Holden Village’s programs offer you the opportunity to learn, discover, grow, connect, create, and have fun! Holden Village is open year-round, with varied seasonal rhythms of program offerings. Learn more about what a typical day looks like at different times of the year and why we focus on education, the arts, children and youth activities, and environmental learning as integral to our mission.
You have great flexibility in how you spend your time at Holden Village. You can fill your days with structured classes and activities or you can choose your own adventure. Learn more about Things to Do and be sure to check out our Calendar of events, retreats, and happenings.
Holden Village invites you to learn from teaching faculty from around the globe as you engage in conversations about visual and performing arts, the sciences, theology, diversity, inclusion and racial justice, global and domestic social issues, and more.
From music to writing to visual art, Holden has a rich tradition of fostering artistry in both professional and everyday artists. Holden Village has dedicated art staff and spaces designed to allow visitors to explore their creativity intentionally and spaciously.
Through its youth programs, the Village aims to support the next generation of leaders to craft a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world.
Holden Village is located in the Railroad Creek Valley and is surrounded by the pristine Glacier Peak Wilderness. With hundreds of miles of backcountry trails, you have ample opportunity to hike, camp, bird watch, fish, and trail run.
During the peak summer season, Holden Village comes to life with visitors and seasonal staff as well as local flora and fauna. Each week during summer, teaching faculty facilitate classes focused on topics from music and art to theology, science, and social issues. Programs for youth and kids keep young hands and minds busy with crafts, games, and leadership development. The Craft Cave hosts daily classes with options throughout the week for all ages and skill levels as well as a Holden favorite reimagined: natural cloth dying. The Pottery Studio, too, stays busy with classes and open studios. The naturalist leads programs around the Village to support environmental and land-use education. Beyond the Village boundaries, hikers and campers set off for adventures using rented equipment from the Village Hike Haus.
During cool evenings Villagers eat dinner outside, enjoy lawn games, participate in Sacred Space, and sweat in the sauna. Villagers play board games in the dining hall, participate in open mic nights, or stargaze with the naturalist. On hot days, the historic bowling alley and pool hall provide a fun respite from the heat, as does the ice cream served at the Snack Bar and the cold, clean water running through Railroad Creek. Those seeking quiet refuge from the sun can settle with a book in the Library or spend time in the Craft Cave.
Village life is less structured than in the busy summer, but visiting faculty and programs are frequent. Holden is a celebratory community and delights in entertainment of all sorts. All Villagers join in the festivities at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Year’s Holy Week, Easter and other occasions – like Sun Over Buckskin Day, celebrating the day that the sun crests over the mountain – that are particular to Holden. Winter guests are themselves a cause for celebration, with new arrivals and departures on every bus day. You can prepare for plenty of relaxation, reading, crafts, and outdoor recreation. We offer no structured children and youth programming in the winter.
Outdoor activities are the main source of recreation. Snow typically beings in late October or early November and can continue into May. Holden’s average yearly snowfall is 270 inches. You can enjoy excellent sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Bring your own gear or borrow a limited supply of gear from the Hike Haus. Basketball, pin-pong, games, and puzzles are popular for indoor recreation. Many craft projects are available, including weaving. The sauna usually operates throughout the winter.
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.
The Arts have played an integral role in Holden’s mission throughout the Village’s history. Registration fees cover all art class instruction; materials for classes or independent work can be purchased at low cost through our studios.
Weaving is a favorite activity at Holden Village. With 10 table looms, 3 floor looms, inkle looms, spinning wheels, and other options, visitors can create a textile masterpiece.
The Craft Cave also offers a rotation of craft and art classes for all ages, including beading, drawing, collaging, watercolor, needle felting, sewing, embroidery, printing, natural dying, basket weaving, and many more!
In the Pottery Studio, visitors can work on wheel-thrown or hand-built creations during Open Studio hours or take classes in techniques like jewelry making, sgraffito, glazing, and others. Pottery made at Holden is fired in our electric kilns, raku kiln, or newly-reconstructed gas kiln.
Youth are integral to Holden Village’s community and vibrancy. During the summer months, Holden offers the Narnia program for youth ages 4 – 17. Children ages 4 -11 are invited to attend the Narnia children’s program, which occurs Monday-Friday from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.
The Narnia program facilitates play and creativity, encourages curiosity, fosters a sense of place in nature, and commits to justice. Activities include nature walks, crafts, games, and more.
Activities for Middle School & High School students aged 12 – 17 are available throughout the day and evening Sunday-Friday. The MS/HS program seeks to foster independence, belonging, mastery, and generosity while encouraging fun and hilarity.
Activities include bowling, games, crafts, pottery, service projects, and more. Holden Village does not offer comprehensive programs for children aged 0-3. Programs tailored for this age group require participants to be accompanied by an adult. Learn more on the Children & Families page.
The Village Hike Haus offers outdoor equipment that you can borrow free-of-charge for outdoor adventure basics, including backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, tents, stoves, and fishing poles. Learn more.
During the summer months, Holden offers environmental learning sessions led by the Village Naturalist. Past sessions have included fire ecology hikes, mine remediation walks, plant identification walks, and observations of macroinvertebrates in Railroad Creek.