Fall Semester in the Rockies

Credit: Kirk Rasmussen

Fall Semester in the Rockies

Find new challenges on rivers, rock, and snow

Explore the outdoors from canyons to mountains on the Semester in the Rockies. This course will be your opportunity to learn a variety of outdoor skills across the western United States and earn a Wilderness First Aid certification. Paddle down rapids on Utah rivers, break trail through Wyoming’s snowy mountains, see ancient rock art, and climb high granite crags. The skills on your semester may include a combination of rock climbing, whitewater paddling, mountaineering, canyoneering, backpacking, and backcountry skiing. Each new skill will start with the basics and your instructors will teach everyone at their own level of experience, so you’ll find plenty of support and new challenges whether you’re a beginner or an experienced outdoorsperson.

Leadership will be a primary focus. As you progress through your semester, you’ll build on the leadership skills you’ve learned throughout the course. For example, assessing a rapid is an opportunity to develop decision-making skills, while navigating hard terrain is an opportunity to practice tolerance for adversity. These experiences are real opportunities for you to test what you’re learning and develop your personal leadership style. By the end of this course, you’ll walk away prepared to be a leader in school, at home, and beyond.



2020 Dates

Sept. 3 – Nov. 30, 2020

Tuition: $13,815
Details: Backcountry Rock, Wilderness First Aid, Rafting/Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Canyoneering

Sept. 7 – Dec. 4, 2020

Tuition: $13,815
Details: Backpacking, Wilderness First Aid, Rock Climbing, Canyoneering, Winter

Sept. 11 – Dec. 8, 2020

Tuition: $13,815
Details: Wilderness First Aid, Backpacking, Rock Climbing, Canyoneering, Winter (Gap Year: 17-19 only)


All course information at a glance


Learn about Financial Aid & Scholarships

Equipment Deposit



89 days

Minimum Age

17 yrs.

Academic Credit

16 College Credits
  • 3 Risk Assessment
  • 6 Skills Practicum
  • 4 Leadership Techniques
  • 3 Environmental Studies

2 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 1.00 Physical Education
Learn about Academic Credit



Leave No Trace - Trainer

Wilderness First Aid


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Lander, Wyoming

Fly in/out

Casper, Wyoming

Skills learned





Rock Climbing


Whitewater Kayaking

Wilderness Medicine

Additional Details

Note: The latest start date is a gap year course for ages 17-19 only

Semester Scholarship Form

Essential Eligibility Criteria


See Photos and Videos from Students and Instructors

What Our Grads Say

“Going to NOLS revealed to me that my life was far from irreparable and through hard work and determination I can get to where I want to be in life. I realized if I can travel 100+ miles on foot living off of what's in my backpack, navigate through precarious terrain and endure torrential weather, I'm definitely capable of putting in the work and effort to have a good life.” 

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