Event Guide

“No Smoking” Policy 

At His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche’s request, smoking is no longer permitted on the Institute grounds. During the Summer Teachings, Rinpoche gave extensive instruction on the obstacles to practice caused by smoking and with vast kindness encourages everyone to be smoke free.

Please review this information carefully before your visit!

Regretfully it is not possible to bring your pet to the Institute.

Very limited (9) onsite dorm rooms  with two common bathrooms and a kitchen.  There is 1 Private room ($35) with one bed, and 4 Shared rooms ($25 per person) with bunk beds.  (An additional person can sleep on the floor in the Single room for an additional$15 )

Very limited (2) onsite guest house bedrooms with private bath and private entrance. Each room is $60/day for one person; additional $15/day for a second person in same room; additional $5/day for third person on a rollaway bed in same room. There is a shared kitchen and living room.

Indoor camping in the temple, stupa, or enclosed back of the dining room ($15/day): bring your own sleeping bag, mat, and towels, and camp on the floor in a heated/cooled environment; bathrooms and showers are in the central office building.

Outdoor camping on national forest land adjacent to the institute’s parking lot ($8/person/day utility reimbursement). Camping in winter is suitable only for those prepared for quite cold conditions. Bring your own tent, sleeping bag, towels, and personal needs. No open flames or outdoor cooking will be allowed. Showers and toilets are available at the central office building. Please be aware that temperatures in winter can range from the 50’s to nighttime lows in the 20’s or 30’s or sometimes 10’s. There may be snow. Summer temperatures range from the mid-90’s to mid-100’s during the day and 50’s to 70’s at night.

Garchen Institute Lodging Rates:

Guest House
Single occupancy: $60/night
One additional person: + $15 /night
Second additional person (on rollaway): + $5 /night
Monthly (for silent solitary retreat program only): $850/month

Shared room (2 persons per room): $25 each/night
Private room (1 person): $35/night
(When staying in the shared rooms, we will do our best accommodate your preferences at time of arrival, but cannot guarantee your arrangements.)
Monthly (for silent solitary retreat program only): $450/month

Primitive Huts
Single occupancy: $25/night
Monthly (for silent solitary retreat program only): $340/month

Indoor Camping $15/night

Outdoor Camping $8/night

Van or Campers: Regular-size vans and small campers can park in the parking lot and designated areas:$8/day/person for utility reimbursement. Oversize RVs cannot park in the parking lot due to limited space; please see “Nearby RV Parks” below.

Nearby RV Parks: Point of Rocks Campground: 928-445-9018, on Highway 89, ~30-minute drive from Garchen Institute, or Country West Park 928-636-2000 in Chino Valley, ~20-minute drive (adults only, no large pets).

Nearby Motels: Reserving at one of the following hotels will facilitate car-pooling. When you preregister, please let us know your hotel name if you wish to car-pool, and if you are willing to be a driver for your hotel.

  • Days Inn: 928-636-0311. Price from $71.10, in Chino Valley, ~20 minute drive.
  • Little Thumb Butte Bed & Breakfast: 928-636-4413. Price $55 w/breakfast, in Chino Valley, ~30-minute drive.
  • Primrose Inn: 928-636-2894. Price from $48.50, in Chino Valley, ~20-minute drive.
  • Antelope Hills Inn-Suites: 928-778-6000. Price from $50, w/kitchenettes, by Prescott airport, ~25-minute drive.
  • Apache Hotel: 928-445-1422. Price from $35.95, in Prescott, near intersection of Highway 89 and 69, ~35-minute drive.
  • American Hotel: 928-778-4322. Price from $39.50, some kitchenettes, in Prescott, near intersection of Highway 89 and 69, ~35-minute drive.
  • Best Western Prescottonian: 928-445-3096. Price from $80.00, in Prescott, near intersection of Highway 89 and 69, ~35-minute drive.
  • Springhill Suites (Marriott): 928-776-0998 or 888-466-8440. Price from $109, w/kitchenettes, in Prescott, on Sheldon, close to intersection of Highway 89 and 69, ~40-minute drive.

