Bar 717 Ranch

Star Route Box 150
Hyampom Rd, Hayfork, CA 96041
All bookings are free!
Camp Price 2020:
/ per session
Camp Category: ACA Accredited, Animal Encounters, Archery, Arts&Crafts, Backpacking, Ceramics, Cooking, Dance, Drama, Farming, Fishing, Gardening, Hiking, Music, Nature Exposure, Photography, Riflery, River, Ropes Course, Silk Screening, Swimming, Traditional

About the Bar 717 Ranch

Camp Trinity on the Bar 717 Ranch is the oldest accredited co-educational summer camp in California. Since 1930, the Gates family has welcomed children ages 8 to 16 to live, work, and play on 450 acres of pristine wilderness as part of our large ranch family. Today, the pioneer traditions of cooperation, resourcefulness, and respect for the land are the foundation for wholesome summers filled with fun and friendship, rewarding new experiences, and a deep connection with nature.
For more than 80 years, the Bar 717 Ranch has welcomed children to 450 acres in the beautiful mountains of Trinity County to experience nature, form deep friendships, and have big fun.

Life on the ranch is rustic and unplugged: We spend our days swimming, hiking, riding, caring for animals, gardening, and making music and art. We live, work, and play in a co-educational, non-competitive setting where kids are free to be themselves. Building community and respect for the environment are the heart and soul of our summer camp. Join us!
Camp Trinity on the Bar 717 Ranch was founded in 1930, when Grover and Erma Gates first welcomed campers into their pioneer ranch family.

Since then thousands of campers have spent a portion of their summers living, working, and playing as part of a large ranch family in the mountains of Trinity County. This family model continues to provide a framework of cooperative practices and wholesome traditions around which Camp's programs and philosophies are shaped. Still owned and run by the Gates family, Camp Trinity is the oldest accredited coeducational summer camp in California, welcoming children and staff from across the state, the country, and the world.

Early Years
The Bar 717 Ranch was originally three separate homesteads. The first, known as the Old Gates Place (Emily's today) was homesteaded by Moses Williams in 1884. In 1906, William Shules homesteaded the property where 'main camp' would later be. Finally, in 1919. Robert McKay, homesteaded what today would be the Bar 7.

In 1901, Grover's parents, Alfred and Delia Gates purchased the Williams homestead and came to live there the following year with their children, Raymond, Calvin, Grover, Dewy, and Beryl. Within a few years two more children, a daughter, Nina, and son James would be born.

Grover spent his childhood days on the family's homestead, farming, raising and tending animals, and living a wilderness life. School was nearly a 7-mile walk down mountain trails and across two creeks. Some winters the Gates children would board with a family in Hyampom in order to be able to continue to attend school when the weather turned bad.
After graduating in 1917 from Willamette College in Oregon, Grover returned to California to teach PE and history at Paso Robles High. It was there that he met another teacher, Erma Leedy, and in 1928 they were married. Erma was born and raised in Ohio where her family had been farming for many generations in Knox County. She too, had come to Paso Robles to teach after graduating from the University of the Pacific.

During the late 1920s, Grover purchased the adjacent homesteads and assembled them into what he would then call the Bar 717 Ranch. Grover derived the '717' from his initials, Grover Allen Gates, with G being the 7th letter in the alphabet, A the 1st. 'Bar' comes from the common symbol found on many cattle brands.

Camp Trinity
In the summer of 1929, Grover and Erma invited the first 'camper', Erma's teenaged nephew Bob Haynor, to join them at the Ranch. In 1930, several other boys joined the group, and the tradition of Camp Trinity began. From the start, the program was ''life on a ranch': living and working as a family to improve the land and the lives of the people who were there. Campers and staff helped with all the ranch work, building; places to sleep, cook, and eat, putting together fences, barns, and water systems. While there was a lot to do, early camp life wasn't all work. Campers swam in the river, fished, rode horses, took pack trips, danced, put on skits, and sang around the campfire.

