Students and folding canoes silhouetted by the setting sun on a rocky shore in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Camera Stéphane Terrier

Brooks Range Backpacking and River


40 days


18+ yrs



Stay tuned for dates

Discover new challenges in the Alaskan wilderness

Start your next adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. Backpack across the Arctic tundra and soaring peaks of the Brooks Range. Then, paddle a canoe down the Noatak River to the Chukchi Sea, concluding your adventure in the coastal village of Kotzebue. There, learn about local culture while staying in a fish camp. Whether you’re an experienced outdoorsperson or new to wilderness travel, expect to learn something each day as you explore the Land of the Midnight Sun. 

You’ll start with the basics, like navigating off trail and preparing meals on a campstove. Later, move on to more challenging topics like developing your paddling technique and managing risk in a whitewater environment. Dive into plant and animal identification, as well as discussions about local environmental issues. 

As you build your outdoor skills, you’ll also expand your leadership skills. Crossing a glacier-fed river in the mountains is an opportunity to practice good decision making and effective communication. Navigating a whitewater rapid is a lesson in judgment and teamwork. Gain the experience you need to support a team in a dynamic environment, as well as a better understanding of your personal leadership style. Return with the confidence to lead in the outdoors, at home, and beyond. 

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

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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.” 

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