There's always something
to do at NOLS Southwest.
Photo: Anna Haegel
The friendly atmosphere and abounding beauty of
Arizona will welcome you to NOLS Southwest, located on the
outskirts of Tucson. Meaning “Spring at the base of
the black mountain,” in the language of the Tohono
O’odham tribe, Tucson is a mid-sized city of 486,699
people allowing for one of the most accessible NOLS locations.
Surrounded by Bureau of Land Management, National Park and
National Forest lands, a short drive gets you out of the
city and into a wilderness marked by stunning sunsets and
towering Saquaro cactus.
In operation for the past 15 years, NOLS Southwest
occupies what was previously an Arabian horse
ranch, a ten-acre property at the base of the
Catalina Mountains where Gila monsters and
javelina are regular visitors. The facility
is made up of spacious rations and equipment
rooms, a climbing wall, two recently-built
straw bail houses, and an open air, covered
ramada, where students eat their meals and
prepare for their courses.
NOLS Southwest’s small size creates a friendly,
close-knit atmosphere. Staff get to know each
of the students as everyone shares meals, cleans
up together, and generally displays stellar “expedition
behavior” to make sure everything runs
smoothly. By the time students leave the sunny
Southwest, they’ll not only depart with
a host of outdoor leadership skills, but also
the camaraderie of this close-knit and friendly
NOLS community. And if you’re lucky, the
staff at NOLS Southwest might even send you off
with their famous Southwest wave!
Course areas are as close as 40 miles or as far as a
two-day drive (to the Rio Grande in Texas.)
Local wildlife: Saguaro cactus, pineapple
cactus, lesser long nosed bat, Mexican spotted owl, ocelot,
Sonoran pronghorn antelope, gray wolf, jaguar, Bald eagle,
javelina, Gila monsters, red-tailed hawk, and Aplomado
Tucson is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S., with
3,800 hours of sunlight per year.
Monsoon season occurs
in the summer, where brief, but intense thunderstorms
supply the desert with an average of 11 inches of rain
The property once served as a corporate retreat when
it was an active Arabian horse ranch.
Staff gives every course a wave as they leave for their
course…wigs, sombreros and special dance moves are
NOLS is actively involved in the surrounding community:
We have adopted a stretch of road where we do regular
trash pick-ups and we also help to support a local women’s
shelter with donations of food.
At the center of the operation is
our headquarters on
the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, a facility specially designed
to meet your needs and those of your fellow students.
Photo: Anna Haegel
WHAT MAKES NOLS THE
Our 45 years of
experience and time-tested curriculum has produced nearly 200,000 leaders. Read more reasons...