Registration for the Oct. 4–7, 2024 hike is now open.

Please fill out our Interest Form and we will get back to you!

Click Here for Interest Form

Join us for monthly Grief Hikes at Thorpewood.

Hear from a Hiker

Backpacking Trip Details

  • Beautiful Appalachian Trail hiking southbound in Maryland
  • Fun backpacking 
  • Camaraderie and activities 
  • All gear and food provided 
  • First night camping at a mountain retreat in northern Maryland
    (with all facilities)
  • Two nights camping on the Appalachian Trail
    (with shelters and some facilities) 
  • First and last days are partial days 
  • Transportation available 
  • No cost for trips 

 “The Umbrella Project is an amazing experience for anyone who is going through the loss of a loved one. It helped me to listen to others talk about similar feelings I had. The UP team is a great group of people! What better people to be outdoors with than those who also understand your feelings.”

—Francesca, 2021 trip participant 

Aja shares her Umbrella Project experience

Join Us!

WHO: Young adults 18+ who are grieving the loss of a close loved one.

What: A fully supported hike with experienced and trained leaders on the East Coast’s Appalachian Trail

2024 Trip Dates: May 31–June 3 and Oct. 4–7

Where: The Appalachian Trail–a bit more than an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.

Why: Very few grief programs exist for young adults, an age group that is already often experiencing difficult life transitions. The Umbrella Project seeks to fill that void with an empowering therapeutic outdoor activity that honors the griever and promotes the healing process.

Cost: The Umbrella Project is funded by our gracious donors and sponsors. There is no cost to participate in our trips, and all gear is provided.

To view our brochure click here.

Find Out What A Hike Is Like!

This journey is for you.

Out under the stars on the Appalachian Trail, after a long day’s hike, the healing process has begun. We know, because we’ve been there.

The Umbrella Project is an outdoor experience like no other, designed specifically for young adults aged 18+ who are grieving the loss of a close loved one. Hiking over mountains and through valleys of great scenic beauty with a small group of your peers, you will be surprised at your own inner strength and resourcefulness.

The wilderness journey we will undertake together provides a caring, supportive community of those who understand and are sharing the same overwhelming experience of loss. Trained, experienced leaders will guide you over all kinds of terrain in all kinds of weather—which is exactly the point. By participating in a powerful outdoors experience, you will learn the coping skills, self-awareness, and self-reliance that are an essential part of the healing process.

And, as we have also discovered from our own experience, the bond that comes from sharing a grief journey together often presents new opportunities, interests, and friends. In addition to your group of peers, you are sure to meet all kinds of interesting hikers on the trail, and having fun is an important element of any hiking trip!

Some grief work, facilitated by qualified counselors, will be a helpful part of the program, but the Umbrella Project is not intended to provide therapy. Rather, the experience itself—overcoming obstacles, becoming self-reliant, trusting your peers, being out in nature’s grandeur—is what helps facilitate healing and personal growth.

Why are we called the Umbrella Project? 


The Umbrella Project Mission Statement

To provide grieving young adults a supported wilderness
hiking experience that promotes personal growth, self-reliance and
therapeutic recreational activity to help in their healing process.


The Umbrella Project is a registered 501 (c) (3) Maryland non-profit corporation.
All donations are fully tax deductible.