Camera Matt Hage

Year in the United States


132 days


17+ yrs



Stay tuned for dates

An immersive year in the wilderness

If your goals include finding new challenges in the outdoors, learning deeply about yourself, and delving into the diverse landscapes of the western U.S., then leave the classroom behind and join us for this academic year in the wilderness. 

Divided into a fall and spring semester, this course offers the greatest variety of outdoor skills on any NOLS course. You’ll spend the year developing a deep skillset of interpersonal, leadership, and outdoor experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.

The varying landscapes you encounter will include striking red rock canyons in Utah, underground caves and soaring granite peaks in Arizona, the unique river landscapes of the Southwest, slopes of fresh snow in and around the Tetons, and backpacking through the mesas and ridges of the Galiuro Wilderness. As you learn to paddle whitewater, explore canyons, climb peaks, and more, you’ll receive hands-on mentorship from dedicated instructors.

As you travel, you’ll also progress through NOLS’ recognized leadership curriculum. Though some topics will be covered in sit-down classes, most of your learning will be from your everyday experiences. 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 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 Responder certification and Avalanche Level 1 certificate.

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Essential Eligibility Criteria


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