Other options:  see airbnb.com

Meals are ONLY available during teaching events; you must bring and prepare your own food at all other times (kitchen and refrigerator provided). During teaching events, three meals per day are $20/person.

Meals will always have a choice of vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-free options.

Onsite lunches ($8 each) and dinners ($7 each) include green salad, soup or entree, grain, and beverages. Lunch and dinner menu designed to accommodate most vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and dairy-free diets. Breakfasts ($5) are simple — dry cereal, hot cereal, bread and jam, boiled eggs, sometimes scrambled eggs, milk or soy milk, and hot beverages. Advance reservations required to help us prepare the needed amount of food. No fires or outdoor cooking will be permitted.

The closest major hub airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is about three hours from Garchen Institute via a shuttle from Phoenix to Prescott and then a cab from Prescott to Garchen Institute in Chino Valley. Prescott Municipal Airport is just a few miles from Garchen Institute, but it is serviced only from Los Angeles International Airport via Great Lakes Airways (800-554-5111).

GROUND SHUTTLE FROM PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO PRESCOTT: Arizona Shuttle Service (formerly Shuttle “U”) is now the only shuttle service operating between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Prescott. To make a reservation online, go to www.arizonashuttle.com and select “Prescott Shuttle Service.” Your drop-off location is the “Prescott Main Office” on Montezuma Street. The roundtrip cost when booked online is $60. You can also book by phone at 800-304-6114, and the roundtrip cost is $66.

CABS FROM PRESCOTT TO GARCHEN INSTITUTE IN CHINO VALLEY (please note that you must call the cab company yourself; shuttle drivers will no longer call and reserve a cab for you as in the past): There are currently only two cab companies offering a flat-rate fee to bring passengers from the Arizona Shuttle station in Prescott to Garchen Institute. The least expensive is AZ Ace Ride at $35. To make a reservation, call 928-636-0125. This is a small two-person company, so be sure to make your reservations well in advance. All-City Kokopelli Transport offers a $50 flat-rate fee, and reservations are made by calling 928-777-7777. Request the “Garchen Institute $50 flat rate.” Arizona Shuttle will recommend AAA cab company, but they will charge you more than $60 for the trip, so they should not be your first choice.

Note: Please plan to arrive before 8 p.m if you are not familiar with the layout of the center.

FROM PHOENIX, drive north on I-17 (toward Flagstaff), take the Cordes Junction exit and drive west on Highway 69 toward Prescott. You will pass through Prescott Valley and then, just before downtown Prescott, stay in the far right lane and take the turnoff (to the right or north) to Highway 89 to Chino Valley.

Drive north on Highway 89 about 15 miles to Chino Valley, and stay in the right lane. Continue on Highway 89 through the stop light by a large Safeway store. After Safeway, the next street will be E. Perkinsville Road. There is a very small used car lot on the corner called “Morrison Motors.” Turn right onto E. Perkinsville Road.

Watch your odometer, and drive exactly 9.5 miles on E. Perkinsville Road. The road is paved for about the first 3 miles, and the rest is unpaved. Drive carefully and slowly (do not exceed the speed limit on either the paved or unpaved sections as the speed limit on the unpaved section is not posted, but it is 35 mph as town police regularly patrol this road). Watch for free roaming cattle, antelope, rabbits, and birds that sometimes cross the road or rest on it. At about 9.25 miles you will see a farm house with a windmill on your right. Keep driving about another quarter mile and you will see our gate on your right. Our gate is green metal and has a red and yellow sign saying “Garchen Buddhist Institute.” The sign on the gate is hard to read at night, but it has a red reflective-tape border that glows bright red at night, making it easy to locate after sundown. Turn right into our unpaved driveway and follow it about 1/2 mile to the visitors’ parking lot. You will pass a house on your left before going up the hill to the parking lot. From the parking lot walk up the path to the temple and office. For handicapped access or deliveries, drive through the parking lot and take the first right, which leads to handicapped parking and to the temple, stupa, office, bookstore, and kitchen/dining room. FROM I 40 (coming from Flagstaff or Los Angeles), take the Highway 89 South/Prescott/Chino Valley exit and travel south on Highway 89 about 35 miles to Chino Valley. You will pass a turnoff for the town of Perkinsville several miles before you get to Chino Valley. DO NOT TURN THERE. You are looking for E. Perkinsville Road, not the town of Perkinsville. You will know you have reached the town of Chino Valley when you come to the first stoplight on Highway 89. Not long after that stoplight, you will come to E. Perkinsville Road where you will turn left. There is a very small used car lot on the corner called “Morrison Motors.” Please see the third paragraph above under “FROM PHOENIX” that starts with “Watch your odometer . . .” for the remaining directions.


