About the Program

The YSF wants every child to have meaningful and fun outdoor experiences. We believe that everyone has a place in nature and want youth in our BOLD/GOLD program to deepen their connection to the outdoors and build their leadership skills. 

All youth are invited to take part in BOLD/GOLD.  No child will be turned away for financial reasons!  Find out if you qualify for financial assistance at the bottom of the page.

COVID-Safe Programming: The YMCA of San Francisco meets or exceeds all public health guidelines while delivering programming during COVID-19. Specific details regarding our COVID-safe policies and procedures will be shared with families closer to the start of each trip to ensure that the latest public health information has been incorporated into our trip plans.


What is BOLD & GOLD?

Are you ready to explore, make new friends and be inspired by the beauty of nature? Leave what you know behind and be a part of something extraordinary in the wilderness. On a YMCA BOLD and GOLD backpacking adventure, you will:

  • Do the impossible! You’ll understand the value of challenge and the meaning of hard work while experiencing amazing sunsets, beautiful mountaintops and starry skies.
  • Experience the challenge and the wonder of being up close and personal with California’s amazing wild places. During your expedition you’ll live outdoors, sleep outside every night, help cook your own meals and carry all you need.
  • Develop trust in one another and believe in yourself. You’ll laugh deeply, make lifelong friends and discover your true potential.
  • Connect with students from all different backgrounds. We embrace diversity and the uniqueness of every participant, including ethnicity, race, socio-economic level, culture and gender expression. You’ll be inspired to be yourself and learn how to be a bridge-builder in today’s multicultural world.

Click here to pledge your support to this life-changing program!


BOLD, GOLD, or All Gender?

Gender equality is an important component of the BOLD & GOLD program. In the Y spirit of inclusion, we invite youth to be their full selves and register based on the gender with which they identify. Single gender boys (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development) or girls (Girls Outdoor Leadership Development) trips allow participants to be themselves while stepping out of their comfort zone.   We also offer All Gender  expeditions, where instructors help you work together with your team in a way that empowers and allows equal space for everyone.

Regardless of the program type, all youth will have fun exploring the wonder of the wilderness while making new friends and developing leadership skills that empower you on trail and at home.


All You Need: A Desire to Go

Our trips are designed for beginners who are ready to embrace getting dirty and the adventure of living in the woods. No experience backpacking is necessary.

Gear: We provide all group gear and will send you a packing list prior to the trip. Missing something on the list? Let us know. We can probably loan it to you at no additional cost.

Staff: Our leaders are skilled at building strong groups, have extensive experience working with youth as well as adults, and are passionate about inspiring people of all ages to discover the best in themselves. All BOLD & GOLD instructors are experienced outdoor professionals, possess certifications in Wilderness Medicine, and have undergone background checks and abuse prevention training.

Getting There: We transport BOLD & GOLD students to the trip destination on a leased bus driven by a professional driver.

2022 BOLD & GOLD Trips & Dates

2022 TRIP INFORMATION COMING SOON!                 


Intro to Backpacking 

All Gender  Entering Grades 7-9






Henry Coe State Park

 All Gender:   Entering Grades 7-11





Desolation Wilderness  Self Identity Trips:                                                                                                

BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip:   Entering Grades 9-12  (Max Age 17)*





Yosemite Backpacking Self Identity Trips:

BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip:  Entering Grades 8-12 (Max Age 17)*





Point Reyes Self Identity Trips:

BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip:  Entering Grades 7-11



steps on how to Enroll:

  1. Click on the registration link. 
  2. Click on See Course Option.
  3. Click on the purple dates to see the trip. 
  4. Click on Enroll

Intro to Backpacking in the Marin Headlands (All-Gender)

Experience the beauty of the Marin headlands in a four-day, three-night backpacking adventure where you can see Rolling green hills, craggy, windswept peaks, sheltered valleys, hidden forests of and unspoiled beaches are what treasures you will find along the Marin Headlands. When the fog rolls in as it often does, I felt like I was on another planet. Then the fog would quickly lift, and brilliant sunshine would warm the wildflowers growing in bursts of yellow and pink along the tops of the headlands. Campers will backpack from Bicentennial Campgrounds to Haypress Campground. Participants will learn backcountry cooking, navigation, and leadership while exploring the headlands and beautiful vistas.

Grades: Entering 7th - 9th
Dates: June 27 - 30, 2021
Full Price: $730


Henry Coe State Park (All-Gender)

After preparing for your trip to Point Bonita Marin headlands, campers will travel to Henry Coe State Park, known for its flowing creeks and spring wildflowers. We'll spend five nights and six days adventure hiking in Henry Coe's 23,000-acre wilderness area, cooling off in refreshing creeks, bonding as a group, and becoming ever stronger leaders.

Grades: Entering 7th - 11th
Dates: July 4 - 9, 2021
Full Price: $900


Desolation Wilderness of Lake Tahoe (BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip)

We'll begin our trip on the stunning shores of Lake Tahoe before hiking up into the majestic mountains of the Desolation Wilderness. Participants can look forward to cooling off mid-day at one of the many alpine lakes, camping in beautiful sites, and experiencing the adventure and tranquility of the real wilderness.

Grades: Entering 9th-12th (Age 17 Max)
Dates: July 11 - 18, 2021
Full Price: $1300


Yosemite Backpacking (BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip)

Explore the majestic backcountry of Yosemite and take in the incredible ecosystems tucked away from the crowds! Each day, we'll hike 5-8 miles in one of the country's oldest and most famous national parks. Each night, we'll set up Camp in barely touched, truly natural areas. Campers will learn high sierra backpacking skills while exploring refreshing creeks, incredible granite formations, and breathtaking views.

Grades: Entering 8th-12th (Age 17 Max)
Dates: July 25 - 30, 2021
Full Price: $900


Point Reyes Expedition (BOLD Trip & GOLD Trip)

Whether you are brand new to backpacking or have put many miles behind you, Point Reyes will not disappoint! Point Reyes National Seashore is full of wonders, both natural and humanmade. Perched on the windiest spot along California's coast and the foggiest in North America, the Point Reyes lighthouse, built-in 1870, protected the shoreline for more than 100 years. After spending an overnight at Point Bonita, we'll travel to beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore to spend four nights in the wilderness, hiking approximately 5-6 miles per day and developing outdoor leadership skills. Each night, we will set up camp at a backcountry campsite either in the forest or along the coast.

Grades: Entering 7th - 11th
Dates: August 1 - 6, 2021
Full Price: $900


Financial Assistance

Please use the form below to determine what level of financial assistance you are eligible for. please fill out and send to rpatron@ymcasf.org 

Financial Assistance click here: https://www.ymcasf.org/sites/default/files/pictures/financial_assistance...