Holden School


Holden Village School

The Holden Village School is one of only eight K-12 “remote-and-necessary” schools in Washington State. Part of the Lake Chelan School District, the Holden Village School lives out the district motto: “Educational Excellence for All.” Living and learning at Holden Village means the entire Village and surrounding wilderness serve as a classroom!

A “Remote but Necessary School”

The Holden Village School is located in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, 3,200 feet above sea level, on the grounds of a former copper and nickel mine that has been converted into a year-round retreat center with Lutheran Christian roots. Holden Village is one of the most remote continuously inhabited places in the continental United States. No roads lead to Holden Village – visitors must either take a 2-4 hour boat ride or hike in via the Pacific Crest Trail. 

During the summer, the population can swell to as many as 300-400, supported by a core staff of 50-100 who live in community and maintain the facilities year-round. Many of the long term staff, who live in the Village during the winter months (when as many as 20+ feet of snow may fall annually), have families and children who join the school year.

In 1963, one year after Holden Village opened, Washington state legislators recognized the “exceptional case” need for funding nontraditional schools in remote areas. The main mission of these schools is to serve children that live in permanent communities where travel time to the closest traditional public school is more than an hour each way, risky because of weather or topography, or would require travel across the Canadian border. Today, Holden Village is one of only a few active Remote but Necessary Schools in Washington, and students of all ages are welcomed into the wilderness to learn and grow.

Learning in the Wilderness

The Holden Village School is a public school operated by the Lake Chelan School District under the state provisions for Remote but Necessary Schools. It meets all state educational requirements and credits earned are transferable. The kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum meets the educational needs of the children of long-term staff families as they live and work in the Village throughout the year. It is operated in the one-room schoolhouse model of educating students in combined age groups, with small class sizes and strong support from the community helping each student thrive. The largest student population has been roughly 22, and the smallest, one. 

Learning in the wilderness and in community creates a rich and dynamic learning environment. Villagers who live and work at Holden help support students, by volunteering in the classroom, hanging out with the kids after school or during meal times, and by engaging in community activities and events throughout the Village. Students often enjoy hiking and outdoor adventures in tandem with traditional curriculum, learning science, math, reading, and writing through wildlife and nature experiences. This unique intergenerational community provides a compelling and dynamic learning environment outside of the classroom, developing students who are uniquely prepared for the complexities of the world.

For more information about bringing your family to Holden, please contact Staffing.


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.