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WIN: Women in Nature – Backpacking

at Weston Bend State Park and Thousand Hills State Park

General Information

This program is for women who want to learn the hobby of backpacking in a safe and judgment-free environment. It is intended to empower participants to be able to set off on their own adventures with peace of mind and confidence after attending the class and overnight experience. Women of all experience levels are welcome!  

Date Program Times Location
May 13, 2023** Required orientation class** 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weston Bend State Park, Weston
June 2, 2023 Optional pre-backpacking campout Check-in starts at 3 p.m. Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville
June 3-4, 2023 Backpacking program Check-in starts at 10 a.m. Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville

**Please note that in order to participate in the WIN backpacking event on June 3-4, you are required to attend the May 13 class. 

No Equipment? No Experience? No problem!

We understand you might have an interest in backpacking and that’s as far as it goes. We are here to provide a safe, guided experience. Best of all, this includes the basic essential equipment! You will still need to acquire some personal equipment if you do not already have it. Please look over the following checklist to see what you might need to purchase.

Missouri State Parks Provides:

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag, liner and pad
  • Water filter
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Camp cooking set and utensils
  • Bear vault
You Provide (Required): You Provide (Suggested):
  • Appropriate clothing and hiking footwear
  • First-aid kit
  • Gallon baggie for trash
  • Moist naps and/or hand sanitizer
  • Water bottles
  • Food/snacks
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Insect repellent
  • Flashlight and/or headlamp
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Compressible pillow
  • Sunblock, hat and sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Journal and writing utensil
  • Comfy camp clothes
  • Whistle

This list is not necessarily comprehensive. All items will be discussed in detail on May 13. Food will be talked about and meal plan ideas given.


May 13 – Weston Bend State Park: Required Orientation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn what backpacking is, how to prepare for a trip, and how to plan your trip in a Missouri state park. Also learn about trail etiquette, fire safety, camp cooking and nutrition, meal planning, camp safety, waste disposal and leave no trace, gear and clothing, water safety, wildlife, map basics, and much more. As you can see, this is A LOT! Any questions you may have will be addressed. We will also discuss the possibility of optional training hikes.

June 2 – Thousand Hills State Park: Optional Pre-Backpacking Campout in the Special-Use Area (Check-in starts at 3 p.m.)

During the campout on June 2, there will be programs on fire-building, fire safety and campfire cooking. Early the next morning, a guided bird walk will be offered for interested participants. Afterward, we will return to camp, have breakfast, break down camp, pack up and start out for the trail at 10 a.m. to meet any participants who did not camp out.

June 3-4 – Thousand Hills State Park: Backpacking (Check-in starts at 10 a.m.)

At 10 a.m. on June 3, participants who did the optional campout the night before will meet up with those who did not. Then, all participants will make the 4-mile hike to the campsite. The trail is an uneven surface with rocks and roots, and participants will encounter some hills along the way. (Don't worry – a guided yoga session during the weekend will help keep us limber and stave off trail soreness.) 

We will reach camp no later than 4 p.m. While on the trail, we will discuss local flora and fauna and the history of Thousand Hills State Park. In the evening, there will be a bear-bagging demonstration and a knot-tying program.

On the morning of June 4, a bird walk will be offered for those interested. Then, we will have breakfast and break down camp. Participants should plan to return to their cars by noon.


June 2 – There will be no water or electricity but will be portable toilets. Campers will be able to go to the campground and use the showerhouse for showers.

June 3-4 – The backcountry site at Thousand Hill State Park is considered primitive, meaning it has no restrooms, running water or electricity. There is a fire ring and a picnic table.

Age Requirements

Participants must be at least 10 years of age. 


The class registration fee is $25 per participant; registration is required.

Click on the “REGISTER HERE” link below to register. When you get to the registration website, you will need to enter the date in the “Choose Date” box. The classes that are currently open for registration will pop up. Registration closes five weeks after the registration open date. All slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Register Here

If a class is full, please enroll using the waitlist function. If an opening in the class becomes available, you will be notified by the WIN staff via email or phone call.

Confirmation Packet

Participants will receive a confirmation email after registration has been completed (please allow five days for processing). The confirmation email will include a detailed agenda, special instructions for the class day, and directions to Weston Bend and Thousand Hills state parks and the meeting areas.

Before the overnight event, a follow-up letter will be sent to registered participants providing additional information and final confirmation for the entire multiday program.

For More Information

If you have any questions, please contact Annie Hartley or Taylor Ratcliff with Missouri State Parks at or 816-640-5443, or

To see additional Women in Nature events happening at Missouri State Parks, click here.

Click here to read the news release.