Rites of Passage Wilderness Programs in Shelton, WA

Call (800) 794-0980 to Contact Rites of Passage Wilderness Programs

Overall Rating

(4.5 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
142 East Strong Road
Shelton WA 98584

Rites of Passage Wilderness Programs Philosophy

Beyond the Trek This program offers longer-term treatment for young adults coming out of the trek programs, or who need continuing care. Our Ranch program is designed specifically for young adults who want to get clean and healthy. Our structured daily schedule involves ranch chores, volunteering in the local community, attending school, holistic meals and trek expeditions. Increasing the Odds Rites of Passage Ranch is a therapeutic treatment center in Washington. With three- and six-month extended-stay continuing care programs, the Ranch provides students with a safe, stable and supportive environment for recovery. The Ranch is “home base,” and students have a daily routine that clears away distractions and challenges them to confront their issues in a healthy way. An integral component of the therapeutic process is our solid wilderness adventure trek program, which guides students toward self-reliance, self-respect, patience and maturity. In addition to wilderness expeditions, we integrate equine therapy, holistic nutrition and transitional work programs that focus on long-term sobriety and spiritual wellness. Students develop and strengthen the physical, emotional, and social muscles they need to recover and chart a new course for their lives. We believe that we live and work on recovery as a community, and, while ultimately the journey toward sobriety is a personal one, it is best undertaken in the company of friends. The value of support systems cannot be underestimated.

Areas of Specialization

  • Animal Therapy
    Animal therapy (also called animal-assisted therapy and pet therapy) supports recovery and emotional wellbeing by helping people develop relationships with animals. Animal therapy can be a one-time or ongoing experience.

  • Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
    These two terms describe a person who is not only addicted to drugs or alcohol, but also has a mental or emotional illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Facilities that treat patients with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders provide psychiatric treatment in addition to drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Facility Highlights

Animal Assisted Therapy

Wilderness Treks in the Olympic and Cascade National Parks

Sobriety Ranch on Oceanfront Property

Meet the Staff

Dr. Tanya M. Wilke, MD

Medical Director and Clinical Physician

Photo of Dr. Tanya M. Wilke, MD

Dr. Tanya M. Wilke, MD is a board certified family physician specializing in Family Medicine. She is our Medical Director here at Rites of Passage NW Wilderness Therapy and Rites of Passage Ranch. She is currently licensed to practice medicine in Washington State. She is affiliated with St Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, and St. Joseph Medical Center. Her professional memberships include the American Medical Association (AMA), The American Academy of Family Physicians, Washington Academy of Family Physicians, King County Medical Society. Dr. Tanya M. Wilke graduated from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine at New Orleans in 2006. She completed her residency at Family Medicine at Southwest Washington Medical Center (SWMC). She has been the clinical preceptor for both the University of Washington (UW) and Seattle University Nurse Practitioner programs and has been on the Medical Executive Committee for St Elizabeth Hospital since 2012. Her previous work was at Franciscan Medical Clinic in Enumclaw before going into private practice: Tanya Wilke Family Medicine LLC. Tanya loves the outdoors. By early spring, you will never see her white car without her red and yellow kayak attached to the top! Whenever she has a spare moment you will find her paddling in the ocean, on lakes or down rivers. This coming summer, Tanya has joined a team of us to summit Mt. Rainier.

Nathan Welch, MBA

Program Director & Co-Owner

Photo of Nathan Welch, MBA

My wife and I created our life-changing wilderness therapy company in 2009 and have had the opportunity to help a growing number of families in the past few years. I received my MBA in 2012 from Grantham University and am currently working towards my PhD. As a Captain serving in the US Army guard since 2004 and working as a pioneer in the Wilderness Therapy industry, I have been blessed with leading people through a variety of challenging and unique experiences. After seeing the suffering in Afghanistan, the second poorest place on earth, I decided to make a difference when I came back home. The experience of serving with soldiers and teaching students in the States has given me a gift and purpose of impacting the lives of others. It is a true blessing to see our ROP students grow and become emotionally mature and self supportive. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people and there is nothing more healing than the wilderness. Our professionals are amazing life changing individuals that I am so proud of. Our wilderness therapy program brings broken families together and implements healthy changes in individuals and in the whole family dynamic. We run both your child’s program and the family program simultaneously and in doing so, we achieve excellent results fast. I could not have created this experience without the help from so many other people over the years. I look forward to meeting you and being a part of this special process with you.

Rehabs.com 360 Guide

Review by Rehabs.com Contributors


Rites of Passage (ROP) offers long-term, adventure-based treatment for young adults and adolescents (ages 16 to 30) on the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington State. The program combines the natural beauty of northwestern forests with adventure education and clinically driven treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, co-occurring mental health disorders, and trauma.

ROP also offers wilderness therapy trek programs for children, adolescents, and adults, all of which are designed to treat emotional, behavioral, and psychological issues through immersive wilderness treks. Programs run year-long except from Christmas through February.


Rites of Passage runs two unique programs: wilderness therapy trek programs and The Ranch, a long-term residential program. All clients begin with an initial assessment and physical examination before embarking on their wilderness therapy program.

Though clients must commit to a minimum of six weeks, ROP programs can last as long as four months, making ROP one of just 33 (8.3 percent) facilities statewide that offers more than 30 days of care. The center is also one of just 253 (63.9 percent) with trauma-informed counseling and one of 255 (64.4 percent) that facilities working the 12 Steps.

After an orientation period, wilderness therapy trek programs involve wilderness expeditions through national parks. The program teaches clients responsibility through low-impact camping, cooking, navigating, hiking, and other adventure-based activities. Along with wilderness therapy, clients participate in daily counseling with licensed therapists and trust-building and problem-solving exercises with peers.

