|Location||NOLS Teton Valley|
|Tuition||$6,300 Learn about Financial Aid|
|Type||Adventure - 14 & 15 Only|
|Fly in/out||Jackson Hole, Wyoming|
High School Credit
“I was completely amazed with how much fun I had. It was great to get up every day, take care of group gear, and take care of group tasks like packing and cooking. One of my most important lessons was learning how to get along with people on the spot and to be given the chance to trust them, learn from them, and help each other get stronger while hiking and rafting. ”
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.
Following the hiking section, your course will raft down the Main Salmon River. It’s time to give your legs and feet a break and start using your upper body to paddle and row your rafts down the Main Salmon River, which bisects the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. This classic Western river holds the distinction in the Lower 48 for being one of the longest free flowing rivers at 425 miles, and for traveling through the heart of the largest wilderness area at 2.3 million acres. Other highlights include beautiful sandy beaches, which we will call camp and a riverside natural hot springs.
As we go downstream in the paddle rafts, you will learn how to guide the paddle raft, be a good crew member, recognize river hazards and obstacles and how to avoid them, and find good lines through the rapids. There will also be time spent learning and practicing river rescue techniques. You will have the opportunity to spend time on the heavy oar rigs that carry all of the group gear as well. After rigging boats in the morning, we’ll head downstream for another day of learning on our flowing river classroom, making stops at historic homesteads and mines. You will learn what it takes to run a river trip even down to the finer points of cooking brownies in a Dutch oven.
Nestled below the western flanks of the magnificent Teton Mountains in Driggs, Idaho, NOLS Teton Valley is our base for exploring the western Rocky Mountain region.
We specialize in winter and combination backpacking and rafting courses, and we are the hub of the NOLS Adventure programs, offering two-week hiking and four-week hiking and rafting courses for 14- and 15-year-olds ready for a summer outside.
Join us this summer to look out over pristine mountain valleys, hike over Lemhi Pass in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, and raft in the Lower 48’s largest designated wilderness area when you paddle the wild and scenic Main Salmon River. Come in the winter to ski or ride unparalleled powder in our Teton classroom where you will develop your avalanche awareness and rekindle your sense of play as you build shelters made of snow.
Discover with NOLS the rugged and intriguing mountains of the Old West—the vast backcountry of Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming—as you explore your leadership style.