Campers and staff at Camp Trinity have always lived and worked as a large pioneer ranch family. This model provided the framework around which the practices and traditions grew that would shape the program and philosophy of Camp Trinity.

Still owned and operated by the Gates family, Camp Trinity today is the oldest accredited co-educational summer camp in California. For more then 80 years, we've been setting the highest standards in camping. Camp Trinity welcomes children and staff from all over California, the nation, and the world.
We believe that children thrive in an atmosphere where both individuality and community are nurtured with warm, seasoned leadership.
At the Bar 717 Ranch, campers follow their hearts: to long mornings on horseback, silk-screening in the art room, backpacking in the Trinity Alps, navigating the ropes course. They're also encouraged to try new activities (blacksmithing, anyone?), learn new skills (there are fences to mend and goats to milk), and assume new responsibilities as part of our large ranch family.

Life on the ranch provides a vital respite from the digital culture that has become an imposing presence for many children. There are no gadgets or electronics in campers' lives here. We work and play side-by-side, face-to-face, and completely unplugged. Whether baling hay, baking bread, or creating a skit, each day offers campers remarkable opportunities to cultivate self-awareness and social skills.

The pioneer traditions of cooperation and resourcefulness, which have defined and sustained the Bar 717 Ranch for generations, still apply today.

Nature is our constant companion. By taking time to appreciate the beauty of the land, by swimming in rivers and climbing mountains, by growing gardens, raising our own food and making compost, we foster in campers a deep understanding and appreciation of the environment.

Camp life is as wholesome, practical, and rewarding as it is just plain fun. We learn by doing and we grow together. Campers often return home with a newfound sense of both self-reliance and deep community that endures for a lifetime.
The Bar 717 Ranch is on 450 acres of beautiful wilderness within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest at an elevation of 2,000 feet. The days are warm, and nights are cool. We are located 16.8 miles west of Hayfork, California and are surrounded by forests of pine, fir, oak, and madrone. The ranch is comprised of mountains, meadows, pristine creeks, and pastureland. The Bar 717 Ranch has been owned and operated by the Gates family since 1930. Camp is directed by Kent Collard, the grandson of Camp Trinity founder, Grover Gates.
The daily program is open to choice. We offer skilled leadership in horsemanship, arts and crafts, photography, ceramics, woodshop, metal-shop, gardening, archery, camp craft, backpacking, ranch maintenance and improvement projects, nature study, animal husbandry, music, dance, cooking and baking, water activities, and leadership training.

Our string of horses is used every day except Sunday on trails and in the riding rings. Campers participate in grooming, saddling, and in tack and barn maintenance. For safety reasons, campers are grouped according to riding ability. In addition, we require campers to wear helmets when riding. If your child owns a riding helmet, please send it with him/her to Camp as this will supplement our supply of riding helmets. Riding, like all other programs, is available to all campers.

We take many overnights and extended backpacking trips to areas around Camp. On these trips, campers are responsible for carrying their own things as well as a portion of the group's food supply. If you have an internal or external frame backpack, please send it to Camp with your child; it will make these outings more enjoyable for all. If your child is interested in an extended backpacking trip, please make sure to look over the Optional Equipment List For Extended Backpacking Trips.

As part of our Out-Trip program we offer extended backpacking trips to campers in the Trinity Alps Wilderness located approximately 30 miles northeast of the Bar 717 Ranch. The trips run from 4 to 6 days, covering at least 25 and up to 40 miles round trip. The closest medical assistance is in Weaverville, which is approximately 30 miles away. The trails are moderate to difficult and participants will be expected to hike a minimum of 5 and no more than 10 miles on any given day. Due to the physically challenging nature of the hiking and the added weight of a backpack, campers choosing to go on an Alps Trip should be in good physical condition and feel confident in their level of fitness. We will be aware of the camper who finds it difficult to put together his or her daily program and will have someone help him or her to schedule activities. Please encourage your camper to tell us when he or she finds it difficult to get involved in a chosen program.
A day at Camp
7:00am Chores (On a volunteer basis, campers can go to the barn/small animals to help staff get horses ready and animals fed for the day)

