Outdoor Programs & Education

Inspiring a New Generation of Trail Lovers!

Outdoor programs lay the groundwork for creating future stewards of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Outdoor Programs and Trail Education opportunities host and support a variety of ways to engage the local community in trail activities that foster an appreciation of the natural resources the Tahoe Basin affords. This work helps to build and inspire the next generation of trail stewards who will appreciate and conserve public lands not only within the Tahoe Basin, but throughout the country. Programs are varied but include a variety of youth programs, a range of Guided Hikes, and Trail Talks on trail-related subjects. Each opportunity calls attention to backcountry ethics, Leave No Trace Principles, and ways trail users can steward the places they love!

Youth Backcountry Camps Get Kids Outside and Unplugged


Youth Backcountry Camps

One of our most successful programs, our talented and energetic staff leads kids into the wilderness to share the joy and rewarding challenge of backpacking and wilderness survival through a three to five day backpacking adventure. Through this experience, participants come away with a sense of responsibility for the outdoors and develop confidence as they overcome a variety of challenges. A recent study showed that less than 10% of kids in the U.S. spend time outside every day, even though spending time outside has been proven to have numerous social, mental and physical health benefits. As kids are spending an average of seven hours a day in front of a screen, they are missing an essential connection to the natural world. As the caretaker of the majority of trails in the Tahoe Basin, it is the TRTA’s goal to give kids a reason to get away from their screens and reconnect with the world around them through outdoor education and service learning opportunities. In 2017, the TRTA is looking to further expand the opportunities for Youth Backcountry Camps to youth that live outside the Tahoe Basin and Northern Nevada.  

Guided Hikes

Volunteer magic at work! TRTA Guided Hikes are led primarily through the efforts of volunteers who are giving back and growing their community.

Day Hikes

The first of our series of three Guided Hike opportunities is Day Hikes. Day hikes are the perfect way to celebrate a special moment like the Members Only Valentine’s Sweetheart Snowshoe Trek or brush up on a new skill like a Fall Photography hike. All guided hikes vary in distance and difficulty but they do have one very important thing in common, teaching users something new!

Segment Hikes

Think of Segment Hikes as Day Hikes only taken to the next level. The TRTA Segment Hiking Program gathers community members interested in completing the entire Tahoe Rim Trail in one summer through weekly hikes. These hikes require a dedicated commitment of not only time but stamina. Hikers may be sleeping in their own beds every night but still have to put in a full day from anywhere to 7 to 23 miles on the trail. The program has a strong track record of past participants later becoming TRTA volunteer guides.


Finally the last of our Guided Hike opportunities is the Thru Hike Program. The Thru-Hike program is one of the Association’s biggest fundraisers and typically fosters advocates from all over the country and even worldwide. Each summer two groups of 12 are guided 15 days straight around the entire 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Participants in the program train for months and are coached all along the way of what to expect. After completion, thru-hikers walk away with a deep seeded connection to the trail and many are inspired to give back in some other capacity.

Backcountry Skills Courses

Outdoor education is put into practice with a wide variety of backcountry skill offerings. The Association is dedicated to educating the community on sustainable ways of use, life saving techniques, and how to be a steward of our lands. Skill courses are offered year round which include Backpacking 101 and Snow Camping 101 and a variety of medical courses such as Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Backcountry Skills Courses are lead by experts and professionals in the industry that will teach you what you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable experience while on the trail. Take a look at our upcoming courses here.

Trail Talks

The TRTA Trail Talk Series aims to ignite your passion for Tahoe and the trail! Almost monthly the Association visits a new location close by to share their knowledge and expertise to the community. Trail Talk topics change monthly and are FREE and open to the public. Our speakers host Trail Talks about How to Complete the Entire Tahoe Rim Trail, Geology of the Tahoe Basin, Wildflowers, and more. Find out what Trail Talks are scheduled and sign up today!

Celebrating the 5th Year of the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge we are thrilled to announce it will be completely FREE in 2017!

Visit the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge page here to find out how you can become a Trail Challenger!

Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge

The Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge has been gathering hundreds of novice and experienced hikers, bikers, and equestrians to get out on the trail on their own time and at their own pace for years. We are creatures of comfort and it can be intimidating to explore new destinations on your own. That is why the program was conceptualized; a way to empower our community to explore the trail they love with all the guidance but without a “guide”. As a Challenger, you are supplied with six detailed maps and site descriptions annually that take you to incredible vistas, waterfalls, and wildflowers. The Challenge welcomes users to a supportive community of like-minded individuals and provides fun activities to keep them engaged throughout the season.