Camp Trinity at Bar 717 Ranch

Outside the Bay Area
School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
Editors' Notes: 

Located in Hayfork, CA

Parent Reviews

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Your daughter might like Bar 717 Camp near the Trinity Alps.  It’s more than a few hours from the Bay Area, but the camp charters a bus that leaves from Oakland Airport, so it’s easy.  They have horses and other animals, outdoorsy activities, crafts, etc., and there aren’t organized sports.   It’s very rustic.  

RE: Camp Counselor job search ()

Your daughter may want to consider applying for a counselor job at Camp Trinity.  Camp Trinity is a sleep away camp for boys and girls on a 400+ acre wooded ranch in Trinity County.  It has an emphasis on outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, river walking and horseback riding and crafts like ceramics, cooking, art, photography.  Every night there is a sing a long before bedtime and the Camp emphasizes a sense of community and love of nature in it's activities.  It's pretty wholesome and fun.  The counselors are all college aged kids, most from different parts of the US but many are International students. The counselors all become fast friends during the 8 weeks of camp, and these friendships seem to extend beyond the camp experience which would leave your daughter with friends from across the US as well as friends in other parts of the world when camp was over.  It's an old, well established, and well run camp in a lovely setting to spend a summer in, and again, super wholesome and fun.  Both my kids are camper returnees, and I have done volunteer work at Camp Trinity as a Camp Nurse, and I would highly recommend a counselor position for a college aged kid.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2014

Re: What sleep away camp did your child LOVE?

Bar 717 in the Trinity Alps (northern Ca). My daughter started going for one week at age 9, then begged for two weeks thereafter. She's 13 now and has established a wonderful group of summer friends, one that expands to take on new friends each year. The days are full at Bar 717: hiking, archery, art and crafts, hanging out with the animals or heading down to the swimming hole. My daughter describes it as supervised freedom. Great counselors, very steady camp staff--some of whom live on the ranch year round. Evening: camp fires, a traditional square dance--with the added twist of bizarre costumes and dress ups. We learned about the camp from a family friend, now in her thirties, who told us that Bar 717 ''saved her sanity'' during middle school. It's an unpretentious place--definitely send your daughter or son there. Sarah

Jan 2014

I am posting to rave about my kids' summer sleepaway camp: Camp Trinity, located at the base of the Trinity Alps in northern CA. We've sent them many years in a row, for two weeks each summer, and they adore it. Everything you'd like to see in a sleepaway camp happens at Trinity: sleeping in the fresh air (one-walled cabins w cots), swimming in the river, tending farm animals, campfires, an old-fashioned hoedown, and the usual camp activities (horse riding, archery, crafts, riflery). They hire wonderful counselors and the (long-standing) directors are intuitive, easy to talk to, and devoted to the program. I wish every kid could experience this dream come true camp. lgb

Dec 2008

Re: Outdoorsy camp for athletic 13-year-old
My rec for Bar 717 is in the archives, so I won't say much other than check it. Has archery, swimming, and serious hiking, but not the other activities you mentioned. happy Bar 717 parent

Feb 2008

Re: Great sleep away camp for 13-year-old boys?
I highly recommend Bar 717 Ranch It\x92s a sleepover camp in the Trinity Alps of Northern California. Beautiful!

My son went for three years from ages 13-15, and my daughter is going for the second time this year\x97she was 12 the first time she went. They are very different and both loved it. Both made very close friends there\x97it\x92s a very inclusive community. My son was not great at making friends before he went, and everyone else in his cabin had been going since they were 8, yet they welcomed him and he still sees some of them four years later.

The kids do traditional camp activities\x97arts and crafts, swimming, horse-riding, sing-alongs, hiking and sleeping outside overnight, and activities related to maintaining the ranch\x97blacksmithing, taking care of baby goats, gardening. It\x92s like pulling teeth to get my kids to do chores at home, yet they CHOSE to do things like peel trees for fence-poles. (Fringe benefit\x97they came home a bit more helpful and responsible, but it wore off quickly!) The campers do get to choose what they want to do each day, which was a big selling point for my son.

