Update! Guide’s Training Enrollment Closes April 15, 2019:
Join us in Montana for an Unforgettable Wilderness Adventure.
To maximize life satisfaction, we have a fundamental need to experience nature in its remotest and wildest forms, create meaningful connections with others who share our values, and keep learning the skills necessary to fuel our most passionate endeavors. – Ryan Jordan, Backpacking Light Owner/Founder/Guide
Backpacking Light Wilderness Adventure Treks provide you with the opportunity to unplug in a remote and scenic mountain setting.
Life is hard, busy, and stressful: a Backpacking Light Wilderness Adventure Trek is the perfect antidote: a backcountry trip in the world’s most beautiful wilderness!
Rest and recharge from your busy life for a few days in the world’s most beautiful wilderness, forge new relationships with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts and learn and hone your lightweight backpacking skills along the way.
Three Reasons: Why Take a Trip with Us?
1. Spend time in a remote, scenic wilderness.
The Beartooth Plateau is the largest contiguous expanse of land over 10,000 feet in the Continental United States. It’s home to more than 300 alpine lakes teeming with trophy sized trout, dramatic peaks that provide a scenic view through your shelter doors, and 12,000-foot high plateaus that provide a surreal hiking experience. (Some of our Wilderness Adventures Trek leaders recently completed a Level 4+, 12-day traverse of the Beartooths – read the expedition dispatches!)
Don’t ignore the benefits of spending extending periods of time in remote wilderness environments:reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression; improved cardiovascular and muscular health, strength, and endurance; enhanced cognitive and mental function, including problem solving skills, with increased focus and attention span; and a deeper emotional and spiritual connection with the natural world and inner self / soul.
2. Connect with people who share your values and passions.
Studies show that spending time with people who share your values is good for your well-being and contributes greatly to long-term life satisfaction.
The Backpacking Light community brings together people who care about the environment, enjoy serving and teaching each other, and who find deep value in shared wilderness experience.
One of the most challenging aspects of life is that caused by the relational stress created between people who have different value systems and judgment frameworks. Take a break from all that and spend some time with people who are passionate about spending time in nature.
Many of our trek participants continue lasting friendships and trekking partnerships for many years after taking a trek with us.
3. Learn wilderness travel skills from experts.
Our guides share a deep love of wilderness backpacking and are among the most experienced ultralight backpackers around. All guides are carefully trained in facilitating positive group dynamics, wilderness safety and first aid, and the use and application of lightweight backpacking principles, skills, and equipment. Your guide will be an interesting and engaging conversationalist, storyteller, teacher, mentor, and friend!
Plus, you’ll get full, unrestricted access (available immediately upon enrolling in a course!) to the Backpacking Light Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp – an online course with more than 40 lessons that will take your understanding of lightweight backpacking gear and skills to a new level of expertise!
How do I choose between a Level 1, 2, or 3 itinerary?
- Adventure Ratings of Levels 1 (Sundance), 2 (Timberline) or 3 (Whitetail) are assigned based on how much time is spent at high altitudes (above 10,000 feet) and the physical effort required to complete the route.
- Sundance and Timberline routes are not technically difficult, and are entirely suitable for hikers of any experience level, even complete beginners who have never spent a night in the backcountry before! If you are enrolling in a Whitetail Trek, we may travel through Class 2 terrain that includes scree, talus, and easy rock/ledge scrambling, so you shouldn’t be afraid of heights or a little exposure.
- Level 1 routes have a more relaxing tempo, have lower elevation camps, stay more on trail, and have less elevation gain and loss.
- Level 2 and 3 routes involve more off-trail travel, higher elevation camps, and more ups and downs.
Public Enrollment Links
“+” indicates a late-season itinerary – shorter days, cooler nights, and the possibility of a little snow – so it bumps the Level up a notch!
Payment, refund, and cancellation policy: Full payment is required in advance to reserve your spot on a trek. If you cancel a reservation within 90 days of the start date of your trek, you will only be issued a refund if the trek is sold out and we have someone on the waitlist who is willing to take your spot. If you cancel a reservation earlier than 90 days prior to the start of your trek, you are entitled to a full refund minus a $50 processing fee. If Backpacking Light cancels a trek, you are entitled to a 100% refund of all monies paid. In the event of cancellation of a trek, you are responsible for costs associated with nonrefundable airline tickets, etc. Plan accordingly.
How it Works
- First, review the Welcome Packet.
- Then, enroll in the trek (or trek(s)!!) of your choice.
- We help you get ready for your trek by connecting you to your trek leaders (guides) for private consulting and activate your enrollment for an online course about lightweight backpacking.
- You connect and collaborate with your fellow trek participants for several weeks before your trek.
- You meet up with your group in the beautiful mountain town of Red Lodge, Montana, where we’ll have a pre-trip briefing to go over our itinerary, check gear, and make a few last minute preparations.
- We hit the trail!
- Come home recharged and ready to tackle the world (or perhaps, ready to sell all your stuff and go live in a van)!
Still interested? Here are more resources:
- Review the Trek Participant Welcome Packet – it’s comprehensive and answers most questions you’ll have about travel, course logistics, equipment requirements (gear list), and more!
Backpacking Light Wilderness Adventure Treks Change Lives:
Read What Others Are Saying
In a pure setting that only nature can deliver, Backpacking Light and crew provide the absolute best experience to learn and put into practice what it means to ‘backpack light’ – Mark Smith (Huntsville, AL)
Trekking in the Montana Beartooths with Backpacking Light is the perfect combination of world-class terrain and incredible scenery coupled with expert leadership from Backpacking Light’s trek leaders. Do it. – Mark Shane (Cody, WY)
The combination of the most awesome place I’ve ever trekked with a dynamic group learning and sharing environment made the trek the best backcountry experience I’ve ever had. – Jeremy Hanks (Lehi, UT)
I would highly recommend a trek with Backpacking Light based upon the experience my wife (first-time backpacking trip) and I had on a Wilderness Adventures Trek on the Beartooth Plateau – simply awesome in every way! – Gary Parkes (Franklin, TN)
Participant Review Ratings
The following data represents the average review ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 = poor and 5 = outstanding) from all 2016 participants who completed our program evaluation.
- Scenic Value – 4.7
- Remoteness / Solitude – 4.7
- Appropriateness of Physical Challenge – 4.4
- Enjoyment of Trekking Companions – 4.8
- Hiking and Camping Skills Instruction – 4.4
- Helpfulness of Guides – 4.9
- Guides Knowledge About Ultralight Backpacking – 4.6
- Guides Kindness, Empathy, and Attention to Participants – 4.9
- Guides Overall Personality and Character – 4.9
- Participant Feeling of Safety and Confidence – 4.7
- Trip Experience, Degree of Positivity and Happiness – 4.7
Remember, your experience is guaranteed to be awesome, or you get your money back.
Wilderness Adventure Treks Photo Gallery
Backpacking Light Wilderness Adventure Treks in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness are operated by Ryan Jordan LLC, a licensed outfitter of the Beartooth Ranger District of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest.