Sierra Nevada Mindful Backpacking Retreat

Sierra Nevada Mindful Backpacking Retreat

July 17 July 23 PDT

Golden Trout Wilderness
Sierra Mountains

Trip Overview

This one week backpacking trip in the Sierra Mountains will entail approximately 7-9 miles of walking with a fully-loaded backpack per day. Participants are required to bring their own backpacking gear, including a shelter, sleeping system, and personal cooking stove and meals for backpacking. In addition to daily mindful backpacking in the backcountry, we will follow a full schedule including sitting meditation, short Dharma talks, Dharma sharing, and deep relaxation

Gear Considerations

Gear: Temperatures average in the 70s during the day and 40s at night, but can dip as low as the 30s, so please ensure you have a warm enough sleep system. Helpful suggestions for gear can be found here.

Water: You should be prepared to carry enough water to last a full day (minimum 4 liters), along with all of your camping and cooking gear. Water will be available at the end of most days. Please bring your own filtration system if you own one, otherwise we will be providing chlorine drops for the group.

Meals: You will also need to bring your own vegan/vegetarian meals (here are some suggestions.); Sunday dinner we will be at a group campsite (car camping). Monday lunch through Friday lunch we will be out backpacking. Friday dinner and Saturday lunch we will be back at our group campsite (car camping).

Photo by David Melton

Proposed Daily Schedule

  • 6:00am Wake up
  • 6:30am Sitting Meditation (30mins)
  • 7:30am Breakfast
  • 8:00am Break Camp
  • 9:00am Short Dharma Talk (20-30mins) and reading from Touching the Earth
  • 9:30am-1:00pm Mindful Hiking
  • 1:00pm Lunch
  • 1:30pm Deep Relaxation/Rest
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm Mindful Hiking (impromptu Dharma sharing if there is an appropriate spot)
  • 5:00pm Set Up Camp and Cook Dinner
  • 6:00pm Dinner
  • 7:30pm Sitting Meditation or other Dharma-related activity

Schedule subject to change based on weather conditions, etc.


We plan to be backpacking in the Golden Trout Wilderness area near Sequoia National Park. We will begin and end the retreat at a private group campsite near Havilah, CA. Sunday we will meet at the group site, then Monday we will head out to the trailhead and begin backpacking. We will be out backpacking through Friday evening, and then return to the group campsite. Backpacking locations and days are subject to change.


Registration is via application and the number of participants is limited. For this trip we will be fully in the backcountry, so we are requesting that applicants have prior backpacking experience. 

A short telephone interview may be conducted to assure that you have the necessary level of backpacking experience. All participants must have received full vaccination and booster shot against Covid-19, and a certificate of vaccination will be required. The registration fee for this retreat is $300.

Lay Dharma Teacher and long-distance hiker Bruce Nichols, who helped us with the Path of Happiness hikes on the Appalachian trail in 2018, put together this helpful video describing how to pack for a backpacking trip. 

The retreat is currently full, but we are accepting applications on our waiting list. Kindly fill out an application for each person who would like to apply.

Our Retreat is Full

Havilah, CA United States + Google Map

15 responses to “Sierra Nevada Mindful Backpacking Retreat”

    • Hi Griselda. Our Sierras backpacking trip is at capacity except for a few spots for Wake Up age (18-35). That said, we think it could be a challenge for an 8-year old to carry everything needed and hike 7-9 miles per day.

  1. Where do we meet before go to this trip ? Can we arrive Deer Park, park our car and join to Deer Park’ s bus ?

  2. We will not be meeting at Deer Park, we will meet near the trailhead. Once we finalize the list of participants we will connect everyone so that carpooling can be arranged.

  3. I am living in San Francisco, can I stop by Deer Park 1 day in advance, park my car then join the group. I really want to join this trip . Still wait for vacation approval Thanks

    • If you are coming to the retreat from San Francisco, it would be much easier and much closer for you to meet us at the campsite.

  4. Thanks, yes I tried that but it doesn’t work – takes to reg. form not wait list. At least as far as I can tell I can’t get on wait list from that link.

  5. I’ve tried for an hour and cannot see how to join the waitlist from that form, Br, Joy. Have you checked it yourself? I entered all the info and get error “ Cannot rent resource. It is unavailable on/from 17 Jul 2022“. What am I missing? Many many thanks 🙏

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