Deer Hill Basecamp

Deer Hill’s Basecamp is located on 130 acres of meadowland and pinion-juniper forest at the base of Menefee Mountain in the Mancos River Valley. Located 30 miles west of Durango, CO, and six miles from Mesa Verde National Park, the Mancos Valley has a long tradition of agriculture kept alive today in multigenerational ranches and small organic farms. Basecamp serves as a place to prepare for your expedition, to prepare for your return home after an expedition, or to conduct your retreat.

Accommodations and Resources

While it began as a place for groups to prepare for their expeditions, over the years Basecamp has grown into the perfect place to hold your company retreat, family reunion, educational workshop, or other event. You can stay in one of Deer Hill’s rustic cabins, or set up tents in the meadow. You can prepare your own food in the kitchen, or have your meals prepared by Deer Hill staff who are ready to accommodate a variety of nutritional and dietary needs, and always source the best foods. The House, where the kitchen is located, is also a great place to relax and read a book or play a game. There are dining tables in the House, and picnic tables just outside its doors. When it’s time to get down to business, the strawbale-constructed Meeting Place, with its many south-facing windows, wood floors, and custom woodwork provides an inspiring venue for meetings, presentations or other events. Additionally, there is a great palapa on which to relax in the shade by the pond, and hiking opportunities right from the property. For groups that would like to incorporate adventure into their retreat, Deer Hill is a fully equipped outfitter and can guide your group on local rivers, in the San Juan Mountains, and the canyons of southeast Utah.


The Loft

The Loft is Deer Hill’s premier lodging option. Located on the second floor of a building erected in 2015, The Loft includes 6 bedrooms, each with two twin beds, 4 bathrooms, a central living room area, dining area, and an expansive kitchen including a full-sized refrigerator and range, microwave, coffee maker, and plenty of counter space to prepare meals. Guests enter The Loft by ascending a staircase with handcrafted rails made of repurposed steel to a porch with views of Mesa Verde, Deer Hill’s pond, and the sunset over the Mancos Valley.

Staff Cabin

During the spring and summer months, the Staff Cabin houses program support interns, but is open to guests in the fall and winter. With four bedrooms, each with two twin beds, and a central common area, including a full kitchen, the Staff Cabin is more rustic than The Loft, but not without privacy or its own charms, including a covered porch, perfect for a morning coffee, bathed in the mottled sunlight coming through the piñon and juniper. Guests use the bathrooms in the neighboring building.

Participant Cabins

There are three participant cabins at Basecamp. Each cabin has an open floor plan, with bunkbeds along the perimeter. Tucked amongst the piñon and juniper trees, these cabins provide the classic “camp experience” for guests. Guests use the bathrooms in The Showerhouse.

Tent Camping

There is no shortage of places to set up tents in the meadows at Basecamp. Tent camping includes access to the bathrooms in the Showerhouse.

Food and Dining

Prepared Meals

Deer Hill has a complete commercial kitchen and staff to prepare home-cooked meals, and can accommodate a wide variety of dietary restrictions and preferences.

The Kitchen

Additionally, groups have the option to rent the kitchen and prepare their own meals.

The Loft and Staff Cabin

The Loft and Staff Cabin also have their own kitchens–each with full-sized refrigerators and ranges, as well as cookware and dishes.

The Meeting Place

Constructed of energy efficient straw bale, with passive solar design, and an infinitely configurable open floor plan, the Meeting Place stays cool in the summer, and warm in the winter for your conference, yoga class, lecture, workshop, or whatever else you have in mind. Wirelessly connect to Deer Hill’s internet network, or unplug and enjoy the view of Weber Canyon and the Mancos Valley.

Solar array on the roof of the Meeting Place


Environmental sustainability is a highly held value at Deer Hill, and is considered at each decision point. Vegetables are grown organically at Basecamp to supplement the meals we serve, and food waste is composted and returned to that garden. The central buildings were constructed in a passive solar design, and all of Basecamp is completely powered by the solar panels installed on the roof of the Meeting Place, The Loft and the Deer Hill Store. Additionally, being situated right where we lead our expeditions, we keep our fossil fuel consumption down, and drive times to a minimum for our experiential education programs. We minimize our paper waste in the office by reusing as much as possible, and stopped printing a paper catalog of Summer Expeditions in 2014 .

In community development terms, sustainability also includes economic and social factors. In addition to the ways that Deer Hill approaches environmental sustainability, it also makes a significant contribution to the local economy, and the influx of Field Staff from all over the country adds social value to the Mancos Valley by connecting this sequestered community with people from all over the country and world.

Contact Matt Mohi at Deer Hill to inquire about Basecamp facility rental for your event at 970-533-7492 x23 or via email: matt@deerhillexpeditions.com.


Deer Hill has been a major part of my life, even though it has only been two summers. I always remember the leaders and the spectacular views in the mountains. I always cherish the memories made and the life lessons learned. At Deer Hill I have matured far beyond what I was when I first showed up.

Alex, participant