Golden Trout Wilderness School Program

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” - Rachel Carson

Perched high in the wilderness of the southern Sierra Nevada, Golden Trout Camp’s historic log cabins and cluster of canvas tents offer access to the beauties of the alpine ecosystem, adorned with ancient Foxtail pines, endangered Sierra Bighorn Sheep, and a myriad of unique flora and fauna. The camp, now run as the Golden Trout Wilderness School, offers a diversity of opportunities for high-school students from Thacher and other schools, adults, and families to take part in educational programs in the High Sierra.

Alumni Natural History Program

It was over 50 years ago that a small group of dedicated alumni secured the lease to a parcel of land in the southern Sierra Nevada known as Golden Trout Camp. Since then, the camp has been the site for thousands of people, young and old, to step out of the grind of their daily lives and to reconnect with nature. Urban youth, amateur naturalists, and decades of Thacher students have visited the camp, using it as a campus for the study of the natural world and themselves. Alumni have gathered with their families and classmates around its tables and campfire, deepening their personal connections while climbing mountains, swimming in alpine lakes, and enjoying the grandeur of the Sierra in its summer richness together.

At this time the Alumni Encampment at Golden Trout has been temporarily suspended due to permitting issues with the U.S. Forest Service. If you have any questions please reach out to our office. We hope that we can bring back this wonderful experience to the community soon.

Golden Trout Wilderness School

Thacher’s Golden Trout Wilderness School has historically provided wilderness education programs during the summer months. More than half of the programs have been grant-funded and dedicated to serving disadvantaged and minority youth. Other programs offered educational opportunities to the general public. Fees for these programs go toward the maintenance of the historic facility and toward providing excellent staff and instructors. The Wilderness School is currently not in usage as we are working with the Forest Service to reinstate our Special Use Permit. For more details about what a typical summer looks like at the Golden Trout Wilderness School, please visit

Contact GTC

If you have questions, please reach out to Program Director Cam Spaulding at
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.