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Wilderness Base Camp Program

Unalayee Base CampMost campers choose the Base Camp program, which combines in-camp activities with time backpacking out on the trail.

While in base camp, campers live as a family in small but diverse groups called “tribes.” Each tribe has at least two counselors who make sure everyone shares in communal tasks like building fires, cooking, and cleaning up. Each morning, campers assemble after breakfast to learn about the activities being offered that day. Possible choices include archery, crafts, swimming, boating, arts, rock-climbing, music, and much more.

Unalayee Summer Camp CampersEach base-camp session also includes multi-day backpacking trips (one trip for the ten-day introductory program, two trips for the fifteen-day program). The hikes are planned to be compatible with campers’ age, interests and abilities. The three- to four-day long hikes are led by trained, experienced Unalayee staff, equipped with two-way radios and other safety gear. The hikes go out into the surrounding wilderness to visit nearby lakes and creeks. Sometimes a hike is organized around a special theme, such as gourmet trail cooking or natural history. These wilderness adventures are often the highlight of the summer.

Our 10-day introductory program is offered once every summer and designed for younger kids. Campers in the ten-day program participate in all the same activities as the fifteen-day program campers, and are included in all-camp events along with the fifteen-day campers. Ten-day program campers go on a single three-day, two-night backpacking trip which is designed for beginner hikers.

Kids in our 10-day program, at the time of registration, have the option to elect to be pre-approved to choose, while at camp, to extend their experience to the full 15-day session. Parents of campers who choose to be pre-approved to extend should prepare their children and plans as though the camper is planning to attend all 15-days.

Unalayee’s base camp program creates a supportive community where friendship and cooperation flourish. Working together, campers learn new skills, build self-confidence and develop self-sufficiency, all while exploring a spectacular wilderness summer camp setting.

Learn More:

A Day in the Life at Base Camp

Equipment List for Base Camp

Read some Frequently Asked Questions from other parents, including our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

“This was the first time my son was away from home for an extended period of time, and when I picked him up I could almost instantly see the change in him.  He was confident and independent and involved.  He later told us how he had had the best experience of his life and that he loved everything the he did with his tribe.” -Mother, Eureka, CA.