  • Showers and toilets are available at the Support Building. A solar shower and water faucet are located near the camping area. (You should bring water containers/jugs.)
  • Please bring your own meditation cushion or special seating. Chairs are available at the temple.
  • The Garchen Institute is located at 5,200 feet in altitude. Summer temperatures may range from the mid-fifties to the high-nineties; be prepared for both monsoon rains and dry weather. In the winter, temperatures can range from the 60’s to mid-20’s, and snow is possible.
  • A flashlight and batteries are absolutely required for walking after dark. (See “Wildlife,” below.)
  • Due to the Garchen Center’s remote location, we have only cellular phone service, which can be erratic. You are welcome to bring your own cellular phones.
  • Handicapped drop-off access is available beyond the parking lot, near the temple. The temple, support building, and dining room are all wheel-chair accessible.
  • The Garchen Institute produces its own electricity by a solar energy system, so we must manage electricity use carefully. No hair dryers, heaters or other high-voltage electric items can be used at any time.
  • WILDLIFE: Our location is a natural wilderness area, with many kinds of wildlife, including rattlesnakes, antelope, javelina (wild pigs), mountain lions, bob cats, coyotes, pack rats, and scorpions. Rarely, black bears have been seen in the area. Please exercise mindfulness and caution, and always use your flashlight when walking in poor light.
  • Driving to a hospital in fair weather takes 45-60 minutes from the Garchen Institute – poor weather increases this driving time, and could make emergency cellular phone calls difficult or impossible. For serious health conditions or severe allergies, please consult your physician regarding the remoteness of our setting and the 5,200 foot altitude. If your physician recommends emergency treatments for you; bring these treatments with you (including a bee sting kit, if your physician recommends it) and know how to use these treatments. Please advise a staff member if you have a serious health problem, so that we have the necessary information in case of emergency.
  • A PLEA ON BEHALF OF ASTHMATIC & ALLERGIC STUDENTS! People with asthma and allergies have had to leave the teachings because of strong scents (multiplied by many people wearing different products)! Please use unscented, fragrance-free soaps, shampoos & conditioners – and no perfumes, colognes or scented products. Even “natural” or “aroma-therapy” scents can provoke allergies. Please be compassionate!
  • Setting up camp: Please check in at the registration desk in the Support Building by the temple for instructions on where to set up camp.
  • Cooking: NO FIRES or FLAME will be allowed – you should therefore order the onsite meals, or plan for meals requiring no cooking.
  • Rain or Snow: You should also be prepared for rain (or, in winter, snow) accompanied by strong wind.
  •  Facilities Provided: Showers and toilets are available at the Support Building. A solar shower and water faucet are located near the camping area. (You should bring water containers/jugs.)
  • Food Storage/Garbage Disposal: To prevent wildlife from being attracted to the camping area – including the possibility of black bears or mountain lions, and the higher possibility of wild pigs, bob cats, and rodents:
    (1) Do NOT store foods in your tent, not even cough drops or other items with food or attractive scents.
    (2) Do NOT let food-garbage remain in your tent or camp area overnight.

Experienced campers are aware of the damage that animals can do to your tent/belongings to get at food inside. The fiercer wild animals could injure people in the process. If they become “garbage dependent” or attracted to campers, animals may hurt someone and park rangers will kill them as a preventive measure. For your own safety, the safety of your fellow campers, and the safety of the animals, please allow no food or food garbage in your tent or camp area, and do not feed or give water to the wild animals.