Kit Carson Volunteer Week

Kit Carson Volunteer Week

Monday, September 9, 2019 to Friday, September 13, 2019
7:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Extremely Strenuous

Elise Moeller, Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator, 719-471-7736 ext. 4#, [email protected]

Registration for this event has closed.

Volunteer Calendar

For those looking for the ultimate RMFI challenge, the Kit Carson Volunteer Week is our longest volunteer project of the year and your chance to spend an extended period of time with us backcountry camping in the alpine and helping with the project to realign the summit trail to Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Ridge, two of Colorado's majestic 14,000 foot peaks! 


The new trail being built up to Challenger Ridge is in its latest construction stages. During Volunteer Week we will work to restore and officially close the former unsustainable trail, a "trail" that was steep, gullied, and causing rockfall and erosion damage to this fragile alpine ecosystem. Some finishing construction work of the new trail may also be involved. Each of our workdays will involve a hike from basecamp at 11,500 feet above sea level up to worksites between 12,000-13,500 feet. Work up there is strenuous and involves moving and building with large rocks where oxygen is thin. 


Volunteers and RMFI staff will work out of a basecamp located in the Willow Lake Basin at approximately 11,500 ft. This is a remote backcountry location. The base camp will be fully equipped – all group equipment, including base tent, loaner sleeping tents for volunteers, stoves, and kitchen supplies, as well as all meals will be provided by RMFI. RMFI prides itself on providing volunteers with hearty, nutritious, and delicious meals to fuel tough trailbuilding at high altitude! Participants are expected to help cook and partake in camp chores.

Volunteers must supply their own personal outdoor gear, including sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing, camp mug, etc. but are encouraged to use our tents that are already in the basin. Volunteers may be asked to buddy-up in tents to make best use of available space. 

Volunteers will make use of the RMFI-provided carry-in/carry-out solid waste (WAG) system.


Monday, September 9: Volunteers will meet RMFI staff at the Willow Creek Trailhead near the town of Crestone, CO. We will hike the steep and strenuous ~5 miles up the trail to our basecamp just below Willow Lake. Volunteers will get settled into camp then get an orientation to the project.

September 10 - 12: Complete project objectives: Each day we will hike to the upper reaches of the trail re-route below Challenger Ridge. Restore the former unsustainable trail and possibly do construction finishing work on the new trail. After work wraps up each afternoon, we will return to basecamp and enjoy delicious meals and some well-deserved relaxation.

Friday, September 13: Finish project objectives as needed, pack up camp, and head home. This is also the first day of basecamp pack-out. Volunteers will be asked to carry out some basecamp and/or project equipment as they hike down to the trailhead.

(Optional: Saturday-Sunday, September 14-15: Basecamp pack-out will continue over the weekend with staff and volunteers until all equipment is back out. You are welcome to stay and make a light trip or more back up to Willow Lake and help us bring things back down! This also leaves the potential for volunteers to stay and summit the peaks and help carry things out on any day of the weekend you choose to make your exit!)

Due to wilderness group size restrictions, spots are limited on this project. Sign up early!


  • This is a very strenuous multi-day backcountry trail work project. No prior experience is necessary, however, participants must be in excellent physical condition and comfortable living and doing manual labor at elevations of 13,000+ feet in a remote mountain setting. To register you must complete the online form which includes questions pertaining to medical history, outdoor experience, and physical conditioning.
  • Participants are responsible for transportation to and from the Willow Creek Trailhead. (We are happy to assist with connecting volunteers for possible carpooling.)

Questions? Contact Molly Mazel, Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator, [email protected], (719) 471-7736 ext. 4#  Image removed. Image removed.