Finding a New Trail of Vitality,

Your wilderness RX filled here.

Our Services

Who we Serve and How

Our primary focus is to clergy of any denomination or background. We are non-sectarian and will work with you, from whatever your faith perspective might be. As a therapist and Fire Chaplain I also extend an invitation to First Responders and therapists who need a place to get away and reconnect with the passion that drew them to their profession in the first place. Research is confirming, what many have felt for years, that the wilderness/nature has restorative properties that are not found indoors.

Our delivery is flexible enough that we can accommodate individuals who are looking for a time and place to reflect on what is going on in their lives and process the challenges they have faced, or are currently dealing with. As a husband and wife team, we are also able to work with couples who are engaged in ministry, therapy or First Responders.

We are available to work with friends, co-workers, or a group of friends/couples who would like to experience the wilderness in a backpacking venture. One of the things that Rod and Deb enjoy a great deal is introducing others to the world of backpacking and have a specially designed “Introduction to Backpacking” experience that allows you full immersion in the wilderness, with some of the amenities you desire. Don’t worry if you don’t own a backpack, we have a large selection of packs for you to borrow. We also have a couple of sleeping pads.

New Trails exists to assist you in finding healing and restoration through the use of the natural environment that is available to each one of us, but one that is frequently overlooked. If you have any other questions please contact us for more information.

Our Fees

New Trails strives to make our services affordable. Statistically pastors rank in the top 10% of the population in terms of education, but they are only 325th of 432 occupations in terms of salaries received. As a result we have set a week long stay (Sunday evening through Saturday Morning) at $500, and a two week stay at $1,000.

Backpacking trips have a slightly different pricing depending on the number of days and the size of the group. We can outfit and lead a 3 day 2 night backpack trek within the Black Hills at a cost of $250 for 1-person, $425 for 2-people, and $200 for each additional person after that, while a trek to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming would be around $350 per person (minimum two people) for a 3 day two night trek (does not include travel to and from the Big Horn Mountains).

One reality we know as a pastoral couple is that money, at times, can be very limited. We don’t want our fees to be the final consideration, because we have options to assist in providing this ministry to you.

We will be glad to assist you, all you need to do is Contact Us.

Coaching Support

Rod offers ongoing support via email, text or video conferencing following your time with us at New Trails. This coaching support is offered on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. If you choose the text or email support, this flexible tool allows you to ask the question and then for me to respond as time and connections allow. The video conferencing option requires a more rigid schedule for both of us, as we both need to be available at the same time. The cost of all these options will be negotiated with you prior to your departure and as with all our services we will make this affordable for you.

Hiking Expedition

With literally thousands of acres of National Forest surrounding New Trails the options for hiking are nearly limitless. However, we would offer a few options;

  1. Day Hiking from the cabin. You would stay in the cabin on the property and each day we would hike a medium distance (at your pace) allowing time to reflect on the scenery of the Black Hills as well as time to reflect alone and together on the challenges you have been facing in ministry. This option would span 2-4 days.
  2. Short backpacking trip. Rod and Deb have spent considerable time in the Black Hills and if you would like an introduction to backpacking, we offer a 3 day, 2 night trek through the Black Hills that takes you from Iron Mountain down through the French Creek Wilderness are, following the Centennial Trail. The advantage of this trek is that there are restroom facilities available at or near each campsite. Additionally we are able to support this trek by moving some of the heavier equipment from campsite to campsite.
  3. Intermediate backpacking trip. This is for those who want to find what it is like to experience a wilderness environment. There are two options for this trip. Option A stays in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is located in the Black Elk Wilderness around Black Elk Peak. This is a three to four day trek with trail camping in remote areas each night. Option B is also a three to four day trek but this one takes you to the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming. The trek features several lakes and streams stocked with various species of trout, and elevation gains up to 9,600 feet. These treks are full out backpacking trips where all our gear is carried in our backpacks for the entire trek.
  4. The Black Hills of South Dakota offers many and varied opportunities for backpacking. A three to four-day trek with trail camping in remote areas each night, will be designed based on weather, trail conditions and your preferences (when we can). Option B is also a three to four-day trek but this one takes you to the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming (this one comes with a significantly higher price tag due to travel) The trek features several lakes and streams stocked with various species of trout, and elevation gains up to 9,600 feet. Both of these treks are full out backpacking trips where all our gear is carried in our backpacks for the entire time.
  5. When it comes to backpacking you might hesitate thinking I don’t own a pack. Rod and Deb want you to know that we are able to assist you in providing some of the basics of backpacking. We have a variety of backpacks that are available for you to use, we also have a limited supply of sleeping pads. We do provide the tents and cooking/eating gear necessary to enjoy a wilderness outing.

