Two words: TRAIL CREW. Or you could call it youth corps, trail corps, sustainability corps, etc. Whatever you call it, it is awesome and life changing. If you are a young person who has a summer break between college years or you’re simply between the ages of 18-25 and love the outdoors in some aspect (enjoying camping is a must), then you should try a trail crew out for a few months.


You may already have a ton of backpacking and outdoor skill experience and in that case, why not get paid for what you love? And if you don’t have the experience but do have any interest in challenging yourself, taking part in conserving our environment, and exploring a part of the country you’ve never seen, then you should try it out.

I think if you are in college you should get a summer internship, which for those of us who aspire to work in the outdoor field a trail crew might be the perfect kind of experience. Instead of paying for expensive summer abroad you could explore your own country while earning a bit of money.

There are so many of these opportunities, several in Colorado (Mile High Youth Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, and more, as well as high school groups like Boulder County Youth Corps). There are ones across the country, where ever you want to explore and conserve.

My friends at the Smoky Mountain Corps are located near Asheville, North Carolina and are looking for 18-25 year old enthusiastic young people to complete conservation projects in national forests and other public lands, work on community gardens, and learn about permaculture as part of their Americorps residential conservation and sustainability corps program.

Spend your summer in the mountains in a new part of the country! For more information check the listing here.

Also you can check out their blog, Smoky Mountain Corps to see pictures of the site you’d be living at and learn more about the activities going on there!


Lizzie works as a seasonal for City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, spending her days among the flora and fauna of Boulder both on and off the job. When it comes to knowing what to do and whats going on in the numerous open spaces around Boulder, Lizzie is your girl. After graduating from the University of Texas with a Geography: Environmental Resource Management degree, she came to Salida, CO to work in the San Juan National Forest and surrounding areas on a trail crew. Previously she has worked for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, other trail crews, and as an environmental educator. She has a passion for spreading environmental knowledge and bringing nature straight to the people.