Heart of the Rockies

This expedition includes:

  • Mountain backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Conservation service project
  • Peak ascents

Spend three weeks backpacking through the aspen and spruce forests to the alpine tundra of the largest roadless area in Colorado, the Weminuche Wilderness. This is a true backcountry immersion expedition during which you’ll learn to navigate some of the most coveted mountain terrain in Colorado.

“My experiences at Deer Hill were life changing because I found myself in the middle of nowhere, but that middle of nowhere was beautiful, stress-free and real.” – Jocelyne, participant

The Rockies Await Apply

Arrive at Basecamp

Days 1-3
Participants arrive at Basecamp throughout the first afternoon. Their expedition leaders help them become acquainted with Deer Hill, as participants meet each other and the group begins to form. In addition to playing games, and eating home-cooked meals, the group will pack group and personal gear for their trip. 

Backpacking in the Weminuche

Days 3-19
All prepped and packed, the group departs Deer Hill Basecamp on Day 3 for the trailhead. Over the next 17 days, participants will carry their homes on their backs, sleeping under tarps, cooking on backpacking stoves, and get to know some of the most pristine backcountry wilderness in the lower 48 states. Participants will learn and develop technical skills such as rock climbing, traversing snowfields, and navigating the ascent of a class 4 alpine pitch. Additionally, the group will attempt to summit world-class 13-and 14,000-foot peaks, and take on conservation service projects, such as rebuilding a washed-out section of trail, or maintaining backcountry campsites to help keep this wilderness beautiful.

Return to Basecamp

Days 19-21
Participants return Basecamp for program closure. The group cleans equipment and returns it to its storage locations at Basecamp, and returns any rental items to the Deer Hill Store. The group holds a closing ceremony to conclude their experience, and enjoys a cookout and slideshow on the final evening. On the last day of the program, expedition leaders drive participants to the Durango airport to return home.

Ages 15-17*

July 18 – August 7, 2018

21 Days

20 Service Hours

*For questions about age or grade level, call us at 970.533.7492.

Start and End at Basecamp

The expedition is bookended with time at Deer Hill’s Basecamp in Mancos, CO. From Days 1 to 3, participants get to know each other as they pack group and personal gear for their river expedition. At the end of their expedition, the group returns to Basecamp (Days 19-21) for hot showers and home-cooked meals. The final full day will include a closing ceremony and celebration with a cookout and slideshow.

The group is resupplied by horse packer mid-program. The group is at Basecamp only at the beginning and end of the expedition.

Arrival and Departure:

Durango Airport (DRO) or 

Deer Hill Basecamp, Mancos, Colorado.

Arrive July 18, 12-6pm; Depart August 7, 8:30am-2pm

Travel Information


It was the greatest experience of my life so far. It helped me learn a lot of skills. I loved meeting new people. I loved being in nature and living with it and learning to respect it. I will cherish the beauty of the mountains.

Margaret, participant