Juniper Canyon is at the cutting edge of incorporating adventure therapy into the treatment experience and looking at the ways to maximize its effectiveness. Juniper Canyon utilizes adventure therapy to address early intervention and treatment for clients with substance abuse, psychological, and psychosocial issues. It often appeals to clients who are less responsive to traditional psychotherapeutic interventions, leading to greater investment in the program and better outcomes for clients.

All adventure activities follow the guiding concepts of “Safe, Fun, and Meaningful”. We engage our clients in activities that encourage individual participation, build group cohesion, develop self-confidence, self-efficacy, and self-compassion, and provide meaningful challenge and a sense of accomplishment. Out team designs adventure activities to meet the therapeutic needs and address the individual treatment goals of our clients.  

Wilderness and Adventure Together

Juniper Canyon draws from the field of Adventure Therapy to complement the healing power of Wilderness Therapy. Traditional wilderness therapy is characterized by immersion in the wild with caring guides, unavoidable successes, and deliberate time for contemplation. Integrating Adventure Therapy into this tradition encourages clients to invest in their own treatment and helps them learn to have fun in healthy ways.

Juniper Canyon utilizes the vast expanses of public lands surrounding the program’s base of operations in Loa, Utah. This striking and diverse array of slick-rock canyons, colorful high desert, awe-inspiring mountains, forested plateaus, and pristine lakes and streams offers boundless settings for meaningful adventures. Juniper Canyon clients are privileged to experience the magnificent Utah landscape, which attracts adventure-seekers from all over the world.

The wilderness routinely presents seemingly insurmountable challenges. The power of the lessons learned in overcoming these challenges is a fundamental component of our approach to treatment. We deliberately steer our clients toward these tests, support and empower them in the achievement of success, then carefully process the experience in order to maximize our clients' growth. Successive cycles of facing and overcoming obstacles develops self-efficacy and resiliency traits and enhances confidence in overcoming any of life's challenges.

​Adventure and Recovery

When one enters recovery, the challenge is not just the removal of substances or other sources of addiction. Another concern for many people in early recovery is worrying that life will be mundane and meaningless without the non-stop rollercoaster of emotions and stimuli that are part of addiction.  The life focused on scoring the next high is also a life in which relationships to substances or addictive habits have become more important than relationships with people.  Learning how to live differently, find meaning in life, and build strong relationships are keys to long-term recovery. Discovering new passions and finding healthier outlets for energy and desires can help individuals avoid relapse and create a new fulfilling lifestyle. Introducing clients to adventure activities kindles healthy new interests and  provides meaningful purpose to their lives in recovery.  

​Our Adventures

​Technical Canyoneering:

Canyoneering is the activity of descending canyons by climbing and rappelling down obstacles. People travel from around the world to go canyoneering in Juniper Canyon's course area. We have the equipment and expertise to guide our client teams down spectacular canyons. Some of our favorites include Chimney Canyon, Eardley Canyon, Little Iron Wash, Baptist Draw and Upper Chute Canyon, and our “secret” gem, Pete’s Dragon, which we scouted and pioneered ourselves. 

Rock Climbing:

Our course area contains world-class climbing terrain stretching from the San Rafael Swell to the cliffs near Capitol Reef National Park. We incorporate safe rock climbing practices and mindfulness into our curriculum and relate the experience back to the core way of being. The preparation and planning required to spend a day at the crag, involves cognitive skills that clients can use in any high-risk situation. Clients’ work together with staff, problem-solving the unique challenges of each route. This promotes a high level of trust building and self-efficacy and creates an unparalleled formative experience.

Rock climbing allows clients to experience perceived risk within a safe container.  This helps them develop the distress tolerance and emotional regulation vital to relapse prevention, rehabilitation, and growth. Our guides are highly trained and certified to lead all adventure activities, utilizing American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) best practices and Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) accreditation standards.

Mountain Biking:

Our course area offers many spectacular mountain biking routes including the San Rafael Swell, the Henry Mountain desert, and on top of Boulder Mountain. Mountain bike adventures, as with all of our adventures, are safe, fun, and meaningful.


Juniper Canyon conducts hiking treks across rugged mountain and beautiful high desert terrain. We hike across 11,000 foot plateaus and through deep canyon gorges. The beauty and solitude of the Sweetwater Canyon defies description. The grandeur of the Chute of Muddy Creek leaves a powerful impression on its visitors. The areas where we hike and camp are the areas you see on postcards and panoramic photos of the desert southwest.

Mountain Summits:

There are many mountain summits within our course area that serve as challenging objectives for our groups. Mt Hilgard (11,533 ft), Mt Ellen (11,522 ft), and Mt Terrill (11,547 ft) are some of our regular targets. These summit adventures involve a one or two-day approach hike followed by the actual summit attempt day. The exhilaration and sense of accomplishment one feels standing “on top of the world” is difficult to describe. Sharing the experience with the team of peers makes it even more powerful.