WinGate Wilderness Therapy Reviews, Cost, Complaints

WinGate Wilderness Therapy


Kanab UtahWinGate Wilderness Therapy Review

Founded in 2008, WinGate Wilderness Therapy is a leader in wilderness-based treatment, offering adolescents and young adults a unique and immersive therapeutic experience to combat alcohol and substance abuse issues, as well as behavioral issues. The Utah-based office is located three hours out of Las Vegas in the town of Kanab. However, the program’s center is found well outside of these walls, in the surrounds of the spectacular Utah landscape. The only wilderness program authorized to operate in the western region of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, WinGate offers clients jaw-dropping, remote environments in which to experience its professional, alliance-based treatment program.

Accommodations and Food

While it is not residential treatment in the traditional sense, WinGate clients do take up residence in Utah’s breathtaking expanse. The rooms are makeshift tents under the stars and the kitchen is a camp stove. There is a simplicity here that can give way to clarity, and each client’s accountability for their own campsite and meal is part of communicating the importance of trust and responsibility.

There is no five-star dining here, but that doesn’t mean close attention isn’t paid to the menu. Meals are limited by the ever-changing setting, but are also integrated into a carefully designed diet plan, planned by a nutritionist, that focuses on healthy eating. Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as staples such as rice and beans, go hand-in-hand with a variety of easy-to-carry proteins, conducive to trailblazing.

Treatment and Staff

The program offers its clients an immersive eight to 12-week experience. During this time, Wingate’s qualified therapists and wilderness first respondents guide groups of adolescents (ages 13-17) or young adults (ages 18-26) through an established route that demonstrates the beauty, diversity and tranquility of the landscape.

Far from the more typical 12-step or CBT-based treatment programs, WinGate’s therapeutic approach follows a unique, comprehensive and active daily schedule based on introspection, as well as interaction with the environment and group members. After waking up, each client takes part in personal circles, a time to allow for contemplation, meditation or prayer in their morning routine. Clients establish daily goals then have recovery meetings before a well-earned breakfast and the day’s scheduled hike—weather permitting.

Groups travel a manageable three to five miles per day, five days a week, with two days set aside for rest and the rotation of staff. Each evening, clients set up a personal campsite and prepare their dinner, as well as engage in personal mentoring time. This time allows clients to complete therapy assignments and read, and is also when counselors check-in with each client individually. Clients also engage in—and even sometimes conduct—group therapy discussions that focus on building self-awareness.

WinGate does not offer a detox program or issue prescriptions, however it does specialize in dual diagnosis support for those with co-occurring disorders, and provides psychiatric medication management. While some wilderness-based treatment programs may rely on behavior modification techniques such as level systems or group punishments, WinGate strives to create an alliance between their clients and the team through training, care and respect that yields long-term change. With one staff member to every three clients, this alliance can be easily forged, and at the end of each client’s stay, a transition ceremony marks the occasion.


WinGate also recognizes the importance of family involvement, offering family workshops, mid-stay visits, phone-call-based therapy sessions and weekly letters between the family and client. These help provide some peace of mind as well as an up-to-date understanding of what the client is experiencing.

The team at WinGate does offer an academic arm to their wilderness therapy that allows clients the opportunity to receive six half-credits towards high school requirements, from Outdoor Education to Language Arts. This service is provided for an additional fee of $250.

In Summary

WinGate Wilderness Therapy is a premier provider of wilderness-based treatment. For young people and their families who are faced with serious issues concerning alcohol or substance abuse, this program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Though the time commitment may be on the steeper side for some, the services offered not only match the investment, but also seem to go above and beyond.

WinGate Wilderness Location

WinGate Wilderness Therapy
PO Box 347
Kanab UT 84741

WinGate Wilderness Cost

WinGate Wilderness Therapy: Cost: $15,750 (30 days) or $525 per day and a $2,700 enrollment fee with the first 56 days required to be paid up frontReach WinGate Wilderness Therapy by phone at (800) 560-1599 or by email at [email protected]. Find WinGate Wilderness Therapy on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of WinGate Wilderness Therapy to add? Use the comments area below to add your WinGate Wilderness Therapy review.

Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)



  1. Sad part is maybe these teens needed this kind of treatments because they don’t appreciate what they have at home, they are ungrateful or think they are entitled to everything. Perhaps going through this type of treatment is designed to help a child realize things could be worst. I’m sure everyone of these kids thought they would not be going into a situation like this and it probably broke the parent’s heart to send them here, because as a parent you think you can fix it, but you can’t. Sometimes kids have to experience it for themselves to realize how good they really have it.

