Adirondack Backpacking and Canoeing Adventure

Adirondack Backpacking and Canoeing Adventure


  • Travel trough the Adirondack Forest Preserve—one of the oldest protected lands in the United States
  • Paddle on flat-water rivers, lakes, and ponds
  • Waterways link together via canoe carries or portages ranging from 500 feet to 1 mile in length
  • Travel on high ridges, through flower-filled mountain meadows, and in thick boreal and hardwood forests
  • Learn about local history, wildlife, ecology, and public policy
This 21-day canoeing and backpacking combination course is designed to take young teens on an inspiring adventure. Traveling by canoe and by foot allows you to experience completely the essence of this wilderness.

You will paddle through the pristine Canoe Wilderness of the Adirondacks—exploring lakes, ponds, and rivers while fishing for brook trout and waking to the call of loons. In this idyllic wilderness classroom, you will learn paddling strokes, rescue techniques, and portaging methods (locally called carries). Link together a network of recreational waterways, which will lead you to the High Peaks Region. Climb mountain peaks, discover high alpine zones on rocky summits, and overcome challenges alongside new friends.

Under the mentorship of experienced NOLS instructors, you will experience the time-tested NOLS core curriculum: leadership, environmental ethics, camping, baking, navigation, map reading, and much more.

With one of the smallest course sizes at NOLS, a 1:3 instructor-to-student ratio, on this course you will receive personalized attention and coaching. You will challenge yourself, gain trust and support from your coursemates, build self-confidence, and develop new leadership skills that will transfer to the rest of your life.


Location NOLS Northeast
Tuition $4,600 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $300
Minimum Age 14
Duration 21 Days
Type Adventure - 14 & 15 Only
Start/End Paul Smiths, New York
Fly in/out Saranac Lake Airport
High School Credit
  • 1 Carnegie Unit
  • 0.5 CUs Physical Education
  • 0.5 CUs Leadership
Learn about High School Credit

“The most rewarding thing about this course was being able to learn as much as I did about people skills and leadership as well as the sheer physical accomplishment involved.”

-Lenna F.

NOLS Adventure Grad