|Tuition||$5,220 Learn about Financial Aid|
|Start/End||Palmer, NOLS Alaska|
|Fly in/out||Anchorage, NOLS Alaska|
“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.”
There’s nothing quite like seeing the remote wilderness on your own two feet, carrying all your own gear on your back while gaining the tools necessary to become a great leader in the backcountry and at home.
Backpacking courses often hike three out of every four days. You’ll travel in small hiking groups so you have more opportunities to lead, make decisions, and map read as you move through beautiful wilderness. Hiking days begin early when you light your stove, cook and enjoy breakfast, and then organize and pack your pack.
You’re usually hiking by mid-morning. Lunch on the trail might be bread you baked the day before, or a trail mix of nuts and dried fruits. You may stop for a short class on natural history, or to learn how to cross a river, travel through boulders or snow, or move over a high pass. When you arrive at your new camp location, you'll first spend time choosing a Leave No Trace site and organizing camp, then you’ll prepare a well-deserved dinner. If the day was long, a short evening meeting may wrap up the day. If the hike was short, there may be a class or discussion.
NOLS sea kayak courses travel to some of the world's greatest locations for ocean paddling, from Alaska's famous Prince William Sound and the unique coastal desert ecosystem of Mexico's Gulf of California to the remote fjords of Patagonian Chile. You'll practice basic and advanced strokes and rescue techniques while traveling in a variety of water conditions.
“I think what was most rewarding about this trip was the fact that the education I received from NOLS will help me fill leadership positions comfortably and confidently in the future. What I learned from NOLS is definitely something that I can use in everyday life, whether it be hiking, going to school, doing chores, or hanging out with friends. I really value and appreciate that.”
The boundlessness of the place will grab you first, for there is nowhere as far-flung as Alaska. It will alter your concept of space.
Glaciers calve into the sea, Arctic tundra stretches beyond the horizon, rugged and expansive mountains reach into the sky, wildlife is abundant, and humans are scarce.
The Land of the Midnight Sun has a whopping 238 million acres of public land. The around-the-clock daylight of summer, the vast geographic distance from the Lower 48, and the variety of cultures set it apart. From our state-of-the-art headquarters in the historic Matanuska Valley outside Palmer to one of our operations bases in Fairbanks or Petersburg, we’ll outfit you with everything you need for an expedition into the wild.
No other organization offers the breadth of opportunities in Alaska that NOLS does, from the Arctic Circle to the Southcentral coastal ranges to the Southeast archipelagos.
Backpacking, sea kayaking, or mountaineering: no matter how you choose to explore Alaska, you’ll learn with NOLS all you need to know about living and traveling in this vast wilderness.
“The feeling of personal achievement is very rewarding and knowing that I was able to successfully complete a very challenging and physically demanding course is something I am proud of. I learned to further trust my decisions, trust my body, and trust in other people to help me be successful, both physically and emotionally. I also think the friendships I made are very rewarding, and hopefully ones I will keep for a long time.”