7:30am Wake up Bell

8:00am Breakfast

9:15am Announcements / Platform Clean-up

Program Areas Open (Camper free choice)


1:15pm Rest Hour

2:30pm Swimming at the river

4:30pm Hike up from the river – Homestead snacks

Preparation for Dinner
  • Showers
  • Singing and relaxing under the apple trees
6:00pm Dinner

7:15pm Evening Activities
  • Monday – Program Night
  • Tuesday – Overnight Night
  • Wednesday – Age Group Night
  • Thursday – Platform Night
  • Friday – Special Events Night
  • Saturday – Dance
  • Sunday – Vespers
8:30-9:30pm Bedtime (varies by age)
  • Archery
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Backpacking
  • Blacksmithing
  • Ceramics
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Farm Animals
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Hiking and Overnights
  • Horsemanship
  • Music and Singing
  • Nature Study
  • Photography
  • Homesteading and Ranch Projects
  • Riflery
  • River Swimming
  • Ropes Course
  • Silk Screening
  • Special Events
  • Woodsho
Food & Nutrition
Marlys' Kitchen is the main camp kitchen and includes refrigeration, food prep space, commercial stoves, sinks, and a dish sterilizer. Marlys' kitchen has the space, storage, and equipment to comfortably prepare and serve meals for more then 200 people.

Our outdoor dining area is called the Eating Platform. Shaded by towering Oak trees, the Eating Platform has seating for 200 people. Homemade tables seat 10-12 people each and meals are served 'family style' (food at the table, not 'buffet') with an abundance of good food and good conversation. Seating arrangements are reset on a weekly basis, giving everyone a chance to make friends within the greater Camp Trinity community.

Menus and meals are prepared by our professional cooks and our baker. Fruits and vegetables that come from our gardens and orchards are served fresh, preserved as jams and jellies, or canned for use at a later date. All the beef and pork we prepare and serve is grown on the Ranch.
Our counselors are, in a word, extraordinary.
Many are former campers and returning staff who share a deep devotion to Camp Trinity, and all are carefully selected, via written application and interview, for their intelligence, compassion, maturity, and experience.
Full counselors must have completed at least one year of college or equivalent experience; the entire counseling staff participates in six days of orientation at the start of each summer and is certified in Wilderness First Aid and Red Cross Lifeguard training.
The senior staff is comprised of directors, medical personnel, and seasoned resource specialists, who live onsite and are available 24/7.
Health & Safety
In the event a camper becomes ill or is injured the Camp Director, Assistant Director, or medical personal will call the camper's parents, guardian, or, in the event they are unavailable, the designated adult at the alternative emergency number. Situations in which parents would be notified are: serious illness, injuries such as cuts requiring stitches, sprains, broken bones, or other care that required a camper be transported away from Camp.
The Bar 717 Ranch is comprised of 450 acres on two former homesteads that lie to the north and south of Hayfork Creek. Elevations on the Ranch range from 2200 feet at the Cornfield down to less then 1600 feet at the Swim Hole. The Ranch is entirely surrounded by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The 28,400 acre Pattison Peak Roadless Area borders the Ranch to the north.
The Bar 717 Ranch facilities include kitchens, meeting areas, platforms (cabins), guest rooms, workshops, barns, gardens and private residences.