At the Ranch, residential care involves the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in individual and group counseling as well as 12-step involvement, and wilderness therapy through hiking, learning survival skills, camping, and treks. In addition to these, participants can expect equine therapy, vocational training, and, where applicable, school. Clients are also expected to complete daily chores and seek out employment or volunteer opportunities in the immediate vicinity.


Rites of Passage NW employs a sizable team that includes a resident physician, wilderness instructors, logistic coordinators, licensed mental health counselors, family therapists, and clinical social workers.


Overlooking the South Puget Sound, The Ranch offers upscale accommodations, including both double occupancy and private bedrooms, spacious communal areas, a hot tub, and outdoor porches. The campus also boasts its own vegetable garden and working alpaca farm.

Eight Rehabs.com survey respondents, both alumni and family and friends, approved of the facility’s offerings:

Accommodations & Amenities: 4.87/5
Meals & Nutrition: 4.75/5


The two alumni polled by Rehabs.com to date praised the program emphatically in nearly all areas, providing five-star ratings for the staff’s level of training and experience and the inclusion of holistic treatment methods. One alum, Isabella, mentioned the program’s “stunning backdrop” for treatment and described the owners as “two of the warmest hearted, and inspirational people I have ever known.”

On secondary sources, ROP has average ratings of 4.7 out of five stars from 36 Facebook users, in addition to 3.8 out of five stars from four Google reviewers. Rites of Passage can manage its Facebook page. “I just graduated after 8 weeks at this program and it absolutely changed my life. I couldn't have asked for a better group of caring and amazing people, I am truly thankful for this program and everything they do,” wrote C.B. in one representative five-star review.[1]


Loved ones polled by Rehabs.com also had positive experiences with ROP. When asked how likely they’d recommend the program, the six loved ones polled on the matter all gave five out of five stars. The same six approved on a variety of other metrics as well, including:

Staff's Level of Training and Experience: 5/5
Family Participation: 4.8/5
Visitation Policy: 4.8/5

“The staff they hire is exceptional," Whitney, mother to a client, wrote. “They gave my son a second chance at life.” M.S., another parent, felt that “communication with parents” was a program strength, adding: “He came home a new person with a positive self image.”

“Not everyone goes for the same reasons & it's not the typical program,” added S.M.H. on Facebook. “It gives kids confidence where they are lacking it. It gives people second chances. Thanks ROP family!!”[2]


Rites of Passage charges $445 per day for a minimum 90-day intensive wilderness therapy program. There is also an additional $1,200 fee for enrollment and a $125 admission fee.

[1] GoogleReviews
[2] https://www.facebook.com/pg/RitesofPassageNW/reviews/?ref=page_internal

Published on July 2019

User Reviews

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Ron G

Poor where was the staff when my son decided to hike out of olimpic national forest on his own with no food or water ?


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It was not helpful. Although my son learned a lot, the staff quality was inconsistent. They pushed every button I had identified instead of addressing the issues in positive or supportive ways. Some of the staff are caring and competent. Disorganized, poor staff orientation so they don�t know important rules to follow, they don�t appear to be familiar with the clients history and issues.


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Genuine caring! In my experience, I didn't see a weakness. My teenage (13yr) daughter was self harming and very depressed. Putting her in the wilderness program guided by these loving, caring, capable people empowered her and was a huge success. She came out feeling like a "bad ass". It was hard and she was not happy at the start but in the end, well worth the challenges. It beats anti depressants or any other "pill". Go be in nature, learn how to survive in the wilderness. Really, who wouldn't benefit!? She was a little overweight and lost that baggage too! Thumbs up from this mom.


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Alternative way to overcome addiction. Open minded and well trained staff. Well educated owners. This program is so unique and if someone has tried over and over at a typical rehab facility- then it's time to try Rites of Passage. This unique and alternative way to healing works well and with the staffs experience and knowledge. This program is expensive, however, lots of insurance comapanies will cover some of the cost and there are scholarship opportunities as well. And as the program grows, there will be more and more scholarship opportunities.


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Experience, Location, Personal understanding of issues, Carefully selected employees; were all strengths. I reached out to ROP in a state of desperation, and they expertly and yet very generously facilitated me joining the programme. The wild forests, mountains and coasts of Washington formed the stunning backdrop of my subsequent 8 weeks, in which through therapy, nightly discussion, harsh situations and emotional and physical pain, I cam to understand myself and my destructive behaviour a great deal better; I would say the same for every single other troubled person I met during my time at this facility. I would urge anyone to inquire further into ROP, which is run by two of the warmest hearted, and inspirational people I have ever known.


  • Treatment Effectiveness
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  • Meals & Nutrition
Genuine caring! My teenage (13yr) daughter was self harming and very depressed. Putting her in the wilderness program guided by these loving, caring, capable people empowered her and was a huge success. It was hard and she was not happy at the start but in the end, well worth the challenges. It beats anti depressants or any other "pill". Go be in nature, learn how to survive in the wilderness. She was a little overweight and lost that baggage too! Thumbs up from this mom.


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The way they connected with our son was a strength. The cost was high. It was a GREAT opportunity for our son to be completely away from his environment and to take a deep look at where he was going in life.


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The owners are totally invested in the success and wellbeing of their clients. The staff they hire is exceptional. They gave my son a second chance at life. I have been fundraising for ROP's scholarship fund for almost a year. They are my heroes for rescuing my soon and setting him on a path to success.


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Communication with parents, understanding of the individuals needs and goals. I found this facility to been very beneficial and helpful for my son's behavioral issues. He came home a new person with a positive self image. He looks forward to spending some additional refresher time there.


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