The Pacific Northwest is a richly diverse wilderness classroom, ranging from jagged, glacier-carved mountains and valleys to evergreen forests and stands of lodgepole pine. This popular backpacking course has two options for exploring this region.
Early season students travel in the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, while late season students backpack through Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula. The Pasayten boasts almost 150 peaks over 7,500 feet in elevation. Rugged ridges in the west flatten into expansive plateaus toward the east, with deep drainages on both sides.
Courses that travel in Olympic National Park will traverse from east to west while viewing the area’s rugged glacier-capped mountains and wide alpine meadows.
Like the first Western explorers, you’ll travel along the wild and rugged Pacific coast, seeing stands of moss-covered old growth and temperate rain forest. You’ll experience some demanding off-trail hiking as you visit pristine and rarely seen parts of the park.
"With NOLS we not only teach students
to live comfortably in the backcountry, but how to appreciate
the wilderness as well. We give students the tools to be
independent thinkers and do trips on their own."