Employment Opportunities at Deer Hill

At Deer Hill Expeditions, our full-time and seasonal staff are the essential element in all our programs and the heart of our organization. At Basecamp, Interns keep the show running. They pack for expeditions and drive equipment to resupply sites. They help put delicious meals on the table, and prepare gear for use, gaining an introduction to the inner workings of an outdoor education company. Our field staff’s knowledge, compassion, dedication and experience are the driving force behind the inspiring wilderness and service expeditions we create for young people. Hard at work year-round, Deer Hill’s administration oversee the operations of the business and facilities, manage communications and admissions, and the hiring and training of staff. This group of dedicated interns, field staff, and administrative personnel works as a community to offer expeditions full of heart, challenge, joy and growth.

Part Time and Seasonal Positions

Field Staff

Deer Hill Expeditions is hiring professional Field Staff for the 2024 season! If you have questions about working at Deer Hill, please contact the Staff Manager at staff@deerhillexpeditions.com.

Our field staff bring a wide range of backgrounds and training to their role. The one element that they all have in common is the desire to provide participants with the most meaningful, educational, and fun programs possible. Every day, Deer Hill field staff make an impact on the lives of our participants through their leadership and presence. Our field staff instill in our participants a strong foundation of outdoor skills, service work experience, communication and interpersonal skills in the mountains, deserts and rivers of the Southwest U.S. Field staff often find that their work with Deer Hill is deeply fulfilling because it is meaningful. They experience the daily richness of supporting participants as they take risks, build new skills, and ultimately learn to connect more fully with the wilderness, others and themselves.


  • In the spring and fall, Deer Hill works with schools and private groups.
  • In the summer, Deer Hill operates multi-week programs for participants ages 11-18.
  • Summer participants sign up individually and include adolescents with varying outdoor experience from the US and around the world. Participants also include high potential, low-income scholarship recipients, supported by the Deer Hill Foundation and other non-profits.


Deer Hill Programs include a combination of two or more of the following activities:

  • Backpacking
  • Canyoneering
  • Mountaineering
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Canoeing
  • Climbing
  • Cross-cultural Service
  • Conservation Service


Deer Hill Basecamp is located in Mancos, Colorado and programs run in the following areas:

  • Weminuche Wilderness Area, Colorado
  • La Plata Mountains, Colorado
  • Lizard Wilderness Area, Colorado
  • Cedar Mesa, Utah
  • San Juan River, Utah
  • Green River, Utah
  • Colorado River, Utah
  • Moab, Utah
  • Navajo Nation
  • Hopi Nation
  • Zuni Nation


A Field Staff leader team facilitates each Deer Hill program. The team ranges from 2-5 Field Staff, depending on the number of participants and type of activities. Field Staff may be contracted to work in several positions throughout the season; for example, a Field Staff may work two programs as a Program Leader and one program as an Instructor. Field Staff work with the Staff Manager to determine the best position for them for each contract, based on Deer Hill need and Field Staff ability. Field Staff positions include:

  • Program Leader: Responsible for the leadership, risk management and quality of each program. The Program Leader position is for individuals with exceptional technical and interpersonal skills, as well as familiarity with Deer Hill. Most individuals have worked a minimum of one Deer Hill program prior to working in a Program Leader position.
  • Instructor: This position is for individuals with experience and competence in the outdoor education field.
  • Assistant Instructor: This is an introductory position for individuals who are beginning to work in the outdoor education field. Some technical skill or teaching experience is recommended.
  • Internships: Please see the section below for information about the Internship Program and for the separate Internship Application.


Starting wages:

  • Program Leaders: $140.00/day
  • Instructors: $106.00/day
  • Assistant Instructors: $80.00/day

Wages increase with days worked at Deer Hill, other professional experience on wilderness trips, SPI or Swiftwater certifications, or a major or minor in outdoor education.


