Title: Backcountry Trip Leader, Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Application Link: https://www.opalcreek.org/about/employment/

Work year: Seasonal- June 7–September 6 with possible extended work through October

Who We Are

At Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, all of our work is based around one simple idea: people will protect what they care about, and they will care about what they know. Through our education programs, we bring youth and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests. Our base of operations—a historic off-grid mining town in the Opal Creek Wilderness—was decimated by wildfire in 2020. As we look to the future, this year we take our popular Opal Creek Expeditions backpacking program on the road!

Who You Are

  • You pursue experiences in nature that enrich you.
  • You are curious and always learning. You enjoy teaching with the forest as your
  • You thrive on teams with diverse perspectives and identities, and you seek to understand differences.
  • You embrace a challenge; you are open to and excited by the unpredictability that comes with leading a newly-mobile backpacking program.
  • You strive to live light on the land.
  • You honor history while seeking new approaches for the future.
  • You are confident in your backcountry skills.
  • You have strong rapport with youth.

Role Impact and Responsibility

As a Backcountry Trip Leader, you lead educational, fun, and safe backpacking trips via our Opal Creek Expeditions program. Small groups traverse miles of backcountry trail, summit ridgelines and peaks, and visit subalpine lakes and streams, all with you and one co-lead as their guide. As you teach the ins and outs of backpacking you’ll see each person’s confidence grow—in their skills and in themselves.

Specific responsibilities of the position are listed below:

  • Lead Youth, Adult, and Private Expeditions of up to 10 participants in the Oregon wilderness*
  • Teach backcountry skills: navigation, backcountry cooking, Leave No Trace principles, etc.
  • Facilitate activities that build confidence, leadership, and teamwork
  • Customize each trip to group and individual needs and interests
  • Teach observational science
  • Prepare food and gear for each upcoming trip
  • Organize and clean gear for the following trip
  • Photograph participants in the backcountry for Opal Creek social media
  • Integrate learnings from each trip to future Opal Creek Expeditions

*During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have three categories of Expedition offerings and you will lead a combination of all three: 1. Youth Expeditions (5-days, ages 10-18), 2. Adult Expeditions (3-days, ages 18+), and 3. Private Expeditions (3-days, all ages consisting of one pod/COVID-bubble). In all Opal Creek Expeditions we adhere to recommended guidelines by the CDC, State of Oregon, and Oregon Health Authority.

Requirements of Position

  • Proven leader with previous group management experience
  • 1+ years outdoor guiding experience
  • 1+ years working with youth in a camp setting, or equivalent experience
  • Backpacking experience, personal or professional
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion through past job experience, personal activism, or other pertinent experience
  • Strong navigation and backcountry cooking skills
  • Strong group management skills
  • Able to lead groups on hikes up to 10 miles with heavy packs
  • Wilderness First Responder certification (by time of employment)
  • COVID-19 vaccine (by time of employment) or willingness to take frequent COVID-19 tests
  • Able to pass a background check
  • Valid driver’s license


  • $120/day: ~8 days on, 5 days off
  • Food provided while leading trips
  • Housing not provided
  • Mileage reimbursement to/from trailheads

Hiring Process & Timeline

Please fill out an application with a resume attached by visiting our website: https://www.opalcreek.org/about/employment/. Be sure to address any pertinent experience relevant to this position, including professional and personal experience. This position is open until filled.

There are two rounds of virtual interviews for this position. We begin interviews April 5th, we will offer the position by May 1st, and all Opal Creek Expedition staff start June 7th, 2021.

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

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