American Hiking Guides Association

About Us

Since 2010 we have been setting the standards for Hiking & Backpacking Guides (Mountain Leaders) in the United States. We follow professional international standards set for the by the UIMLA that have been in place for many years in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. 

In the United States, up until 2010, there existed no formal training that was Nationally recognized for hiking & backpacking guides. Our curriculum, training and assessments have been approved by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and International Mountain Leaders from European and South American countries. We currently have over 700 certified guides. 

Hiking & Backpacking Guides operate on Class I to IV terrain in a wilderness setting. The skills and equipment involved to safely travel with clients or groups on this terrain are specialized to the industry.

Internationally certified Mountain Leaders (IMLs) operate on Class I to IV permanent or non-permanent snow covered, non-glaciated terrain. The skills and assessments involved in becoming an IML can take up to 4 years and require training in several countries on varying terrain.

Our programming is split into three sections: Hiking Guide, Backpacking Guide and Mountain Leader. We also offer training in backcountry water safety and backcountry food handling. All of our curriculum is Nationally and Internationally recognized. Each of our programs have prerequisites, a training course, wilderness logging and then an assessment in all of those skills.

We look forward to providing you with professional level training and certifications to operate on low angle, semi-technical terrain.


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