Backcountry Trails Corpsmember

Backcountry Trails Program
Job Overview


The Backcountry Trails Program is a five-month-long, paid, immersive development program for young adults that focuses on trail work, community, and wilderness exploration.  At 42 years and counting we are the longest-running special program of the California Conservation Corps, and have also been partnered with AmeriCorps for over 25 years.

We are looking for 84 diverse young adults ages 18-25 who are willing to leave behind the conveniences of modern life and venture into the mountains to spend five and a half months doing some of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding work of their lives.

It is NOT a prerequisite that you know how to do trail work or that you are exceptionally strong. It IS essential that you are willing to work very hard, safely, with minimal supervision, and produce quality work.

Selected participants will be assigned to one of 6 crews working in a variety of locations across California.  Locations can vary, but usually include Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Stanislaus, Inyo, and Klamath.

Life in the backcountry is physically and mentally demanding. Crews live for five and half continuous months in remote wilderness camps and hike up to 20 miles per day at elevations up to 13,000 feet. Crews spend their days performing trail work that includes clearing logs, brushing and rebuilding trails; clearing and digging drains; rerouting trails around fragile areas; repairing damaged meadows; building and repairing bridges; and building waterbars, steps, rip rap, retaining walls and causeways out of rock or wood materials.

Backcountry camps are located up to 30 miles from the nearest road, store, phone, or electrical outlet. Camps are extremely primitive.  Food, mail, and other supplies are delivered by pack mules once a week.  Meals are provided.  The food is great, and there is lots of it!  Please note though that we may not be able to accommodate highly restrictive diets.

In addition to the daily work requirements, members participate in training and educational courses on topics like native fauna and flora identification, natural history, wilderness survival, wilderness first aid, career development, community building, and health and safety. Corpsmembers also learn how to build a healthy, inclusive community where everyone treats each other with respect and consideration, and has an open mind to the ideas and feelings of others.  Committing to five months in the wilderness with a bunch of strangers is daunting!  We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all our members.

Eligible members receive a monthly stipend, health benefits, WFA certification, and an AmeriCorps education award upon completion of the program.



  • Be a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, U.S. National, or have a green card.
    Applicants do NOT need to be California residents.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 25 years old by the start of the program.
  • Not be on formal probation or parole at the start of the program.
  • Clear all components of the Criminal History Background Check prior to start of program which include: FBI National Check, CA DOJ Check, State or Residence if other than CA check, and National Sex Offender Public Website Check.
  • Pass a pre-employment drug test (urine test) upon arrival at orientation.
  • Pass a pre-employment physical demonstrating applicants are physically and mentally able to perform the essential duties of the position.
  • Be able start and finish on the established program dates and have no reason to leave the program barring personal and family emergencies, personal resignation, or disciplinary termination.
  • Have a working e-mail address.



  • Pay is $1900/month, plus a $3097 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award upon completion
  • $400 per month is taken from each paycheck for food.  Health insurance, housing (camping), and Wilderness First Aid certification are provided for free.
  • The 2021 season starts on April 26th and ends on September 29th.  These dates are non-negotiable.
  • This is a special program, not a regular trail job!  Participants are required to adhere to certain policies, like the buddy system, sobriety, and non-fraternization, as well as participate in after-work crew activities.


For more information: 

Phone: 707-725-5106 ext. 237,  or 707-601-5617

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @BackcountryTrailsProgram

Facebook:  @BackcountryTrails



Apply online through our website at

The application is in two parts.  After filling out the first part on our website, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a link to the supplemental application.  Make sure to fill out both parts completely and thoughtfully!

If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call us at 707-725-5106 and ask for the Backcountry office.

Applications are due by February 19th, 2021