  • Food and lodging provided while on contract (and include: meals, beds, laundry facilities, staff storage area, kitchen, horseshoe pit, pond, fruit trees and 130 acres—if you’d rather sleep under the stars).
  • Access to pro purchase programs, providing steep discounts to top name, outdoor gear brands.
  • Professional development trainings to support Field Staff growth and continuing education.
  • Deer Hill offers a Spring Staff Training and a Summer Staff Training, free of charge, for new and returning Field Staff. Attendance to one of the trainings is required for all new Field Staff. The Spring Staff Training includes river safety, Deer Hill river systems, a basic overview of Deer Hill field operations, as well as a service experience. The Summer Staff Training is a complete river training that includes river safety, Deer Hill river systems, a basic overview of Deer Hill field operations, as well as a backpacking experience. Both trainings include risk management, decision making, leadership, and education curriculum.
  • Additional trainings and opportunities for development are available regularly.


  • Spring River/Service Refresher: March 27 – April 7, 2024
  • Spring Season: April – June
  • Summer Guide School: June 4 – 14, 2024
  • Summer Season: June – August
  • Fall Season:  August – October

Field Staff may apply for spring, summer or both seasons. Each contract is for a program that ranges between 1 and 4 weeks in length. Field Staff can either work a single contract or multiple contracts, depending on Deer Hill need and Field Staff preference. Preference is given to applicants with open availability.

Required Qualifications

  • 21 years of age minimum.
  • Able to work legally in the United States.
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record.
  • Current CPR and WFR certifications, minimum.
  • Able to pass criminal background check with CBI and FBI.
  • Able to manage participant and program needs 24/7 for the duration of the contract.
  • Successful professional experience guiding and teaching groups in wilderness settings.

The requirements listed in our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules, and if you have 75% of the qualifications listed we encourage you to apply. Your experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, which helps build the competencies, knowledge, and skills that translates directly to our openings. Applying gives you the opportunity to be considered.

Desired Skills

  • Experience leading wilderness expeditions for 4+ days in a row.
  • Experience living in the backcountry for 2+ weeks.
  • River experience rowing oar frames and paddle boats.
  • Motivated to create impactful, meaningful experiences for adolescents.
  • Flexible and able to adapt to changing situations.
  • Desire to be of service to others.
  • Self-aware and engaged in own personal growth.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Affective organization abilities.
  • Able to work well independently and with others.
  • Grounded, fun, and hard-working.

Kitchen Cooks

Deer Hill Expeditions (DHE) is seeking to hire a skilled, motivated and experienced individual for a Kitchen Cook position. This position is staffed for the entire Deer Hill operating season and scheduling depends on Deer Hill’s needs. Primary responsibilities include cooking planned meals and baked desserts, preparing food for the field, maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of the kitchen. Deer Hill’s operating season is fast paced and includes long days. This position requires dedication, active leadership, clear communication skills, mentoring skills, initiative, patience, and humor. The ideal candidate is attentive to details and deadlines, organized, self-motivated, and adaptable.

Additional Position Details

  • Supervise, manage, and mentor interns and volunteers while they are helping in the kitchen
  • Do necessary prep work for meals, helping the other cooks prep for their meal if needed
  • Manage refrigerated and dry food according to safety standards as well as the quantity of leftovers
  • Help with meal planning based on ingredients available, ie: utilizing leftovers, using partial quantities etc.


  • March 1 – September 30
  • Seasonal – Part Time/Full Time

Required Qualifications

  • 20 years of age minimum
  • Able to work legally in the United States pass CBI and FBI background checks
  • Flexibility in hours worked
  • Dependable and professional, with reliable phone access
  • Ability to obtain Food Handlers card
  • Ability to lift and carry 50 lbs.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience planning and cooking and baking for large groups
  • Positive attitude and ability to deliver and receive feedback.
  • Familiarity with outdoor experiential education.
  • Demonstrated tolerance for adversity and uncertainty.


  • $13-$16 per hour. DOE.
  • Meals available during programming season.
  • Access to industry pro purchase plan.

I believe it is important to connect young people in a real way with the wilderness, to help them understand that it is worth saving, and to instill in them incredible strength and willpower. Seeing the sense of pride a Deer Hill student has after crossing a huge wilderness on foot, I know that this person will now be able to succeed at whatever they put their mind to.

Michael, field staff


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