Unalayee’s unique location in the heart of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, and within walking distance of the Russian and Marble Mountain Wildernesses, makes it the perfect trailhead to a backpacking adventure. Our wilderness summer camp is surrounded by pinnacles and peaks, hundreds of high-altitude lakes, ribbons of rivers, limestone caverns and caves, meadows brimming with wildflowers, and tangles of trails begging for exploration.
Each session, Unalayee offers at least one eleven-day Trail Program that provides an extended backpacking trip into this remarkable landscape. All Trail Program hikes start at Unalayee’s base camp with itinerary planning, food packing and gearing up. They return to base camp with enough time for campers to enjoy activities, campfires and some well-earned hearty meals.
“The best part of camp was backpacking and having the experience of being outdoors and waking up to the sky. It was so beautiful.”
-Camper, Age 13, Santa Cruz, CA
Unalayee offers two distinct Wilderness Backpacking Trail Programs each session:
I. Hiking Tribe is an eleven-day wilderness adventure for campers who want to stretch their legs, cover a lot of ground and explore lots of backcountry. The program focuses on hiking and exploration, usually covering about eight trail miles per day. Hiking tribe campers are rewarded with amazing vistas, crystalline lakes and nights filled with shooting stars. Hiking Tribe campers should be in good physical condition.
II. Wild Tribe is an extended wilderness experience that focuses on natural history and wilderness skills. Wild Tribe members learn to identify wild foods, track and observe animals, build shelters and learn wilderness survival techniques. Wild Tribes focus on learning to do without the trappings of civilization. Participants might go without their watches or learn to make their own utensils and tools.
Wild Tribes typically spend eleven days out on the trail, often including a layover day for a luxurious back-country sweat lodge. However, each Wild Tribe is a little bit different since they are tailored to the skills and interests of the participants.
Trail Programs are recommended for campers age 12 and above. However they are open to younger campers in great physical condition with previous backpacking experience.
Unalayee also offers a number of Special Programs that change from year to year and are offered only during a specific session. Please see the descriptions below for dates on this year’s special programs:
Walkabout is the ultimate backcountry expedition for campers who want a long, immersive experience in the wilderness. Walkabout is a thirty (or more) day program, with most of those days spent out on the trail.
Along the way, Walkabout campers enjoy activities like swimming, peak-bagging and fishing. They also learn all the skills needed to thrive in the mountains: route-finding, shelter-building, stalking and wild food gathering, and much more. Sometimes there is even a layover day for a backcountry sweat lodge.
Walkabout campers must be in excellent physical condition and have previous backpacking experience.
Walkabout is a challenging quest of self-discovery, a truly epic wilderness experience.
(Walkabout must reach a 5 camper enrollment to run)
Girls Getaway is structured like our other Trail Programs, but it’s designed for girls only. Unalayee is dedicated to empowering today’s girls to grow into successful independent women. We’ve found that the experience of living in the wilderness – this means carrying everything you need to survive on your own back as well as using your own feet to take you everywhere you need to go – builds confidence in young girls like nothing else. Not to mention spending the summer with a group of awesome strong girls is inspiring and really fun!
Girls Getaway is open to all ages and levels of backpacking experience. The aim is to show girls that they are capable of thriving in and enjoying a rugged (and beautiful) backcountry setting for eleven-days with other girls like themselves.