Start Dreaming: Summer 2020 Expeditions Now Online


Jul 31, 2019

Camping on a summer day in the Yukon
Photo by Ari Bruns

Dreading the end of summer? We are too, just a little.

But don’t despair: looking forward to next year’s outdoor adventures is a great way to shake off the end of summer blues. Our summer 2020 course dates are now live, so it’s time to start dreaming!

Maybe you want to focus on learning a new wilderness skill next summer, like rock climbing or mountaineering. Or maybe you’ve decided that next year’s the perfect time for your first international outdoor adventure.

Whatever the case may be, planning now means having something to look forward to, rather than dreading summer’s end.

To help kick off your planning, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite summer courses.

Explore Wyoming’s Wind River Range, home of the original NOLS course; sea kayak and climb mountains on a Summer Semester in Alaska; or join a group of peers ages 14 and 15 for your first extended wilderness expedition.

Check out some more options below, and get excited for next summer.

Adventure Courses: Wilderness Expeditions for Teens

These 2- to 4-week expeditions are the ultimate summer break adventure for teens looking to find new challenges in the outdoors. From backpacking in the Adirondacks to paddling whitewater rapids on Idaho’s Salmon River, expect a fun-filled introduction to backcountry travel and outdoor leadership.

Salmon Backpacking and Rafting Adventure (Ages 14 & 15)

Get ready for an unforgettable wilderness expedition focused on two key outdoor skills: backpacking and whitewater rafting.

See course

two NOLS participants paddle a raft on the Salmon River on a sunny day
Photo by Col Lindemuth

Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking (Ages 16 & 17)

Head to the Land of the Midnight Sun, where you’ll hike across the open tundra and paddle alongside tidewater glaciers in Alaska’s famed coastal fjords.

See course

NOLS students paddle a double kayak in Prince William Sound with mountains reflected in the water
Photo by Cass Colman

Girls Pacific Northwest Backpacking Adventure (Ages 14 & 15)

Join a group of girls your own age to explore the glacier-carved peaks and thick evergreen forests of Olympic National Park or the North Cascades.

See course

six teenage girls raise arms in celebration while backpacking in the Pacific Northwest
Photo by Lila Sternberg Sher

Classic Expeditions: 30-Day Courses

Like the original NOLS courses, these immersive monthlong expeditions for teens and adults offer an opportunity to build competence in one or more types of wilderness travel, develop your leadership style, and form new friendships.

Wind River Wilderness

Explore the glacier-carved peaks, high ridges, and alpine lakes of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, home to the original NOLS course.

See course

NOLS participants hike beside an alpine lake surrounded by rocky peaks in the Wind River Range
Photo by Eric Page

North Cascades Mountaineering

Head to the Pacific Northwest for a comprehensive introduction to mountaineering on the snow-covered glaciers and jagged peaks of Washington’s Cascade Range.

See course

five small figures travel across a snowfield in a dramatic mountain landscape
Photo by Reece Robinson

Scandinavia Sea Kayaking & Backpacking

Backpack across the windswept tundra, paddle Norway’s ocean fjords, and interact with local communities as you explore above the Arctic Circle.

Check out similar courses!

sunset over NOLS tents scattered between rocks in the mountains of Scandinavia
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Summer Semesters: Extended Expeditions

These courses are perfect for students looking for a summer break experience that sets them apart: an extended wilderness expedition that will prepare them to lead in the outdoors and beyond.

Summer Semester in the Rockies

Make this summer break one to remember: backpack across high mountain passes, climb granite crags, and paddle whitewater rapids in the Rocky Mountains.

See course

five NOLS participants hike past glassy alpine lake toward towering rocky peak
Photo by Juan Quierolo

Summer Semester in the Yukon

Leave the trails behind and dive into an unforgettable adventure in the mountains, glaciers, and rivers of Canada’s Yukon Territory, one of the most remote areas in North America.

Check out similar courses!

two NOLS students paddle a whitewater canoe in the Yukon
Photo by Ari Bruns

Summer Semester in Alaska

Explore the Land of the Midnight Sun at the height of the northern summer, from backpacking across sweeping expanses of tundra and climbing across vast glaciers to sea kayaking in Prince William Sound.

See course

NOLS rope team pauses to rest while mountaineering in Alaska
Photo by Brandon Gell

Summer Semester in the Pacific Northwest

Wake up before dawn to attempt a peak ascent and watch the sun rise over a glacier. Smell the salt air as you paddle a sea kayak through ocean straits in British Columbia.

See course

NOLS students circle up for a lesson in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest
Photo by Willy Oppenheim

See all 2020 summer expeditions.

Written By


NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that seeks to help you step forward boldly as a leader.

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NOLS students sea kayaking in icy water with snow-capped mountains in the distance, as seen over the bow of a green and white kayak

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looking over the nose of a sea kayak toward other kayakers, floating ice, and mountains in Alaska
Photo by Mara Gans

This summer, kayak past Alaska’s towering ice-blue glaciers. Or go backpacking in the majestic snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades.

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