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Alumni Trips: Lifelong Learning for Grads, Friends and Families


NOLS alumni trips are a great way to introduce non-grad friends and family to the school. Photo: Rich Brame

Are you interested in getting back into the wilderness with NOLS, but you're faced with a calendar too crammed for a long expedition?

Usually one week in length, alumni trips are specifically designed for NOLS graduates and their friends and families. These trips allow busy grads to reconnect with the school, enjoy an outdoor vacation, and have the chance to introduce loved ones to the NOLS experience.

Instruction on alumni trips is informal and the atmosphere relaxed. We review and practice Leave No Trace camping skills, teach technical skills and touch on a host of other NOLS information—depending on interest. We can also create a custom trip if you and your cohorts have a hankering for something eclectic, yet NOLS-flavored. Want to see more ideas? Check out some past trips in the Alumni Trips Photo Album below.

Friends and Family are welcome to join you on all NOLS Alumni trips!


"...a perfect balance of learning and playing... "

—Monnie B.-BVI Sailing Trip

"It was great to return to the Winds' alpine sights and environment with my sons."

— Mark F., 1981 NOLS Wilderness Course grad and '07 alumni llama trip participant.

Incredible canyons, scenery and ancient human history! Photo: Nick Braun

Hike Utah's Canyons

Date: March 29-April 3, 2015

Price: $995 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

This trip travels in Utah’s desert canyons with a focus on the area’s natural and incredible human history. Exposed landforms provide textbook illustrations of the land’s geologic past, and thickly vegetated riparian zones contrast the stark expanses of rock, sand, and black bush. This 6-day trip traverses a 26-mile section of Grand Gulch and Bullet Canyon, one of the top NOLS hiking destinations in Utah.

If you are keen for a trip through southwest human history contact us now for more information.

Explore the depths of narrow slot canyons. Photo: Jamie O'Donnell.

Technical Canyoneering In Southern Utah

Updated Trip Details now available!

Date: April 5-11, 2015

Price: $995 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

Explore the natural wonder of desert erosion as you explore tight canyons while learning technical systems and the necessary rope work to navigate the slots and manage the risk. Based out of two different camps throughout the week, you’ll travel with daypacks and technical canyoneering gear as you drop into a new slot canyon each day. After challenging days, enjoy camaraderie and stories in camp as you relax and camp in style!

If you're keen to develop technical rope work while exploring tight canyons, contact us now for more information.  Apply here.

A big arctic river amidst expansive landscape. Photo: Pip Coe

Canoeing Alaska's Noatak River

Updated Trip Details now available!

New Date: June 21-July 1, 2015

Price: $4,750 (includes pre-/post-trip lodging)

Alaska's Brooks Range—the location for this expedition—is one of the wildest mountain ranges in North America. You’ll spend a week learning how to paddle a folding canoe on the Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Park.

The compensation you receive in return is well worth the price of admission. Entirely above the Arctic Circle and accessible only by charter air taxi, this wilderness river receives little human use. The Noatak includes stretches of moderate whitewater rated Class I and II— we’ll mostly use folding “Alypak” canoes.

If you are keen on this adventure, contact us now for more information.

This quick, summit-focused trip is for NOLS expedition graduates only.

Climb Mt. Rainier

Updated Trip Details now available!

New Date: July 6-10, 2015

Price: $1,695 (Expedition Alumni Only)

At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier covers 35 square miles of ice and glaciers, making it one of the most extensive snow/ice mountaineering training grounds in Washington State.

This trip is open to NOLS graduates only. Training starts with the basics and novice mountaineers are welcome. We’ll start by helping you select your equipment and load your pack. We’ll progress through basic living and travel skills on our way to learning the climbing techniques needed to negotiate glaciated terrain and attempt the summit.

This trip fills very quickly, so contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

This trip will increase your confidence, technical abilities and prepare you for the summit!

Glacier Mountaineering Training on Mt. Baker

Updated Trip Details now available!

Date: July 22-28, 2015

Price: $1,600 (Alumni Only)

Mount Baker, one of the Northwest’s stunning volcanoes, is the ideal place to learn and develop your technical mountaineering skills. On this alumni trip, you will focus your learning on the technical skills required to attain the summit of Mount Baker and similar, snowy peaks. Technical rope work, crampon and ice axe use, snow and ice protection placement, and crevasse rescue training are features on this trip.

