Our Organization


Crooked Trails is an educational non-profit organization
 helping people broaden their understanding of the impact of travel on the world’s cultures and ecosystems 
through educational outreach and sustainable travel programs.

Crooked Trails hauling bundles in India

Crooked Trails was founded in 1998 by Christine Mackay and Tammy Leland on the premise that tourism does not have to threaten the cultures and environments of popular tourist destinations and fragile regions. Our aim is to create more environmentally and culturally sensitive travel opportunities that hold long-term sustainability for host communities, as well as to educate travelers with guidelines and methods for making responsible travel choices.

We believe that together we can improve cultural, ecological, and economic conditions around the world by changing the way people travel.

Meet the staff, guides and board of directors

“I chose Crooked Trails because they are committed to culturally and environmentally sensitive travel. Their dedication is unparalleled.” – Loralee


Sustainable Travel Programs

Crooked Trails offers immersive travel programs in support of indigenous peoples around the world. We support communities’ efforts to preserve and protect their culture and to Crooked Trails travelers in Indiaconfront the challenges of their rapidly changing surroundings through immersive cultural exchange programs. Our experiences are built around the ethics of sustainable travel and demonstrate ways to minimize the environmental and cultural impacts of tourism.

We allow host communities to take the lead; we only stay in communities that have invited us and community members choose and develop the projects we work on locally. Our travelers provide funding and labor assistance to the projects, and as an organization we also raise funds for additional support.

These travel programs create true cultural exchanges that make positive contributions to host communities and have lasting effects on our travelers. Crooked Trails travelers return home from a transformative learning environment and incorporate lessons from these exchanges into their own lives and communities. With each passing year, the trust and friendship between Crooked Trails staff, program participants, and the local people we work with continues to deepen.

View our current sustainable travel destinations

“The connection was palpable. No words were necessary. We communicated through a global language of respect, love and connection.” – Jane P.

Educational Outreach

Crooked Trails educates travelers on how to travel more respectfully and how to lessen the negative impacts – both environmental and cultural – on the places they visit. We also Nicaragua_chalk artwork with tour operators, both at home and abroad, to incorporate those ethics into their programs. Travel program participants receive in-depth pre-departure materials and staff support to help them understand the host culture and to equip them with guidelines and best practices for maximizing the positive impact of their visit.

Our co-founders, both experts in the field for over a decade, are highlighted speakers throughout the year on the potentials and pitfalls of sustainable travel. We have developed educational materials and offer slide shows to the public, universities and clubs on sustainable travel and cultural stewardship. Presentations and cultural events also help to expand awareness about world cultures and bring community together to celebrate diversity.

Learn about educational events and speaking opportunities with Crooked Trails

“Crooked Trails showed me an entirely different way to travel…much more satisfying than any other traveling experience that I’ve ever had.” – Lindsay A.

Crooked Trails Federal Tax ID number (EIN): 73-1669742

Crooked Trails is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  As such, a portion of our travel program fees, as well as any donations to Crooked Trails, are tax-deductible. We send tax receipts for all donations and program fees with applicable federal tax information.