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Individual Placement Program

[Image Description: A MCC member and Forest Service employee are rafting down a river. The Forest Service employee is rowing the raft while the other is holding onto paperwork, likely for the survey they are completing. Off in the distance, there are mass

Backpacking with Kids! Highlight Reel!

An individual wearing an MCC shirt and hat poses with a group of kids, all wearing backpacks.

We had an awesome time backcountry camping with our group of three families and six kids at Kid Lake! We designed our Backpacking with Kids trip to instill confidence in families with young children who are new to backpacking in Montana. Here are some of the highlights that made our trip extra fun and family friendly:


Before we set off hiking, we all took time to think about and share what we felt especially excited about and nervous about going into this overnight adventure. We practiced important skills, like map reading, together as a group to help everyone understand where we were and where our destination was for the night. Along the way, when our trail crossed from Montana into Idaho, we pulled out our map again to check out how much we had hiked so far and how much longer we had to go. Even though the hike may have felt daunting at first, everyone made it out and back and felt proud of what they were able to accomplish!


Setting goals and completing them was a great way to help the hike go by quicker. For example, when we made it up to the top of a big hill, or when we hiked for a full 15 minutes, we stopped for a break. On our breaks, we liked to take our packs off to rest our bodies, rehydrate by drinking lots of water, and eat a piece of candy! Our favorite trail reward candies are Swedish fish, life savers, and hi chews!


There are some tasks in the backcountry that are easier done with a friend to help! One of those is hanging a bear bag. On our trip, we wandered around together to find the perfect tree branch. Then we took turns trying to throw our rock-tied-rope up and over the branch. Finally, we used our combined strength to hoist up our food out of reach of any big and small creatures! Working together helped everyone learn how to hang a bear bag and made it much more fun!


We had a great time playing at Kid Lake. From the minute we arrived to the minute we left, the kids were always looking for new places to explore and new plants and animals to investigate. We even brought bug microscopes from the Montana Natural History Center to look at cool rocks and wildlife up close. When we reflected on what our favorite part of the trip was, the kids agreed that finding frogs in the water was the highlight! We named the star of the show (the biggest frog in the lake) Aug. We are excited to hike back to Kid Lake to see what Aug and the other frogs are up to next year!

We had an awesome group of families and kids on our trip. Everyone gained new skills and accomplished something new out in the Great Burn.

They hope to make Backpacking with Kids a yearly trip, so reach out to The Great Burn with any questions or ideas for next season!