Skip to main content

Advanced Backpacking Trips

For Campers Entering Grades 11-12+

The Widjiwagan progression of challenge culminates with the advanced trips programs, which gives experienced, qualified campers the added challenge of traveling in more remote areas for a longer duration. Qualified campers refine their skills in wilderness travel, group dynamics and leadership.

The Invitation Process

Advanced Camper Invitations will be sent out by mail over the months of October and early November. Voyageur and Mountaineer Invitations will be sent first, followed by Advanced Explorer Canoe and Backpack invitations and finally, Explorer Invitations. We communicate with every camper who is eligible to be considered for an invitation based on age so please reach out if you do not hear from us. Every year, a few campers do not receive their invitations due to changes of address or other extenuating circumstances.

In addition to grade level, we review advanced campers on their technical wilderness skill competency, interpersonal leadership, good judgement and enthusiasm for wilderness travel. We raise our expectations in each of these categories as campers progress through our programing.

If you have questions about the Advanced Camper Invitation process, especially if you have a camper who is currently in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade and you have not received an update from us by November 18, please contact the Widji Office.

Non-traditional Advanced Campers

We feel that following the Widji progression is the best way to prepare for each trip. However, we recognize that this progression may not work for everyone. We review campers who wish to be considered for an advanced trip invitation without completing the preceding advanced trip on a case by case basis. Please contact the Widji Office, Summer Program Director for more information.

Trailmate Requests

We create trail groups with the goal of balancing leadership styles and blending strengths. We encourage campers to make new friends and to challenge themselves to work with diverse personalities and backgrounds. We do not honor Trailmate Requests by advanced campers due to these group considerations.

Explorer Backpack, Entering Grade 11

Sessions are around 26 days, with about 19 days on trail. Recent groups have explored the Wind River Range in Wyoming and the Sawtooth Wilderness Area in Idaho.

Fact Sheet | Packing List

Advanced Explorer Backpack, Entering Grade 12

Sessions are about 35 days, with around 24 days on trail. Recent groups have traveled to the Beartooth Wilderness in Montana and the Willmore Wilderness in Alberta, Canada.

Fact Sheet | Addendum | Packing List

Mountaineer, Completing Grade 12

Sessions are 48 days, with 35 to 40 days on trail. This trip travels to the mountain ranges of Alaska and Canada. Recent groups have hiked in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, and the Ogilvie Mountains in the Yukon Territory of Canada.

Prospective Arctic campers are invited to learn more about these trips and have their questions answered by joining one of our Voyageur and Mountaineer Information nights.

Fact Sheet | Addendum | Packing List

Watch the introduction video to learn more.