Whether it’s summitting a mountain or surviving a few nights in a soggy, rain-drenched tent, Outward Bound seeks to change lives through challenge and discovery. From classic wilderness expeditions for youth to professionals taking a moment to reflect on the road they’ve taken, more than 35,000 individuals participate in courses each year.

Finding a program

Want to set up camp, sleep on the beach under the stars or chase your fear as you balance on fingertips and toeholds up the side of a mountain? Outward Bound’s Classic Expeditions help individuals discover their strengths through challenging activities like backpacking, canyoneering, canoeing, dog sledding, sea kayaking and more. The average program lasts 15 days, and classic courses are available year-round at locations across the country for students of all ages.

Semester-long expeditions are unique opportunities where students learn by doing. These “gap year” courses are ideal for college students seeking something beyond the traditional classroom. The locations are remote and rugged – a far cry from a cozy dorm room and meal plan.

Non-traditional programs like Intercept and Veterans Expeditions are intended to provide healing experiences in a wilderness environment. Teams work through physical and mental challenges together to build a healthy support system and path for the future.

Need help choosing a course? Use the course finder tool on Outward Bound’s website to search by age, preferred activity, destination and date. Interested individuals must apply online or by phone. A $500 deposit will be applied toward the total cost of the course, which can range from $1,000 to $12,000. Participants are chosen based on select criteria and availability; however, no wilderness experience is required.

Getting the most out of your experience

You do not have to be a mountaineer or have sailed the seven seas to be accepted to a course. Outward Bound requires students bring two kinds of strength: physical and mental. Your body needs to be strong, but you also must come with an open mind. Whether you paddle for eight hours a day or teach your team a new skill, be ready to take on new challenges.