(Scroll down to Application Form)

Volunteer Wilderness Rangers (VWRs) come in two flavors: 

TRAILHEAD HOSTS and TRAIL PATROLLERS. Both go through the same training program and pursue the same objectives. Both are multi-taskers, official representatives of the United States Forest Service, meeting the public, encouraging them to follow Leave No Trace principles.

The difference is mobility. The Hosts stay put at the trailhead, where with table, chairs, banner, maps, and swag, they help visitors on their way in and way out. The Patrollers hike the trails, helping to keep them clear and inspecting campsites while also engaging hikers and backpackers. Some VWRs do both.


VWRs commit to: 

  • A half-day in person training program (plus, in advance, a one-hour on-line video introduction)

  • A follow-up mentor hike

  • Four Wilderness outings - both trail patrols and trailhead host sessions count. Patrols each last 4 hours or more; trailhead host sessions last 3 hours or more. The season lasts until mid-October.

Scroll down to complete the application to sign up for future training.




  • Answer questions for hikers, especially pertaining to trail distance, condition, elevation and time required to reach destination. Educate hikers regarding rules for wilderness use, "Leave no trace" wilderness ethics, the danger of falling trees, what to do when encountering moose, bears, mountain lions or mountain goats, where campsites and campfires are allowed and not allowed and why dogs should be kept on a leash.

  • Inform interested hikers about Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance (ESWA), how and why we help the Forest Service and provide them with information on how to get involved with us if they wish to do so.

  • Keep a record of Number of hikers and campers encountered (and group sizes) and Number of dogs on & off leash. Trail patrollers also assess trail conditions, count trees across the trail, estimate miles hiked, Time spent on the hike, and assess campsite conditions (including campfire rings).

TRAILHEAD HOSTS: As our Wilderness trails become ever more popular, Wilderness education becomes increasingly important to protect our wild places. Trailhead Hosts staff informational tables at trailheads. We meet and greet hikers and backpackers on their way into and out of the Wilderness. Hosts take the same training as our other Volunteer Wilderness Rangers who patrol Wilderness trails - the only difference is that Hosts remain at the trailhead. Trailhead Hosting is a great way to engage the public. It's also a nice option for those days when you want to be outdoors helping Wilderness but don't feel like hiking.   


Hosts select the days, hours, and trailheads at which they want to host. Hosts are provided a kit comprising a table, informational items like maps and wildflower guides, swag for free distribution, and helpful items such as dog leashes and band aids. Those who agree to host at least 4 times over the summer are provided their own personal kit; other Hosts can pick up a kit at the ESWA storage sheds at Forest Service locations in Summit and Eagle Counties.


Trailhead Hosts must have taken our Volunteer Wilderness Ranger training. We urge hosts to work in pairs, but only one member of the pair needs to have completed ranger training. Not yet a VWR?  Sign up for VWR training HERE.


Like other Volunteer Wilderness Rangers who patrol trails, Trailhead Hosts sign up online before hosting, and submit a report afterwards. Every three hours of hosting counts against one of the minimum four patrols required of ESWA Volunteer Wilderness Rangers.



  • Fill out a short online report with all the information recorded above, in addition to date, name of trail, time of hike, condition of trail signs, horses or big game seen and interesting, novel, fun, or scary encounters with people or animals.

A simple way to 

memorize the 7 Leave No Trace principles 

Just 7 words. Click HERE.

Download the VWR Training Manual HERE (2MB)

More Training Day photos HERE

NOTE: Training is normally held the SATURDAY BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY.

There are morning and afternoon trailing sessions.


Thanks for submitting! We'll be in touch soon