Find Wilderness Therapy Programs in Utah

There are currently 11 wilderness therapy programs licensed with the state of Utah. You can verify these licensing credentials and see the latest information for “Outdoor Youth Treatment” through the state’s Department of Human Services. It’s no wonder that Utah hosts so many programs with the abundance of natural beauty in the Beehive State. These programs routinely accept individuals from out-of-state who are attracted by the reputation and services offered at specific sites.

Wilderness therapy programs are not to be entered into lightly. If you’re still relatively new to the idea, we suggest you start with a general overview of wilderness therapy or tips for choosing a specific program. But if you’re ready to start your search and you’re wondering what’s out there, here are the options in Utah:

Utah Wilderness Therapy Programs

Second Nature Wilderness Family Therapy (Duchesne, UT): Offers programs for adolescents (13-17) who are struggling with mental health challenges including behavioral problems, developmental issues, learning disabilities, substance abuse and addictions, school and family conflict, and identity issues. Their programs are built on clinical expertise, safety, and positive outcomes.

Wingate Wilderness Therapy (Kanab, UT): Offers adolescent (13-17) and young adult (18-26) programs. This site offers a strengths-based and natural consequences therapy model for individuals with any number of emotional and behavioral issues. Along with individualized treatment solutions, it places an emphasis on substance abuse/dual-diagnosis and specialized programming for children with Asperger’s or mild autism.

Red Cliff Ascent (Enterprise, UT): Offers adolescent (13-17) and young adult (18+) programs. One of the most experienced and longest running wilderness therapy programs in the state. Their alliance-based therapy is highlighted by their staff development and retention. Minimum stay is 30 days; average stay is 65 days.

Elements Wilderness (Huntington, UT): Offers programs for adolescents (13-17). The therapy approach focuses on dialectical behavioral therapy for teens with a variety of behavioral issues, as well as a specialized treatment program, Seven Challenges, for issues related to substance use and addiction.

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions (Lehi, UT): Offers programs for adolescents (13-17). Program length is customized for each child, but the average stay is about 8 weeks. One thing that distinguishes Outback? Over the course of three days, the Family Expedition introduces family group therapy in the wilderness setting as part of the program.

Aspiro Outdoor Youth (Sandy, UT): Offers adolescent (13-17) and young adult (18+) programs. This site adds a strong adventure component and several distinct treatment programs for more individualized solutions. Operates over several Utah locations, as well as an affiliate program in Costa Rica.

Star Guides Wilderness (St. George, UT): Specializes in sexual treatment programs for adolescents (13-17) and young adults (18-25). This includes abuse- and addiction-related issues, as well as any number of other behavioral issues and dual diagnoses. Average length of stay is 60 days, and parental involvement is encouraged.

Turn About Ranch (Escalante, UT): Offers programs for adolescents (13-17). Rather than open wilderness, this site uses the trappings of a working ranch as its primary therapy setting. But along with ranching activities, Turn About offers strong academic, vocational, and clinical treatment services. Length of stay can vary quite a bit, but the average is about 3 months.

Open Sky Wilderness (Durango, CO): Offers programs for adolescents (13-17) and young adults (18-28). Though not required, there is a heavy emphasis on family involvement. In addition to other industry standards for safety, Open Sky uses its unique location and climate to help minimize environmental risks: It takes its pupils to low-lying Utah canyons in the winter and Colorado’s alpine terrain in the summer.

Evoke At Entrada (Santa Clara, UT): Specializes in wilderness therapy for adolescents (13–17), young adults (18–28+), and families struggling with trauma, mood disorders, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. Evoke provides therapy and healing with a focus on the connection to nature and an evidence-based approach that seeks to create a lasting positive change.