Backpack Trips

Customized For Groups

Climb Peaks With Sonlight

Trips Customized For Groups

Getting out and getting above – It’s not your usual way to spend a week. Beyond the routine is a place in the wilderness where you can dig deeper and discover who God created you to be.

In the vast San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado we climb peaks, explore trails and take time to listen.

For 38 years Sonlight has been guiding trips for youth groups. We provide all the gear as well as knowledgeable guides for trail leadership. We invite you to lead the Christian education part of the trip. A backpack trip is an ideal team building event for a student leadership or intern group.

To learn more, or schedule a group trip:  call Emrys Tyler  970.264.4379 or email

Already booked a group backpack trip with Sonlight? Here is what we need from you before the trip

Notes for Groups
  • Treks are Monday morning thru Saturday morning.
  • Minimum group size 8 people. Maximum group size 13 (not including Sonlight guides)
  • Trips are for rising 9th graders through high school seniors, young adults or adults
  • Two Sonlight staff guide your group on the journey
  • Three forms are required for participation on a Sonlight backpack trip to comply with state law:
    • A health history to be completed by a parent / guardian or adult participant is required by state law
    • A physical (by an MD, PA or Nurse Practitioner) within 12 months of the trip is required by state law
    • The Authorization and Acknowledgement of Risk form to be signed by a parent/guardian or adult participant
  • You provide the program and Sonlight provides the mountains
  • Each trip includes an evening at The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, soaking in the world famous natural hot springs pools
  • Sonlight does all the footwork and details and you have all the fun


Trip Considerations


  • All participants will carry all their own gear, as well as a share of the group gear.
  • Pack weight: your pack will generally range between 35-50 pounds.
  • You will be hiking on uneven terrain, which may be rocky and/or muddy at times.
  • Depending on the itinerary, you may be hiking 3-8 miles per day.
  • Sonlight programs in areas of deep wilderness, and you may be hiking a day or more away from the nearest trailhead.
  • Depending on where you currently live, there may be a significant change in elevation. All trailheads are at an elevation of 8,000-9,000 feet, and we hike through areas that range between 9,000 to 12,000 feet above sea level. Depending on the itinerary, you may be attempting a 12,000′  or 13,000′ peak.
  • Days may be are often long, and may require you to be up at 7 am and in bed at 9 pm.
  • $275 / person.
  • Minimum group size 8 people. Maximum 12 total people
  • $300 deposit required to reserve a trip
  • All gear, food and equipment (sleeping bags, pads, tents, cooking / eating utensils and backpacks provided)
  • Meals and accomodation at Sonlight before and after the trip, including a steak dinner on Friday night at Sonlight
  • A evening at The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs
  • Two Sonlight staff guide each trek
  • This rate is subsidized, it does not cover the full cost of the trip. Generous donors contribute to offset the cost to make it affordable
Trip Dates

We are currently booking 2018 weeks. Call Emrys for 2018 dates and availability.



Trip Details

All trips begin Monday, 11:00 am from the Sonlight backpack base. 

The first afternoon will be orientation, Leave No Trace instruction,  distribution of gear, equipment and food. Guides teach pack assembly and  how to set up the tents. We’ll head in to the wilderness the first afternoon.

We’ll be on the trail until Friday afternoon, we’ll return to the backpack base to unpack and enjoy a steak dinner. The group will go to the Hot Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs for showers and soaking. The night will be spent at the backpack base and have a continental breakfast before departing the next morning.

Sonlight Christian Camp is a not for profit, non-denominational and independent youth camp. We are licensed as a child care facility by the Colorado Department of Human Services.

To Book A Trip

Give us a call:  970.264.4379


$300 deposit and signed contract required to reserve a backpack trip. (The $300 does apply to your total charge.) The balance is due when you arrive.

We will mail you a contract to be signed by:

  1. the group leader and
  2. business administrator or finance person of your church or ministry and
  3. senior pastor of your church.  

Should you cancel your trip within 8 months of your date, you are liable for the minimum charge (8 people X $275) unless Sonlight is able to book another group for your dates.

Already Booked a Group Trip?

An easy checklist of what Sonlight needs from your group before your backpack trip:


  • Checklist for church groups who have booked a backpack trip with Sonlight

“If everyone went on a Sonlight backpack trip there would be no schisms, no politics, no war!”


List for what to bring on a backpack trip

backpack photo
backpack photo

usfsSonlight holds US Forest Service permits in the San Juan National Forest, and trips are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familiar or parental status, sexual orientation. Sonlight Christian Camp is an equal opportunity employer and service provider operating under special use permit on the San Juan National Forest.



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