Campus Recreation: Colorado High Mountain Backpacking

Saturday, July 31, 9 am to Sunday, August 8, 2021, 4 pm
San Juan National Forest
Current Students

Explore the mountains in the San Juan Wilderness as we backpack 24 miles of this beautiful and challenging landscape. In some of the most exemplary backpacking in Colorado, we will find high peaks and cliffs, as well as jagged pinnacles and ragged ridges. This route is considered very challenging with a significant elevation gain of 4,000 feet in the first 8 miles. Once above tree-line, we will witness sweeping views and magnificent openness. Perhaps catch a peak at a wild sheep, elk, coyote or marmot, or enjoy the quiet peace of the wilderness. Whether your goal is to challenge yourself, meet new friends, or enjoy the peace of nature, this trip is for you.

Cost: $499

Cost Includes: Transportation in 12 passenger van to and from WSU, all large equipment needs, meals on trail, ORC Trip Leaders, Guide from Step Outdoors, LLC, campsite fees, permit fees, post trip lodge, and hot springs entrance fee.

Activity Level: Intermediate/Strenuous. Participants do not need prior backpacking but must be physically fit. Participants should be able to carry a 40lbs backpack for up to 8 miles while gaining elevation a day. *Must pass our fitness test of completing two miles with a 40 lb on an inclined treadmill in one hour*

Registration: Click here to register. Registration closes June 1, 2021 or when full. 


Disclaimer – Covid-19 Policy

We feel the outdoors is an extremely important space for students to learn, grow and explore. While safety is always our top priority, to mitigate risk of the spread of Covid-19, we have added additional strict policies or procedures. Please understand we are doing our best to keep you safe.

*Participants and employees will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test at least 72 hours before travelling with group. Proof of vaccine will also be accepted. Participants will be required to quarantine 10 days before travelling with group. Quarantine is defined as isolating oneself from others, not engaging in unnecessary extracurricular activities, and wearing a properly fitted mask when engaging in necessary activities like grocery shopping. The goal is to limit exposure as much as possible.

*Participants and employees will be required to wear masks at all times physical distancing cannot be achieved, including in public spaces and when preparing food.

*Because this trip is so far off, we understand there is a possibility the trip may be cancelled due to Covid-19 still rampant in the U.S. If we need to cancel this trip, we will make this decision by July 1, 2021 and offer a full refund.

***Policies subject to change due to state of the Covid-19 virus***                              


Tentative Itinerary:

Saturday, July 31 – Travel Day

  • Meet at Wright State mid morning to pack up van.
  • Drive 1,400 miles through the night to maximize time on trail

Sunday, August 1st – Arrival & Meet and Greet

  • Group will arrive in Colorado, meet our lead guide from Step Outdoors LLC, organize gear, review route, and camp near the trailhead start, approximately 1-hour from Pagosa Springs proper.

Monday, August 2nd – Day One/Night One

  • Travel to trailhead start
  • Hike 8 miles. The hike begins level enough but quickly ascends with a required 4,000-foot elevation gain to reach the goal camp. The route is steady, somewhat unrelenting but worth every footstep if we can be diligent about the day effort. Objective would be to leave early.
  • In the field meals – lunch, dinner.

Tuesday, August 3th– Day Two/Night Two

  • Hike 5 miles. Today is a bit more leisurely. Depending on where we reach as a group on Monday will determine how far we travel today to reach a site that we can stay for two nights. Today also focuses on slower movements to allow the group to adjust to the altitude.
  • Skill practice – orienteering/land navigation
  • In the field meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner

Wednesday, August 4th – Day Three/Night Three

  • Hike 5-7 miles. Day of exploration. We have several hike options, with on trail and off trail opportunity.
  • Skill practice – orienteering/land navigation
  • In the field meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Thursday, August 5th – Day Four/Night Four

  • Hike 5-7 miles. Begin the descent. Ultimately, we will want to begin making our descent, but we want to maximize the above tree-line travel and experience first.
  • In the field meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner

Friday, August 6th – Day Five/Final Day

  • Hike to trailhead with finish by 11a
  • Hike limited mileage
  • In the field meals – breakfast
  • Travel to Hot Springs
  • Stay in private lodge

Saturday, August 7 – Travel Day

  • Drive back to WSU

Sunday, August 8 – Travel Day

  • Arrive at WSU mid afternoon


For information, contact
Campus Recreation

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