Students kayaking on the calm waters in a section of Desolation Canyon.
Camera Kirk Rasmussen

Fall Semester Teton Valley to Southwest


80 days


17+ yrs



Stay tuned for dates

Winding rivers and redrock canyons

Covering four different outdoor skills, this course provides you with a full introduction to wilderness exploration. By the end, you’ll have a full skillset of leadership and outdoor skills you can use for wilderness travel well into the future. 

The varying landscapes you encounter as you traverse the western U.S. from north to south will include striking red rock canyons in Utah, paddling through the backyard of the Tetons, climbing on soaring granite in Arizona, and backpacking through the mesas and ridges of the Galiuro Wilderness. As you learn to climb peaks and paddle whitewater, you’ll receive hands-on mentorship from dedicated instructors. 

Though some topics will be covered in sit-down classes, most of your learning will be from your everyday experiences, including a progression through NOLS’ distinctive leadership curriculum. Crossing a river will teach teamwork and resilience, while summiting a peak will offer chances to grow in communication and navigation skills. Throughout your days, you’ll learn about the area’s local wildlife and geology, gain insight into its history, and appreciate the simple living of the outdoors. In addition, a foundational course goal is building an inclusive community with your coursemates. You will also earn an industry-recognized Wilderness First Aid certification.

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