Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking

Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking


  • Experience Alaska's grandeur by both foot and kayak
  • Paddle up to 150 miles in Prince William Sound, an area known for its spectacular and varied natural history, and abundance of wildlife
  • See whales, porpoises, sea otters, seals, and sea lions while you're kayaking, and catch glimpses of dall sheep, moose, and coyotes while backpacking
  • Possibility to travel near tidal glaciers
  • Fishing opportunities on both kayaking and backpacking sections
  • 16- and 17-year-old only option available (see dates below)
Alaska is a land of incredible fjords, forested ocean coasts, and high alpine meadows. Your monthlong adventure will give you a chance to learn two wilderness travel skills: backpacking and sea kayaking.

While kayaking, you'll follow a route in Prince William Sound where glaciers flow directly into the ocean and a variety of marine animals are easy to spot. You'll learn how to handle your boat in different conditions of wind and tide, and also how to be a good leader and keep a positive attitude after a long day of paddling.

The mountains of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the Talkeetnas, the Kenai Mountains, or the Chugach Range will be your home for the backpacking section. Here you'll start below tree line and head into the mountains along glacier-carved river valleys, reaching open high country known as tundra. The vistas here are wide, the mountains rugged, and the lessons lifelong.


Location NOLS Alaska
Tuition $5,500 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $450
Minimum Age 16
Duration 30 Days
Types Classic and Classic - 16 & 17 Only
Start/End Palmer, NOLS Alaska
Fly in/out Anchorage, NOLS Alaska
College Credit
  • 6 Credit Hours
  • 2 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 2 Hours Environmental Studies
  • 2 Hours Skills Practicum
Learn about College Credit
High School Credit
  • 1.5 Carnegie Units
  • 0.5 CUs Physical Education
  • 1 CU Leadership
Learn about High School Credit

“The most rewarding thing for me was seeing improvement in my technical skills and gaining confidence that came with this increased competency. I became much more vocal and took on leadership roles much more often as I became more comfortable with the various field skills, i.e. navigation and knots. I feel like a much stronger person after this course than before.”

-Sophie H.

Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking Grad