistas, and highland meadows (balds) that are roamed by wild ponies. It is an area of stunning beauty.

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- camp set up, meal prep, safety, and more. The participants will 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: Mount Rogers / Grayson Highlands, VA

Please don’t delay in registering as spaces are limited and fill fast.

Please read our COVID-19 Protocols Document HERE before registering.

Details & Registration – Teen Summer Backpacking Trips

  • Ages 13 – 18

  • 2023 Dates:

    Buena Vista Intro Backpacking Trip: July 16 – 21

    LGBT+ Backpacking Trip: July 23 – 28

    Mount Rogers Advanced Backpacking Trip: July 30 – Aug 4

  • 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: $675 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 16, 2023. The application period ends March 20th, 2023.

  • 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 with any questions!

  • Free T-shirt included