Backpack Trips

Customized For Groups

Experience the Wilderness

It’s life changing

Sonlight has limited openings for group backpack treks, summer 2023. Contact Winston for dates: [email protected]  | 970.264,4379

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 over 43+ 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.

We are now booking trips for summer 2023. To learn more, or schedule a group trip:  call Winston Marugg 970.264.4379 or email [email protected]


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.
  • You must pay for a minimum group size 10 people.
  • Group size may be 8-13 total people
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 2023 rates to be determined
  • You must pay for 10 people minimum.
  • Group size up to 13 people.
  • $400 deposit required to reserve a trip
  • All gear, food and equipment (sleeping bags, pads, tents, cooking / eating utensils and backpacks provided)
  • Meals and accommodation at Sonlight before and after the trip, including a home cooked dinner on Friday night at Sonlight
  • 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 for 2023, Availability is limited. Call Winston 

970.264.4379 or email

[email protected]


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 great home cooked dinner. The group will go to Pagosa Springs for showers. The night will be spent at the backpack base and have a Sonlight 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. Sonlight holds US Forest Service permits in the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forest.

To Book A Trip

Give us a call:  970.264.4379

$400 deposit and signed contract required to reserve a backpack trip. (The $400 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 $395) 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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