Health & Safety

Signs for the First Aid Station and Hike-Haus in a forest setting.

Health & Safety Protocols

Caring for the health and safety of all Villagers is a responsibility joyfully shared by all members of the community!

“Holden Village has a physical setting that is both its great glory and chief challenge.”- Charles Lutz

Before You Arrive

Release Waiver & Code of Conduct

Holden Village has been welcoming workers and guests into the Cascade Mountains for over six decades. There are many wonderful opportunities in this remote alpine location, and we need you to be aware of the challenges and dangers too. 

Before you make your reservation, be sure to thoroughly read the Release Waiver & Code of Conduct.

What Holden Can Provide

We certainly hope you stay healthy and well throughout your visit, but Holden Village has a First Aid Station equipped to handle basic needs should they arise. Common over-the-counter medications are located in the hallway next to the First Aid Station and some are available for purchase in the Holden Store.

The Village is not well equipped to handle medical emergencies on site. Emergency evacuations are possible in most weather conditions. However, due to our isolated location, evacuation can take many hours or even days in winter. Helicopter evacuation, if available, is very expensive and you are responsible for the cost. You can choose to purchase supplemental helicopter insurance through Life Flight Network for the duration of your visit (all Long Term Staff and Employees receive helicopter insurance as part of their benefits package). 

People At High Risk

If you are at high risk of developing severe disease or complications should you become infected with any communicable illness, we recommend you speak to your health care provider about your risks and consider not traveling to Holden Village, due to our remote mountain location and limited access to medical care. Additionally, as a historic mountain Village, Holden’s location poses notable challenges for those with limited mobility, particularly in the winter months due to snow accumulation and ice. 

If you have any questions about coming to Holden in regards to your health, please contact your doctor and/or the Village Medic before finalizing your visit.

What To Bring

If you use medication, be sure to bring more than enough for your stay including an extra 5-10 day supply in the event of possible delays leaving the Village.

Don’t forget to bring other supplies that help you stay well including sunscreen, bug spray, layers for varying weather conditions, proper footwear, CPAP machines, sufficient contact solution and lenses, traction devices for your boots during the winter, helmets for children to go sledding, etc. 

If you plan to do any outdoor adventures, be sure to pack supplies and equipment you need to do these activities safely. Don’t forget the ten essentials: a first aid kit, extra food and water, a flashlight, matches, sun protection, emergency blanket, pocket knife, compass, map, and extra clothing. The Hike Haus can provide a limited amount of gear for you to borrow. 

For more information about what to bring, see the Packing List.

Weather Conditions

Be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and conditions depending on the season in which you visit.

Summer daytime temperatures are usually in 70F – 80F although it can often be hotter. Temperatures still dip into the 40s at night. Winter temperatures generally hover between 20F – 30F but it can get colder.  The average annual snowfall at Holden Village is 270 inches. 

Seasonal Conditions

Emergency Contact

You may leave the Holden Village Emergency Phone number with people downlake: 509-557-2404. This number is monitored, not staffed. A message will be relayed to you ASAP if someone needs to reach you due to an emergency.

In the Village, there is a telephone available for outgoing calls as well as the possibility to video conference from a dedicated laptop. Registration can provide details if this becomes necessary.


Holden strongly urges everyone who comes to the Village to take precautions against seasonal and recurring illness such as colds, flu, and any infectious disease by staying up to date with vaccines and boosters.

Winter Safety

Getting around the Village can be challenging in the winter. Despite constant efforts by Village staff to keep pathways clear and free of ice, the massive amount of precipitation that Holden receives makes the elimination of hazards impossible. Lodging is not wheelchair-accessible in winter. You are encouraged to bring traction devices for your boots and other aids (such as ski or trekking poles) to navigate between buildings. You can borrow a limited supply of traction devices from the Registration office. 

Weather conditions occasionally disrupt travel plans. If your travel connections are critical, you may wish to add a couple of extra days as a buffer in case we can’t meet the boat on the day you plan to leave.

Check mountain pass information and Washington State travel alerts before winter travel to Holden. Please note that there is an increased risk of avalanche danger throughout winter, which may cause Holden to cancel transportation. Have readily at hand (not tucked away in your luggage) cold-weather clothing for the 40-minute bus ride between Lucerne and Holden Village.

At Holden Village

Alcohol & Drug Policy

If you are age 21+ and wish to responsibly consume alcohol, you may do so in your room or on your porch. In order to maintain a Village-wide atmosphere of welcome that is respectful to Villagers’ different relationships with alcohol, drinking is not permitted in any other public areas, with the exception of Village-sponsored events for special celebrations and holidays. The Village will always provide non alcoholic options if wine or beer are available. Underage consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Holden is on federal Forest Service land, therefore marijuana is illegal anywhere in the Village under federal law.

Harassment Policy

Harassment is not tolerated at Holden. A copy of the complete policy is available in the Staffing Office, on the second floor of Koinonia. Direct questions or report any harassment situations to the Directors, Managers, or Staffing Office.

Outdoor Recreation

Holden Village is surrounded by a variety of excellent hiking trails that you can take to waterfalls, pristine lakes, stunning basins, and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Be prepared and hike at your own risk. Be alert for sudden weather changes. For safety, please hike/recreate in groups of three or more. HoldenVillage recommends  that all hikers take the ten essentials with them when heading out on the trails: a first aid kit, extra foods & water, a flashlight, matches, sun protections, emergency blanket, pocket knife, compass, map, and extra clothing.

It is your responsibility to tell two people in the Village where you are going and when you will be back. Additionally, use the hiker sign-out sheets at the Hike Haus when you start your hike. Sign back in when you return. If you are planning a technical hike, please discuss your plans with the Hike Haus Head before you go. Learn more about Outdoor Recreation

Quiet Hours

To help ensure rest and renewal for all Villagers, quiet hours are from 10:30 pm to 6:00 am.

Safety For Children & Youth

Parents, you are responsible at all times for supervision of your children and teens at all times. We ask you to be as diligent in the Village as you would be at home regarding the safety of your children, including being familiar with playmates and caretakers, as well as physical dangers of the wilderness surroundings, such as the creek, forest, and wild animals. Keep in touch with your children and teens; know where they are at all times. Learn more about visiting Holden Village with children

Sauna Safety

Use of the sauna is for people ages 12 years old and older. You use the sauna at your own risk. Please be mindful of your own health and do not use the sauna if you are ill or have a health condition that would be made worse by exposure to heat and sweating. Consult with your doctor first if you have any questions about whether you should use the sauna.

Sledding Safety

We recommend that all children wear biking helmets while sledding on Holden’s Chalet Hill. Parents are responsible for the safety and behavior of children at all times, including supervision of sledding.


Internet connectivity in the wilderness is limited. Shared public computers in the Holden Library provide 20-minute sessions. Guests cannot access wifi on their personal devices. You are welcome to use your phone, laptop, e-reader, or tablet in your room. Please limit use in public spaces. We practice limited use of technology as a discipline of our low-impact and simple wilderness lifestyle. Enjoy this time in the wilderness to unplug and connect in person!


Holden Village is a community where your questions are valued and encouraged. Most programs led by visiting teaching faculty occur during the summer months. However, Holden also invites faculty to teach sessions for special events and retreats throughout the rest of the year.
Check out a list of the 2024 Summer Faculty.