Good and healthy food (we\x92ve visited once/summer). Great counselors. Happy Bar 717 parent

February 2007

Has anyone had experience with Bar 717 Camp? I would like to get an idea of what this camp is really like, what the counsellors are like, how well it is run, etc. Thanks.

My son went for 3 yrs, ages 13-15, and loved it. My daughter will go for the first time this summer (age 12).

It's a really incredible place. My son is kind of a loner and yet formed close friendships the first summer, even though everyone on his platform (cabin) had been going for many years except him. The culture of the camp is very inclusive. They do a lot of things that I would have thought a teen boy would find ''weird'' (like hold hands at each table before meals) but he just accepted them as normal. The counselors are great, and my son idolized his counselor each summer.

Very well-organized. Lots of activities to choose from. The kids do a lot of work on the ranch--digging, putting up a fence (and my son volunteered for these activities-totally different from his behavior at home!) Shortest session is two weeks, and I think many younger children are not ready for that, but that's an individual decision. Parents can go visit and spend one night there for a nominal fee, but book early if you want to go the weekend in the middle of the session. Happy Bar 717 parent

March 2006

I am seeking a summer camp that's like a Boy Scout camp for a 13 year old boy. He goes to Boy Scout camp in California with his troop, but it's just 1 week. So I'm looking for more camp time (in addition to that week). He's not an sportsy, back-packer kind of guy. He likes learning skills, building fires, arts and crafts, hanging out with kids his age, swimming, canoeing. Recommendations anyone? Is it too late for this summer? anon

I highly recommend Bar 717 Ranch My son first went when he was 13. Now he is 15 and going back for his 3rd summer. Deborah

January 2006

Hello, My twelve year old has just announced that she doesn't want to attend the eight- week camp that she has been going to for the past four summers any more. I told her that that was fine, but that we had to find something else regular -- the main problem being that I work all day. I've checked the archive for summer camps, but most of the entries for girls her age are fairly old. I'm looking for suggestions for day or overnight summer camps for pre teens. She is very academic and loves math, science, and reading, though likely wouldn't want to go to summer school; is physical and enjoys the outdoors, though has never really enjoyed team sports. The camp she has been attending is a drama camp; she has loved it, but most of her friends are leaving this year as well. I think though, that she would be open to trying something else in the performing arts. Please help. Thanks! anon.

I can highly recommend Bar 717 Ranch (also known as camp trinity) for an overnight camp. My son has been for 2 summers (ages 13 and 14) and this summer he will be back with my daughter who will be 11. My son has loved it and we were very impressed from our brief visits each summer. Focus is on the outdoors, ranch life (animal care, riding, etc). Amazing feeling of community and respect. Deborah

Also recommended: Girls on the Go, Monkey Business Camp, Stage Door Conservatory

February 2001

There is a wonderful summer camp up in Hayfork called Camp Trinity bar 717. My kids (age 12 and 14- they love it!) have been going there for several years and I've worked there too. Many of my kids friends have expressed interest in the camp and I will be having an open house for information in March (date not selected yet) but you may also call me. I also live in Albany. They have horseback riding , hiking, swimming, backpacking, caring for animal, arts and crafts, archery, photography, silk screening, fishing, wood shop and metal work. The kids sleep in open air platfroms and the food is quite good. Lisa from Albany

March 1998

Although it has been several years since I have had contact with the Bar 717 Ranch in Trinity County, CA, as a former camper and counselor I found it to be one of the best experiences of my life. It is a place and group of people that continue to influence me in a positive way, and I am now in my thirties. I imagine that the staff and director have changed over the years, but I know it carries a very healthy philosophy has been unchanged for decades. Competitive sports are not emphasized. It is rather a rustic working ranch, where the children participate in farm animal care, creative activities, hiking, fishing, singing, dancing, and so on, in the tradition of homesteaders in CA around the late 1880s and turn of the century. The age range used to be 7-17, and younger children, I have found, need to be fairly independent and secure to attend. They used to hold reunion/orientations yearly in SF and LA. David