As a Backcountry Trip Assistant, you co-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 Backcountry Trip Leader as their guide. As you bring your unique energy and enthusiasm to the backcountry, you’ll see that spread to each group, creating lasting memories.

Specific responsibilities of the position are listed below:

Co-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 co-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.

$100/day: ~8 days on, 5 days off
Food provided while leading trips
Housing not provided
Mileage reimbursement to/from trailheads

Tagged as: Backcountry Skills, Camp Counselors, Conservation, Instruction and Guiding, Medical, Teaching/Education


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
Wilderness First Aid certification (by time of employment)
COVID-19 vaccine (by time of employment) or willingness to take frequent COVID-19 tests

Required Skills:

Strong group management skills
Able to lead groups on hikes up to 10 miles with heavy packs

About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

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!

Application Instructions

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.