Mountain Desert Trek

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Mountain Desert Trek

46 challenging days immersed in the wilderness and culture of the Southwest

Take on new challenges and join a group of peers who enjoy being outdoors to explore the Southwest. Among the backdrop of rugged desert canyons and stunning mountain summits, MDT Trekkers will develop skills through personal projects, planning expeditions, and communal living. Leadership skills like communication and group decision making will be central to this trek and serve as a great foundation for your next challenges at home, school, or work. 

The itinerary varies from year to year (see below for a sample itinerary), but each year the MDT goes on three multi-day backpacking trips, visits unforgettable Southwestern landscapes, and dives deep into culture and ecology. They will learn skills like reading a topographic map, cooking on a single burner backpacking stove, route finding, working through conflict, selecting a campsite, and more. By the end, they come away with a close group of friends, outdoor and leadership skills, great memories, and new perspectives after six weeks of exploration and overcoming challenges. 

MDT is the longest expedition we offer and as such, trekkers on this expedition have the opportunity to soak up more of what the Southwest has to offer. If spending six weeks immersed in wilderness adventure, arts, culture, and science in places like the deep canyons of Zion National Park or the alpine lakes of the San Juan National Forest with a small group of peers sounds like the best summer of your life, this trek is for you! While substantial wilderness experience is not a requirement to join MDT, trekkers who are already comfortable spending time outdoors and those who are excited to contribute to a positive group experience will have the most success.

More Information:

Trek Description-Mountain Desert Trek

Scholarship Application

QM and CA Application

Packing List

Trekker Frequently Asked Questions

Essential Eligibility Criteria 

Plans and Preparation Document

COVID-19 Information

Trek Details

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46 days

Age: 16-18

Dates: June 20-August 4

Minimum Group Size: 8

Maximum Group Size: 10

Instructors: 2

Elevation Range: 5,000 to 14,000 feet 

Average Pack Weight: 45-50 lbs. 

Course Starts and Ends: Albuquerque, NM

Full Cost: $6,295, scholarships available


“It’s too short! MDT gives you the opportunity to disconnect from the rest of the world for a summer. The people you meet and the places you go mean more than anything you can do at home!”

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If you have a question, email us here or call 505-248-0563

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