Find Your Next Adventure

Or leave the current defaults



Quick Trip Search
Colorado Mountain Club
Welcome,    Log OutMember Login •  Contact Us
Home » Classes » CMC Classes and Schools » Day Hiker School

Day Hiker School



Day Hiker School (DHS)


Day Hiker School (DHS) is for all who wish to hike on and/or off trail. Students will gain the knowledge and confidence to hike in Colorado. The school is intended for ALL skill levels - from new hikers to experienced hikers who simply wish to brush up on or fill holes in their skill set.

It is a segment-based program – combining on-line class and group work with in-person field days.

DHS teaches many of the foundational skills needed for more specific or advanced schools offered by the CMC. As such, DHS can be used a substitute for Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) for the prerequisite requirement of many of the more advanced or specific schools offered by the CMC (for example, mountaineering, backpacking, scrambling and others). Please check with specific schools prior to taking this class. Also, it can be used to satisfy the requirement of WTS on Hiker Classification Changes. 


Who Should Take the Class –

All members, 18 and over, who intend to hike should take this school or WTS. DHS is designed for specifically for members whose life-style or work schedule does not allow for a commitment to the in-class experience of WTS. Those that can make the schedule of WTS work are encouraged to take WTS. 


Topics covered include:


  •   The 10 (or more) essentials – providing information to help with the decision of what to pack and best sources for this gear
  •   The overarching principles of backcountry safety and making decisions of risk vs. reward when day-hiking
  •   Techniques that can be used for both on and off trail hiking
  •   Basic map & compass skills: orientation, navigation, and route-finding – these can be further developed in the various navigation classes offered by CMC
  •   Weather – what to pack for the changing weather conditions in Colorado
  •   Nutrition and hydration – What to bring and how to prepare for a day hike
  •   How to prepare for a unexpected overnight stay – these skills can be further practiced in Wilderness Survival School 
  •   Basic snow travel and basic avalanche awareness – these skills can be further developed in various other classes with the CMC
  •   Leave No Trace concepts and how to be a better citizen using the backcountry with a lower impact – including wildlife encounters.
  •   Knots – We will teach basic knots used for hiking – The Knot Tying School can build on this knowledge
The course consists of five segments – 
1. Dryland Travel – foundational hiking skills
2. Map and Compass – Learning basic navigation skills
3. Survival  – What to do when things go wrong
4. Snow – Self arrest and other basic skills for snow travel
5. Graduation – Planning and preparing for a hike to a specific point


REQUIREMENTS - Students must complete all five segments within two years from the end of the month of they register in order to graduate. Each segment will consist of an online lecture, required reading material, and a quiz. Students must complete all of these items prior to signing up for the in-field portion of each segment. The in-field portion will be available on the CMC calendar.


Please contact Mike O’Connor at or 303-933-3100 with any questions. You can also email the office at or call us at (303) 279-3080. See you on the trail!