Retreat Programs

**Due to COVID-19 our 2020 3-day and 3-night programs have limited availability.

We are booking groups of maximum 5 “non-bubble” people (double occupancy in our 5m tents; single occupancy in our 4m tent) or up to 8 people who are bubbling together. See below or Contact us to book.

Our Hike ‘N Sleep programs are available for groups up to 11 people who are “distancing together” on a regular basis. See our Hike ‘N Sleep page to book.

Want us to tailor a program especially for your group? Contact us!

~ With the exception of “Hike ‘n Sleep” (see descriptions below) all programs are 3 days + 3 nights (Thursday evening to Sunday evening).

~ All programs are based at Back 40 basecamp at Highland Bear, a privately-owned property on Brisco Mountain in the Columbia Valley, 3-1/2 hours from Calgary.

Women, Woods, & Water – September 10 – 13, 2020

$495CAD per person

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

Hike and paddle especially for mature ladies. Come and join some like-minded women while you learn to navigate the trails and paddle the world-famous (and incredibly scenic) Columbia Wetlands and Columbia River. Prerequisites: good physical condition, must identify as female, no prior hiking or paddling experience necessary.

What’s included?**

  • Accommodations (canvas bell tents, beds, & mattresses at Back 40 basecamp; backpacking tents and pads for Backpacking 101)
  • Meals: breakfasts, lunches, dinners during program
  • Program instruction
  • Access to private trails
  • Hiking/backpacking/paddling guides
  • Paddle Programs: Water craft and PFDs
  • Paddle Programs: Return transportation between Radium Hot Springs and Invermere for paddling excursions
  • ** Hike ‘n Sleep programs include accommodations and guided hike only

What’s not included?

  • Personal hiking equipment
  • Personal clothing and toiletries
  • Sleeping bag/bedding/pillow
  • Travel to and from Back 40 basecamp, or to Invermere for paddleboarding
  • A full list of recommended equipment will be provided upon registration

What are the accommodations like?

The basecamp is rustic and unserviced, yet comfortable with incredible views.

  • Shared accommodations in 3 canvas bell tents which can accommodate 3 – 4 people each
  • Real beds and mattresses
  • Outhouse facilities
  • Non-potable water for washing
  • Bear-proof storage facilities and/or bear hang facilities
  • Cooking facilities (camp-style propane stove)
  • Fire pits and firewood
  • Driving directions to Back 40 basecamp will be provided upon registration

Hike ‘N Sleep

Can’t commit to a long weekend but still want to get out on the trails with us and then camp for a night or two in one of our roomy and comfortable canvas tents? Check out our short-term stays with a little bit of hiking on the side.

See Hike ‘N Sleep page for pricing

3 tents available = 2 x 5m tents; 1 x 4m tent

Mimimum participants – 1
Maximum participants – 11

Note: these short-term stays include accommodations and a guided hike ONLY. Meals are NOT included but cooking facilities and storage are available.

Coming in 2021:

Hiking 101

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

An introductory level program to get you up on your hiking boots and out on the trails. Topics include trip planning, hiking safety, animal safety, essential equipment, and navigation. You will get the opportunity to practice your skills on entry-level day hikes on the slopes of Brisco Mountain, and depending on group ability and preference, you may tackle a more challenging day hike into the Rockies or Purcell Mountains. Prerequisites: good physical condition, no hiking experience necessary.

Backpacking 101

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

The basics of backpacking, building on basic hiking skills. The program will begin at Back 40 basecamp, where you will learn backpacking skills, trip planning, meal planning, and navigation; and get a chance to practice your knowledge before heading into the nearby mountains for an overnight trip. Prerequisites: good physical condition, some hiking experience preferred.

Hike and Paddle

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

The best of two worlds – introductory level hiking in the Rockies combined with introductory paddling on the Columbia River. The program begins at Back 40 basecamp where you will learn and practice essential hiking skills. You will then relocate to nearby Lake Windermere for paddling instruction before enjoying a peaceful paddle on the Columbia River through the Columbia Wetlands between Invermere and Radium Hot Springs. Prerequisites: good physical condition, no experience necessary.

Back 40-tude

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

A little pick-me-up program for those ladies who are apres-divorce, mid-divorce, or somewhere in between. “What do I do now?” you might ask. Well, hit the trails with us. Find your fortitude – or your 40-tude: a new attitude for this new phase of your life. Onwards and upwards! This introductory level program will get you out on the trails on Brisco Mountain or nearby, and help you brush up on trip planning, personal and animal safety, essential equipment, and navigation. Prerequisites: still breathing and a willingness to try something new.

Summer Camp for Adults

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

Always wanted to go to summer camp but didn’t get the chance? Or it was so long ago you’ve forgotten what it feels like to just have fun? This one’s for you. A little bit of physical activity (gentle hiking, introductory paddling, trail walking), a little bit of nature (interpretive walks & talks), a little bit of fun n’ games, some great adult camp cuisine, and good company. You’ll remember the nights you made s’mores around the campfire under the starry sky with your new friends for years to come. Go ahead – be a kid again. Prerequisites: a willingness to let your heart be young again.

Wilderness Preparedness

Minimum participants – 4
Maximum participants – 8

So you’re day three into a multi-day hiking trip and you’re hit with a late-season snowstorm. Or you’re on a dayhike and you find yourself off-trail and in unfamiliar terrain. What now?

Find out how to manage emergency situations by joining our wilderness preparedness weekend where you’ll learn and practice wilderness emergency skills in a controlled environment. Includes one night of solo camping (for those who dare.) Prerequisites: good physical condition, no previous experience necessary.

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