|Tuition||$5,100 Learn about Financial Aid|
|Start/End||Palmer, NOLS Alaska|
|Fly in/out||Anchorage, NOLS Alaska|
“Every single day was better than the next. I was challenged every step of the way but having the constant support of my peers and instructors enabled me to persevere. The natural beauty, simplicity of the lifestyle, and escape from the technological world was incredibly rewarding.”
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.
Packrafting is at the forefront of Alaskan exploration and NOLS is right there with it. Since their inception, these single-person inflatable rafts (weighing around four pounds each) have opened up some of the world's most remote country that would be otherwise inaccessible to overland travel.
With this equipment and the help of experienced instructor teams, you will navigate the rivers of the eastern Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains that would otherwise be obstacles on a traditional backpacking course.
“The most rewarding aspect of this course was the ability to find within myself the strength to accomplish any task or obstacle facing me. Learning the skills for certain backcountry tasks carried principles that can and will pertain to virtually all life tasks. ”
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.