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Where Challenge Meets Preparation

Teen Wilderness is fun, but it's also challenging. This program instills a range of critical skills – from teamwork to self-reliance – with emphasis placed on leadership and accountability. And it is overseen by trusted, experienced trail guides to support and reinforce this learning.

The Teen Wilderness program has been carefully crafted to offer progressive challenges and growth opportunities for teens. Participants build upon their wilderness skills and take on greater leadership roles as they return to camp year after year.

By living and traveling with other participants across and through wild spaces, teens develop lifelong skills and respect for nature, for others, and for themselves.

Wilderness Options

Participants spend their time adventuring through the wilderness, working together to meet the rigorous challenges. Many trips are progression-based so that each is more challenging than the last.

Teenage girls on a backpacking trip
Backpacking Trips

Backpacking is an excellent way for teens of all skill levels to experience the wonders of wild places! The YMCA offers trips of increasing challenge and length to match participants' maturity, leadership, and skills.

Destinations range from Isle Royale to the Rocky Mountains.

Trip Progressions
Teenage boys on a canoe trip
Canoe and Kayak Trips

Experience the challenge of navigating waterways and living in the great outdoors. Our trips progress in difficulty, giving participants new challenges year after year.

Destinations include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Quetico Provincial Park.

Trip Progressions
Teenage girl rock climbing
Rock Climbing Trips

Designed to build self-confidence and teamwork skills, YMCA trips provide challenging climbs for novice and experienced climbers under the supervision of highly skilled staff.

Destinations include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and the Superior Hiking Trail.

Trip Progressions

Available At

Teen Wilderness experiences are only available at Menogyn and Widjiwagan.


Grand Marais, MN


More Options

Additional wilderness experiences are available at our overnight camps.


Amery, WI


Loretto, MN


Hudson, WI


Eveleth, MN

Two young ladies at a climbing course

Making adventure more accessible

The YMCA offers need-based financial assistance to help people access the programs that are important to them.

Here to Help

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