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Welcome to Pacific Northwest

Bounded by both mountains and ocean, NOLS Pacific Northwest is your gateway to backcountry adventures in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada. In wilderness classrooms ranging from ocean to alpine and rainforest to high desert, we offer courses in five outdoor skills: backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, sea kayaking, and keelboat sailing. The urban centers of Seattle and Vancouver are close enough for convenient travel to and from NOLS Pacific Northwest, but once you’re on course, you can travel for days without seeing other people. On an ocean-based expedition, you’ll paddle along the open coast of Vancouver Island or navigate a sailboat across the Salish Sea. If you choose to stay on land, your options include backpacking through the rainforest of Olympic National Park, climbing the glaciated peaks of the North Cascades, or mountaineering on the ice fields of British Columbia. No matter which skill type you tackle and which classroom you explore, you’ll find memorable challenges in the Pacific Northwest. Whether it’s completing a peak ascent at sunrise or waking early to check weather conditions before planning the day’s paddling route, you’ll return home with experiences to remember. And, the best kept secret of the Pacific Northwest? It’s not as rainy as you might think!

Courses in Pacific Northwest

About Pacific Northwest

Information about this location

20950 Bulson Road
Mount Vernon, WA 98274

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Forest and ocean. Glacier and river. Heather and pine. This is the Pacific Northwest, with its temperate rain forests, stunning ice-covered volcanoes, hidden bays and coves, and lush old-growth forests.

Home to bald eagles, black bears, mountain goats, elk, porpoises, and whales, this will be your classroom. The Pacific Northwest is the birthplace of the outdoor industry, and NOLS has been the region's outdoor education pioneer for more than 35 years.

We specialize in courses for outdoor educators and trip leaders, and our easy-to-access facilities in Conway, Wash., an hour north of Seattle, were specifically designed to support NOLS' educational expeditions.

Explore the wonders of NOLS Pacific Northwest

Read about the Pacific Northwest



To family and friends alike (and to the other people who care to read my rambling with the hope that I might, just might go into detail about how long my armpit hair is, or how many times I had to poop in a bag over the course of two and a half months):

I am writing from the train as I think about the past 80 days.

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Credit: John Sink