Students backpacking through the desert landscape of Saguaro National Park.
Camera Liz Schultz

Southwest Backpacking - Adult

Explore America’s oldest Wilderness

On this one-week course, discover a pristine desert and gain the skills to start a lifetime of exploring. Wake up and start cooking breakfast on a camp stove, listening for the early-morning sounds of coyote or deer. Learn about the area’s ecology as you climb high ridges and explore ponderosa pine forests. Absorb thousands of years of human history as you come upon artifacts left by the cliff-dwelling Mogollon people. On this course, you’ll backpack through the Gila National Forest, the United States’ first designated wilderness, as you develop outdoor skills like minimum-impact camping, map reading, and navigating off-trail.

Leadership will also be a key component of this course. Learning to navigate different types of terrain becomes a lesson in decision making, while resolving a group conflict becomes an opportunity to practice communication and learn about group dynamics. Meeting new challenges is your opportunity to set and follow through on goals. By the end of this course, you’ll have the experience to start exploring the wilderness and be a leader wherever you find yourself.

Additional Details

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Course Dates

0 courses

We searched our packs and couldn’t find that exact result.
Try Again or Go to Course Finder

See Photos and Videos from Students and Instructors

What Our Grads Say

“But what had the most impact on me was the sense of community I experienced. I spent 31 days with a group of 10 people and 2 instructors without seeing any other people in the world. We slept together, ate together, relied on each other. We sacrificed for each other. We learned to know each and every other not by checking Facebook photos but by sitting around a fire together and talking and sharing, trekking down a trail together and struggling and celebrating. When we first met, I judged the group based on superficial qualities. This person would be my friend, this person would get on my nerves. I think this is human. But what I found by the end was that every last one of us had a story, a history, a voice and a perspective that I respected, appreciated, and enjoyed.I will go the rest of my life meeting people with this newly opened mind, and it will make me a better person, friend, community member, professional, partner, and parent.” 

Start Your Experience Today

More Courses