Brooks Range Backpacking and River

Credit: Stéphane Terrier

Brooks Range Backpacking and River

The Brooks Range is one of the wildest mountain ranges in North America. Stretched across the tundra north of the Arctic Circle, this Land of the Midnight Sun is defined by big open river bottoms, steep mountain slopes, and expansive tundra. After flying into the area with an experienced Alaskan bush pilot, you'll spend the first 10 days of this extended Arctic expedition on foot, moving across the tundra and up braided river channels. Then you'll swap boots and backpacks for folding canoes and touring kayaks for a three-week river trip on the Noatak River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or Gates of the Arctic National Park, one of North America's largest mountain-ringed river basins. The mountains are spectacular and rugged and the rivers flow through wilderness for hundreds of miles. It's possible to see Dall sheep, moose, caribou, wolves, black and grizzly bears, and lynx as you travel.

*This course travels on the Noatak River, which is protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.



2019 Dates

July 3 – Aug. 11, 2019

Tuition: $8,700
3 spaces remain Apply now


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40 days

Minimum Age

18 yrs.

Academic Credit

8 College Credits
  • 4 Skills Practicum
  • 2 Leadership Techniques
  • 2 Environmental Studies
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Leave No Trace - Trainer


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Palmer, Alaska

Fly in/out

Anchorage, Alaska

Skills learned



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Essential Eligibility Criteria

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What Our Grads Say

“NOLS taught me about expedition behavior, wilderness ethics, leadership, navigation, first-aid, equipment, and more than anything else—myself. To be off-trail and out in the true wilderness carrying everything you need on your own back is truly exhilarating.” 

—Danielle T., NOLS Brooks Range Backpacking and River grad

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