Backpacking School (BKPS)

All openings for the 2016 school are filled.  Please join us next year!

  • You arrived at the pretty meadow that was the destination for your trip. A few summer clouds are in the sky and the air is warm.  An occasional light breeze, a nearby stream and a few birds are the only things you hear. The views are gorgeous. Someone in your group says, ‘Too bad we can’t stay the night!  Wouldn’t it be great to wake up to all of this!’  You think, ‘If I had the skills and confidence, I would!’
  • You’ve just moved to Colorado and want to meet some ‘outdoorsy’ people and see what the summer time Colorado mountains have to offer.
  • You are a complete novice at backpacking but have seen friends who do it come back refreshed and inspired – and you are curious.
  • You’ve taken WTS and done many day trips.  Now you want to see the stars and listen to early morning sounds in the wilderness.
  • You’d like to get a ‘refresher’ in the skills of hiking, camping and mountaineering and to see some of the gear and techniques that other experienced people use.
  • The Rio Grande Pyramid is on your “Must Climb!” list. It is a long drive to the trailhead and long approach to the mountain, definitely not a day trip.  And it could be fun to explore the San Juan’s for an extra day or two. If only you felt more comfortable with your backpacking skills.
  • The pictures you’ve seen of places along the Colorado Trail are beautiful!  The trail beckons. You’ve decided that you have to see it for yourself. But you wonder if your backpacking skills and confidence are up to the task.

If any of these describe you, the Denver Group Backpacking School is for you! You will learn – or relearn – skills needed to safely backpack in non-winter Colorado Mountains – with people who want to learn the same.  You’ll hear about best practices to keep everything going as planned and how do deal with situations when they don’t. Important topics covered include:

  • Gear and clothing
  • Camp craft and skills
  • Organizing a trip, pack, tent and camp
  • Navigation
  • Basic first aid
  • Staying warm
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Packing and packing lighter
  • Avoiding problems with animals and weather

The school is taught by instructors well experienced in the Colorado Mountains and elsewhere, who have honed their skills and perfected their gear, who love to be outdoors and enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience.

The Denver Group Backpacking School is open to all CMC members 18 and older regardless of hiking classification, and youth 15-17 years of age accompanied by a parent or guardian. Graduating the school provides a B hiking classification and satisfies one of the requirements for a C classification.

Students in the 2016 school will be assumed to be comfortable with basic day-hiking and will demonstrate this skill and knowledge by one of the following:

1) Successful completion of the Wilderness Trekking school

2) Approval of a waiver from the Wilderness Trekking school. See:

WTS Waiver (Word)

WTS Waiver (.pdf)

3) Successful completion of a test of their knowledge of basic wilderness travel

Go to the following to learn more about the CMC Denver Group Backpacking School.


Join us on Facebook at “Colorado Mountain Club Backpacking School” and see what fellow backpackers are doing.



Follow CMC Denver at @HikingDenver
Follow Colorado Mountain Club at @ColoradoMtnClub

Something to Say?

mountainsmith coupon