We can also tailor a blend of cabin time and backpacking trek as well.


In addition to our cabin, we own five acres of land which means room to spread out a little bit. If you own a self contained camping trailer or motor home, we can give you a place to park during your stay with us.

Currently we are only able to offer a “primitive” site, but there is water available, along 20 amp service.

Extended Stay Option: The Blessing House

There are times when a short term sabbatical is not enough to help you recover your sense of vitality and energy. At other times, ministry has not provided what we had hoped and there is a need for an extended stay, where it is possible, to sort out the call of God on our lives.

Our cabin in Custer is ideal for the short term sabbatical. By design we provide a short term intervention that can help you assess your call or provide a place for healing and gaining some perspective. There are times and situations that require more time than we can provide in the Black Hills. What then? Is there another option? What happens if you are between ministry assignments, or your current ministry assignment has not worked as you might have desired? Or maybe you are looking for a place for an extended sabbatical, the Blessing House could be the place to come.

I would still recommend a week with us in the Hills, as there is something about meeting God in a remote location that does something for our souls, but recently we have been able to add to our ministry with a place known as the “Blessing House”. While not located in the Black Hills, the Blessing House is located in another of God’s wonderful places, the Loess Hills of Iowa, not too far from the Missouri River.

Regardless of your ministry status, the Blessing House has been dedicated to helping men and women who are in full time Christian service find a place of rest, respite, a sabbatical, or just a place to recover if needed.

Read More about The Blessing House, Extended Stay Option

Please Note

Around the 15th of October until Mid May of 2019, New Trails Ministries will be relocating the ministry to Glenwood, Iowa.

We do not have winter capacity in our Custer Location for this year, but we will continue to offer ministry during the winter in our Glenwood, Iowa location.

You can still reserve for the Custer Location beginning early June of 2019.

What People Say About Us!

Rod and Deb love to experience God through their outdoor adventures. Rod has always been someone who cares about the physical and emotional health of leaders. New Trails brings together the Veldhuizen's passion and gifts in a way that will provide anyone the opportunity to refresh and reconnect with her/his own passion and purpose while experiencing God in new ways. A perfect fit-ness.

Dale Assink, Regional Executive

“Rod and Deb, thank you for opening your hearts and cabin to me these past few days. Though I can find respite [near home] it is not complete like it is here at New Trails… I guess the most powerful part of my time is the fact that I was never lost. Sometimes it take a guide (you two) to help you realize God is right there to show you the next step.”

A Pastor on a 3 day back pack trip

“Thank you Rod and Deb for your amazing hospitality! Grateful for our rest and refreshing.”

A missionary couple

Questions? Contact Us

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Ministry Statistics

Negative Findings

45% experience work-related stress

Positive Findings

Fewer report working long hours, balanced with less vacation time

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Negative Findings

28% have at least some functional difficulty from depressive symptoms - higher than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Positive Findings

Fewer report working long hours, balanced with less vacation time

Clergy Well Being Survey
2017 Key Findings

Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside some time to be with God and listen to Him.

-Henri Nouwen