Wilderness Hiking Guide

Learn the skills required to be a hiking guide

A life of exploration and purposeful journeys, where you share the majesty of the wilderness with people from around the world. This is more than a dream. For a hiking guide, it’s real life.

In our comprehensive guide training, we prepare you to live and work in the wilderness as a hiking guide. Our experienced instructors, who are wilderness guides themselves, will teach you crucial wilderness skills at our ranch and train you through hands-on learning activities. Then, you’ll practice everything you just learned as you embark on a multi-night hiking trip into remote wilderness.

Learn more than the basics

Our guide training does more than answer the question of how to become a hiking guide. It trains you in a broad range of wilderness skills that will prepare you to turn your dreams of living and working in the wilderness into a reality. In addition to the traditional skills that every hiking guide needs, we also teach you how to lead horse supported hiking tours. This specialized skill set allows you to lead trekking tours where a pack horse carries your gear, freeing you and your guests to explore the wilderness without a heavy rucksack. This additional component to our guide training opens the doors to more job opportunities within the guiding and adventure tourism industry. Throughout this course, each future hiking guide receives hands-on training in the following skills:

  • Navigation along wilderness trails
  • Camp preparation and management in remote wilderness locations
  • Wilderness first-aid
  • Identification of local flora and fauna
  • Trail procedures
  • Range management
  • Etiquette for interaction with guests
  • Wildlife safety, with a focus on bear safety
  • How to handle and work with pack horses
  • Care of pack horses: shoeing, packing, and securing horses for the night in open meadows
Sharing the richness of nature every step of the way

There’s something truly special about exploring the wilderness under your own power. The sense of accomplishment you feel at the top of every hill and mountain makes the views more beautiful and the air a little sweeter. As a hiking guide, you get to enjoy and share this experience every day.

Often, people ask how to become a hiking guide. The better question is why. For us, the answer is simple. Becoming a hiking guide allows you to explore wild and wonderful places as you share the power of nature with people from all walks of life. And as you journey into the wilderness, both in your guide training and throughout your career, you’ll find that personal development and leadership training naturally accompany all of your encounters with nature. The realities of the wilderness and unyielding laws of nature draw out confidence, purpose-driven actions, and personal accountability to a degree that no other setting can match.

That’s why we keep preparation for remote backcountry trips and high level wilderness skills at the core of our guide training. Our goal is to empower you to explore nature to the full, and to safely lead others on authentic wilderness experiences where they can learn from nature, too.

  • Thrive and grow in nature’s rich learning environment, where every moment holds new challenges and opportunities to reveal your true potential
  • Gain hands-on training in the controlled ranch environment before you refine your skills in a true wilderness setting
  • Climb high into the alpine for 360 degree views of towering mountain ranges and lush river valleys that extend beyond the horizon line
  • Graduate with the skills and the confidence to make your wilderness dreams a reality

Day 1
  • Midday arrival and lunch at the ranch
  • Learn more about Chilcotin Holidays and BC’s wilderness tourism industry
  • Overview of the Hike Guide Training Program
  • Map orientation covering key features and trails throughout the territory
  • On your first day we learn foundational skills through demonstrations and practice in the following areas:
    • Wrangling
    • Campsite care of horses, including staking, hobbling and belling
    • Trail etiquette
    • Bear and Cougar Safety
    • What gear to bring on short hikes and day hikes
  • Hearty ranch style dinner
  • Hike to one of our close by lookouts
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 2
  • Today, through instruction, demonstrations, and practice, we provide students with practical skills in the following areas:
    • Shoeing horses, including hoof preparation and fitting horse shoes
    • Packing Demonstration and practice
    • Instruction on how to lead a pack horse
    • Practice hike leading a horse
    • Effective leadership and positive guest relations
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 3
  • We build upon yesterday’s lessons with the following topics:
    • Shoeing horses, including safety precautions and practice of nailing on horse shoes
    • Backcountry veterinary techniques
    • Basic horse training methods
    • Food and supply inventory procedures
    • Planning meals and backcountry cooking
  • Complete shoeing and packing tests
  • Pre-trip preparations, including the packing of camp supplies and duffel routine
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 4
  • Breakfast at the ranch
  • Pack horses
  • Hike out to our mountain camp following mountain trails that weave through ancient forests and vibrant spring meadows
  • Enjoy lunch in an alpine meadow
  • Arrival at camp
  • Camp set up or maintenance
  • Practice staking, hobbling, and belling horses in their grazing meadow
  • Dinner preparation and dinner
  • Discussion about camp layout and location, difference between traditional and spike camps, camp time management and cooking procedures
  • Exhale and take in the soul-stirring beauty of nature’s starry skies
  • Overnight in camp
Day 5 and 6
  • In the early morning, get the horses and prepare breakfast
  • Enjoy breakfast at camp
  • Gear up and begin climbing up to higher elevations for spectacular mountain views
  • Break for lunch in the fresh mountain air
  • Glass for Mountain Goats and other wildlife before you return to camp
  • Camp maintenance and discussion of:
    • Basic Wilderness First Aid and Survival Strategies
    • Trail blazing
    • Rules and regulations
    • Best practices for employer-employee relations
  • Routine camp procedures, followed by a hearty dinner
  • Overnight at camp
Day 7
  • Savor your last backcountry breakfast
  • Complete campsite procedures, pack up, and begin hiking back to the ranch
  • Arrive at the ranch for lunch and pack for your journey home
  • Celebrate your accomplishments at graduation
  • Depart from the ranch

**Please Note: Our programs are subject to the unpredictable weather and terrain conditions that come with a mountainous environment. And while we do our best to stick to the itinerary, there are times when the current conditions and needs of the group require us to adjust schedules, campsites, etc. This is part of any true wilderness experience, however, and we are well equipped to adapt the adventure to changing conditions.

***Our Hiking Guide Training Program requires a moderate level of fitness. You should be able to hike in mountainous terrain. Good footwear with high ankle support is a necessity.


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