a typical day hiking

June 2-5 and Sept. 29–Oct. 2, 2023
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

To view our brochure click here.

The Appalachian Trail
Running through 14 states from Georgia to Maine, the 2192-mile Appalachian Trail (AT) is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Initially, our trips will take advantage of the beautiful scenery, relatively easy terrain, and ready accessibility of the AT in the Mid-Atlantic region, starting and ending near Thurmont, MD. Thurmont is a little over an hour drive from many metropolitan centers, including Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.

Coming in 2024! Basecamp Trip Details

  • Two nights camping at ThorpeWood retreat center in northern Maryland
  • Facilities include bunkhouse with bathrooms and kitchen
  • Barn, teepee, firepit, pavilion and more
  • Day hikes around ThorpeWood’s beautiful mountain property
  • Camaraderie and activities
  • All food and gear provided
  • No cost to participants

The Umbrella Project is thrilled to announce a new program for grieving young adults at a mountain retreat in northern Maryland. Instead of a four-day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail, we will camp each night at the same location and take day hikes on miles of local trails at the beautiful ThorpeWood retreat center, which also offers us a variety of venues in case of inclement weather. We’ll have a bunkhouse with kitchen and bathroom facilities at our disposal, as well as barn, pavilion, teepee, firepit and gorgeous scenery all around.

Having a “base camp” — no backpacking, but still hiking and being out in nature all day — may be more appropriate and comfortable for some participants. The rest of the program is the same as our backpacking trips, with activities that foster bonding and sharing; time for fun, rest and relaxation; and time in nature, the ultimate healer.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, and look out for more details soon! If you are a grieving young adult 18+, please take a minute to fill out the brief Interest Form and we’ll get back to you to see which one is right for you.


Experienced, compassionate leaders Trip guides are experienced wilderness experts, emergency medical responders, and seasoned AT hikers. Grief counselors and mental health professionals are also part of our leadership team, working in conjunction with trip leaders to create an empowering therapeutic outdoor activity that honors the griever and promotes the healing process.

What’s a typical day like on a hiking trip? All trips will be conducted in small groups supported by experienced trip leaders. Except for the first night, when we’ll be staying at a campground, the group will be backpacking on beautiful sections of the AT and camping under the stars. We’ll have tarps to protect from weather, and we’ll be camping near AT shelters that have access to water and a privy. After we’ve set up our camping area, we will be preparing our own meals. Evening activities will foster sharing and bonding, with time for fun, rest and reflection.

But I don’t have any camping gear! No worries! The Umbrella Project will provide everything you need except your hiking shoes and everyday outdoor clothes. We’ll supply all hiking, cooking, and camping gear, including backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, rainwear, etc. Participants will receive a list of recommended clothes and personal items to bring.

Our trips are therapeutic, not therapy All trip participants are grieving—which means everyone has bereavement in common. The purpose of the Umbrella Project is not to provide group therapy or counseling sessions, but to bring together grieving young adults—some of whom may not know other people their age who have suffered a similar loss—and spend a week in nature.

“I lost my mom to cancer in 2020 and spent a while in an angry and lonely place. The Umbrella Project helped me to connect with people that had gone through something similar and to let myself grieve in a healthier way. My mom always loved nature, so the hike made me feel connected to her and more able to heal.”   

– Kasey, October 2021 trip participant