  2. 4 Years later, now at the age of 20 I can first hand vouch that this review has many untrue comments. To start, the hikes were on average about 10 miles, sometimes lasting from 8 in the morning to midnight if the terrain was rough. Expanding on the terrain, there were times when we had to throw our (almost 20 pound backpacks) down ravines/ canyons, and then slowly slide down right after. There were multiple times when people would get extremely injured. As for a “hot meal”, students are required to bust their fires, for those of you who don’t know what busting is, a little bit of internet research can clarify that for you. “weather permitted hikes” is completely not true. There were times I was hiking in mud up to my ankles, or in hail that made my arms and face start to bleed. If when we finally reached the end of the campsite the trees were all wet from the rain, well…. we would not be getting a fire, because you cant make a fire with wet wood. There are absolutely no phone calls to parents unless in extreme emergency, you are allowed to contact your parents through a single letter per week, and then near the end of your stay there ( which you never actually know when the end of your stay is because they purposefully keep it a secret from you) the parents come see you for one night. Overall, do more research than what you see on the surface. I am disgusted by rehabreviews review.

  3. Lexi Gustafson on

    I love how she said an untrue comment when even I can vouch for the abuse this company did. I was also there when the boy fell 30 feet and broke his back. The website CLEARLY states that kids in the program will be hiking 3-5 miles a day when we actually hiked an average of 15. For real people that is unbelievably brutal, especially when you have to hike it or you don’t get fed. I remember hiking for hours upon hours with no food and when we got to the campsites the staff wouldn’t even let us cook our food to eat it. I was forced to eat raw potatoes and even lemons because of how hungry I was and practically that was all I had in my food bag. The website “claims” that they provide food that is nutritional, but looking back we got powdered cheese and powdered milk in our bags to cook with? There was actually a time where a staff member left his aderall prescription in reach of my group and a bunch of girls were stealing over half his prescription for weeks, and when we would get the same staff member again every few staff changes the same thing would occur. When they finally found out a month later no parents were notified of it and none of the letters to parents from the kids about it got delivered. This place simply wants parents to think they are going to take care and help their children, but in my experience I was treated like a dog. If I could find where the campsites actually are I would go back there and try and rescue all of the kids in the camps to save them from the abuse that this company does. It is honestly terrible to think people are okay with treating teenagers like this. I was 16 when I was enrolled. I am now 18 in college and wingate did not help me in my troubled teen years, it only hurt me and my family. After I left the program I moved out of my parents house and we didn’t speak for years. I recently realized it was not their fault they fell for this stupid little camps lies. Save your money and your time and send your kid to actual therapy, where a nice genuine person can help them instead of abusing them and treating them like they are animals.

  4. fuck wingate on

    As a former student, please do not send your child here. While wilderness therapy is sometimes necessary, torture isn’t. I can recall multiple times where i went up to a week without food because the food was dropped of 50+ miles away from our camp and we were told “hike to eat”. There is a difference between tough love and needless struggle. When a student got violent and stole a staff’s knife and charged people with it, he was not kicked out. It took two more times of the same thing happening and students being able to tell their parents in person, because the letters we were writing to tell our parents somehow never seemed to reach them, before he was kicked out. I know of one student who broke his back from falling 30 feet on a hike and we were told he just tweaked his back and would be fine in two weeks.

    • It’s hard to believe that would allow such an inappropriate and patently untrue comment to be posted and remain on their website. Hundreds of families have been served by WinGate and many positive reviews can be found on Facebook and on WinGate’s website. For nearly a decade, WinGate has been a positive and even miraculous influence in the lives of individuals and families from across the entire world.

    • As a Parent and as a Caregiver I actually do believe what you are saying. I have worked in this field for over 20yrs. I started working with troubled teens for 11 months before the company was shut down by the state for abuse due to staff members beating and taking down the teens because they wouldn’t listen and do as the staff demanded. Another teen got taken down and got his side of his eye cut where he hit the corner of his dresser. I also worked with the mentally and physically disable and sadly they also got their mistreatment from their caregivers. I also worked 2 years with the elderly and they also were exploited and mistreated by their caregivers, people who are supposed to be caring for them.
      I was looking for a program for my rebellious teen daughter but after reading your review. I will keep her at home and like an old fashion mom. I will deal with her, just how my mom dealt with me.
      Thank you so much for your input.

Leave A Reply

About Author

The largest and most trusted rehab review site in the world.