For focused skills training, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

Come wander in the Winds with these furry creatures. Photo: Brad Christensen.

Llama Packing and Fly Fishing in Wyoming

Date: July 26-31, 2015
            August 1-6, 2015

Price: $1,295

Refine your NOLS skills while embracing new ones such as fly-fishing, and llama packing in the beautiful Wind River Range. Instructors will help with the technical skills, and you will still be able to soak in the fantastic scenery and experience of this alumni trip. Learn to pack and lead llamas. This is a fantstic trip for families and guests.

If you're keen on light packs and beautiful scenery, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.


Bold and beautiful backcountry companions.

Horse Packing in the Wind River Mountains

Updated Trip Details now available!

Date: August 9-15, 2015

Price: $1,800

Join a group of NOLS alumni exploring the Wind River Mountains on horseback! We'll take you from the NOLS owned and operated Three Peaks Ranch into the wilderness and immerse you in the basics of Western horse packing skills—care and feeding, horse behavior and herd dynamics, tack, saddling, and riding—and other unique experiences of packing and traveling with horses. Enjoy the mountains from a new perspective and with additional companionship!

If you are keen on this adventure, contact us now for more information.  Apply here.

Hiking Ireland's "Cliffs of Insanity." Photo: Rich Brame


Walking Ireland's West Coast

Date: August 8-14, 2015

Price: $2,350 - includes pre and post-trip lodging!

Explore the trails and tracks of western Ireland's incredible coast from Ennis north to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, Killary Fjord and the Connemara region with a group of stalwart NOLS grads, friends and families. Lodging is in small hotels and B&B's so packs are light, music is traditional and the food is incredible.

Check these shots from last year's trip!

If you are interested in this adventure, contact us now for more information.

Hard work and camaraderie make for a great experience. Photo: Rich Brame

Alumni Service Project in New York's Adirondacks

Date: August 16-22, 2015

Price: $595 (Subsidized by NOLS!)

NOLS grads and families venture into New England’s backcountry for a week of camping, camaraderie, and service. Conduct a service project to protect public lands and enhance visitors’ backcountry experience. Projects include trail construction, bridge maintenance, or campsite rehab. Service work is demanding—we’ll use shovels, hammers, pry-bars, and team muscle—but there is also time for photography, socializing, and possibly summiting a peak or fishing.

To Join the crew and give back through a rewarding experience, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

Participants rave about the scenery, food and their trip cohorts.
Photo: Rich Brame

Hiking Italy's Dolomites

Dates: September 2-9, 2015
            September 11-18, 2015

Price: $2,575 (includes pre/post trip lodging!)

Hiking hut-to-hut on this "classic route" means light packs, outstanding scenery, alpine trails, fantastic meals and the best of Tyrolean culture.

"My Italy trip was a casual and rustic respite from my daily life with all the NOLS basics— teamwork, unpredictable elements, varied terrain, and astounding scenery! "— Sarah Hiza, Salt Lake City, UT

This trip fills very quickly, so contact us right away for more information.

Design your own adventure. Photo: Rich Brame

Custom Trips

Date: you decide!

Price: varies by trip

If you're keen to develop a custom trip for your friends, family, colleagues or posse, give us a shout to design your own adventure.

Past custom trips have sailed in Baja, hiked in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains, explored Utah's canyons, paddled Arctic rivers and much more. Custom trip group sizes range from four to 12 and ages eight to 80, so we can be creative.

To start the ball rolling and see some model itineraries, contact us or 800.332.4280.



Past Trips: Let us know what you've liked and what you would like to see offered again.



Hiking in Italy's Dolomites.

NOLS alumni trips mean light packs and jaw-dropping scenery like this shot of the Dolomites.
Photo: Rich Brame

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Design Your Alumni Trip

Click here to make suggestions about future alumni trip design, dates, content and locations. It's as anonymous as you want it to be, but this survey format exercise helps us understand the trip interests of our large and diverse alumni group.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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