During Camp, Murwell House serves as our medical center and doctor and nurse's quarters. Located in main camp, Murwell House includes an infirmary, treatment center, and private examination room. Our medical center is available 24 hours a day and is stocked with first-aid supplies. The infirmary has beds to accommodate campers who need rest or overnight observation by our nurse or doctor.
During Camp, a physician and registered nurse are in residence at all times. Emergency medical services, via ambulance and/or helicopter, are available 24 hours a day by calling 911. The nearest hospitals are located in Weaverville and Redding

Sleeping Platforms
On the Ranch we have more then 20 Platforms. These sleeping structures are our own invention, perfectly adapted to our summer climate of warm, dry days and cool nights. A Platform is a cabin-like structure with 3 walls and a roof, open on 1 side to views of the pasture or forest. Platforms are grouped into living areas, each no more than a few minutes walk from the main camp area. Each platform sleeps from 6 to 15 people and has a sink and bathroom. Shower houses are short walk away.


Indoor Guest Rooms are available for parents or family members during a visit to Camp Trinity. Guest rooms are also available during Family Camp or for families and groups who rent the Ranch. Our indoor accommodations range from motel style rooms that sleep 2 and have a private bath, to bunkhouse style rooms that can accommodate up to 6 people with shared bathrooms.

Indoor Guest rooms include:
Bigfoot House—a stand-alone cabin just a short walk around the pond from main camp. Front porch overlooks pastures, pond and camp.

  • Bigfoot Room #1: Large room with private bathroom and shower. Sleeps up to 4.
  • Bigfoot Room #2: Medium size room that sleeps up to 3. Shared bathroom and shower with Room #3
  • Bigfoot Room #3: Smaller room that sleeps 2 Shared bathroom and shower with Room #2
Gates Gables Guestrooms—three rooms located next to Gates Gables Lawn between the Ina Dillon Library and Gates Gables Kitchen in main camp.

  • Gates Gables #1 and #2 can each accommodate 2-3 people and have private bathrooms and showers.
  • Gates Gables #3, slightly smaller guestroom, sleeps 2 and has a private bathroom and shower.
Murwell House is a stand alone 2 bed/2bath house in main camp with large living room, woodstove, and kitchen. During the summer, Murwell house serves as our medical center and doctor and nurse's quarters. During Family Camp and for rental groups, Murwell house is available for indoor accommodations. Sleeps 4-8 people.
Also in main camp, lower Shules House is as complete residence with kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms.
Additional guest rooms are available in upper Shules House. The Pasture View Room sleeps 4-6 with a bathroom just down the hall. The Apartment sleeps 2-3 and has a private bathroom.
Just 7/10ths of a mile down the hill from main camp is the Homestead. The two-room Homestead House is set on the edge of a large green meadow overlooking Hayfork Creek. The Homestead house has a large outdoor covered sleeping porch, woodstove for heat, kitchen, bathroom and shower. Nearby are two platforms and a shower house.
    Directions & Transportation
    Camp Trinity on the Bar 717 Ranch is located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest of Northern California, about 78 miles west of Redding. If you plan to drive to the Bar 717 Ranch, please use our driving directions. If you use Internet mapping programs, please use CAUTION. Our experience has shown us they can return wildly inaccurate results for our location..

    If you are coming from I5 South
    In Red Bluff, take the Adobe Road exit and turn left onto Adobe Road. Turn right onto Main Street and take the second left onto Highy36/Beegum road. Continue on Hwy. 36 approximately 1 hr and 15 minutes. Make a slight right turn onto Highway 3 towards Hayfork. Continue on Hwy. 3 for approximately 15 minutes until you reach Hayfork. At the sign make a left turn onto the Hyampom Road in Hayfork. The Bar 717 Ranch is 16.8 miles or 30 minutes down the Hyampom Road. It takes about 2 hrs and 15 minutes to drive from Red Bluff to the ranch.

    If you are coming from Arcata/Eureka
    From Highway 101, take Highway 299 East toward Weaverville. Go through Willow Creek, and just beyond Burnt Ranch (look for the Burnt Ranch store, and go exactly 1.5 miles more), take a right turn on Underwood Mountain Road (also called Forest Service Road 60). At the split with Road 47, stay on FS 60 towards Hyampom. As you come into the town of Hyampom, you will see the Hyampom School (blue building) on your left hand side and the Community Hall on the right hand side and the road will come to a "T". Make a right hand turn and go a couple hundred feet and make a left hand turn. You will go over a bridge and then make a left hand turn towards Hayfork. Follow the signs towards Hayfork, and drive about 6 miles in the direction of Hayfork. The Bar 717 Ranch is located on the Hayfork/Hyampom Road. The parking lot will be on the right hand side of the road. It takes about 2 ½ hours to drive to Camp Trinity from Arcata. If Underwood Mountain Road is closed: From Highway 101, take Highway 299 East to Weaverville, and then on to Douglas City. At the junction with Highway 3, make a right turn towards Hayfork. From Hayfork follow last part of the directions (above) from Redding.

    If you are coming from Sacramento

    Take I-5 North towards Redding, and once in Redding, follow the above directions to Camp. This trip takes about 5 hours.

    If you are coming from San Francisco…
    Take 80 East to 505 North to I-5 North towards Redding, and once in Redding, follow the above directions to Camp. This trip takes about 6 hours.
    Or 101 North towards Arcata, and once in Arcata, follow the above directions to Camp. This trip takes about 8 hours.

    If you are coming from Oregon or the north state
    Take I-5 South towards Redding, and once in Redding, follow the above directions to Camp.
    Parent-Camp Communication
    Parents are encouraged to communicate with the Camp Directors about any concerns they may have relating to their child's Camp experience. Parents will receive a card of introduction from their camper's counselor at the beginning of the session and a personal letter from the counselor after the session.

    It is normal for some campers to miss their family and home environment for the first day or two after they arrive at Camp. Getting involved in Camp activities is the age-old solution to these problems. Many times we are aware of homesickness and often call parents to ask how we can work together in giving the camper guidance during this difficult time. Our usual approach will be, "Do you, as a parent, support us in our efforts to help your camper work out this problem and feel successful in solving it so that the next roadblock will be easier to cope with?" If so, we believe your response to the camper who is homesick might be: "I know this is a miserable feeling, but we would like for you to work it out with any person or persons at Camp with whom you feel comfortable." For the camper whose homesickness is not obvious to us but who writes home about it, we need to count on you to let the Camp Directors know about the situation. Telephone calls from home are very hard on homesick children and for that reason they are discouraged.
    We have found that writing frequently and focusing the content of your letters on Camp (e.g., Who is your counselor? What are your friends' names? What animals have you seen? Have you ridden a horse? What was its name? We are so happy that you are having this time at camp) rather than focusing on home (e.g., The house seems so empty without you. Your kitty misses you. Grandma is here for a visit and wishes she could see you, too.) is most helpful in gearing your child's thoughts away from homesickness. While only a very few parents will be writing to homesick children, focusing letters on your child's Camp experience is a generally good tip for all parents.

    Camp Store (The Trading Post) and Postage
    Items for personal hygiene, i.e. shampoo, toothpaste, etc., are listed on the clothing list and we ask that you please send your camper fully equipped with these items and other incidentals such as extra flashlight batteries, shoe laces, film, pencils, writing paper and envelopes, chap stick, hand lotion, postage stamps, etc. An important item here at Camp is sunscreen, which is on the clothing and equipment list. We do have a Camp store called The Trading Post, which is stocked with essential items only. These items are available to campers, in cases of necessity. We strongly urge you to make sure your camper comes well-prepared with a good supply of postage stamps or stamped envelopes and all other personal items he or she will be needing, in order to avoid extra charges and billing to you at the close of the Camp session.

    Showers hide
    If your child is not accustomed to taking showers, please teach him or her to wash his or her body and hair in a shower in these next few weeks before camp. Each living area has its own shower room. Our only bathtub is in our medical facility and is not available for everyday use. Sandals or thongs may be worn to and from showers, but at all other times closed shoes must be worn for safety reasons.

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