Immerse yourself in a curriculum that fosters compassion and service as you backpack along the North Shore of Lake Superior and canoe within the Boundary Waters wilderness area. In this beautiful wilderness environment surrounded by a safe and supportive crew, cultivate self-reliance, practice leadership and develop character. At every step of the journey, learn to help and understand others without the expectation of personal gain. Additionally, take part in a half-day backcountry or community service project—a structured and action-oriented opportunity to give back.
The Boundary Waters courses have low student/staff ratios, seven or fewer students with two instructors allowing for more individualized attention and focus.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
Near the southern terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail is a rock-climbing location called Shovel Point, which features 80- to 120-foot vertical granite cliffs towering above the lake. The dramatic vertical rock face combined with the dazzling, emerald colored lake ensures a memorable day for the novice and experienced rock climber alike. Students learn about general rock-climbing equipment, safety and etiquette before learning how to belay. The climbing day provides ample opportunities for students to climb, belay and rappel over the edge, eventually descending safely to the base of majestic rock.
Looking out over the top of the boreal forest, the high ropes course is an incredible obstacle course set 30 feet in the air. Students swing from Tarzan ropes, walk on tightrope wires and climb a cargo net before jumping on the zip line for an exhilarating ride back to solid ground. All Outward Bound climbing experiences are carefully supervised and utilize safety systems that are compliant with national standards.
Students complete an extended canoe expedition. This expedition includes learning the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of conditions, as well as map and compass reading, route finding and Leave No Trace wilderness living principles. Groups navigate a variety of waterways such as lakes, rivers and swamps, as well as working as a team to carry packs and canoes over portage trails when transitioning from one lake to another or to get safely around challenging rapids. Traveling by canoe allows groups to go far past where motorboats operate; once there, it is possible to quietly observe bald eagles, moose and peaceful sunsets on mirror-calm lakes.
Lake Superior is located on the southern edge of the massive Canadian Shield, a granite rock formation that runs from Minnesota to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories. The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) follows the northern shore of the lake from Duluth, Minnesota to Canada covering almost 300 miles along the low-lying Sawtooth Mountain range. Students spend four to six days hiking on the trail that meanders through dense boreal forest, offers awe-inspiring overlooks and plunges into pristine river valleys. Well-marked trails, designated campsites and challenging terrain make the SHT a great introductory backpacking experience.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Some projects are more social services based, and participants may visit a nursing home or hospital to provide service there. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. Many students use this reflection time to make decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to maintain safety. Students find that solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Courses are offered in a variety of locations and for different lengths to provide a range of programming from which participants can choose the optimal experience for them. Longer courses allow for a full immersion into the Outward Bound experience, more time to practice wilderness travel and the opportunity to experience both success and failure to promote personal growth.
Courses for younger students may focus on developing character by encouraging belonging and confidence; older groups may do this by focusing more on persevering through challenge and working on self-reliance. Regardless of course type, students can expect to get comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while creating a solid foundation of skill sets they can continue to build on after course.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior Hiking Trail of Minnesota
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a labyrinth of lakes and rock that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness. No roads, power lines or motorized craft may enter its borders. Therefore, the Boundary Waters has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago.
Over 1 million acres in size, the BWCAW extends 150 miles along the Canadian border. With over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites and more than 1,000 lakes and streams, the BWCAW is a truly amazing place to experience the wilderness. The BWCAW contains portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, forests and crags. It has no piped water, prepared shelters or signs to point the way. Within these borders students can canoe, portage, and camp in the spirit of the French-Canadian Voyageurs of 200 years ago. The Boundary Waters' paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge.
The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is a 296-mile footpath that largely follows the rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior on Minnesota's North Shore from Duluth to the Canadian border. Well-marked trails, campsites, and challenging terrain make this a perfect way to start the trip while building teamwork, increasing endurance, and gaining general outdoor skills to prepare for the canoe expedition.
Shovel Point features towering 80- to 120-foot cliffs jutting right out of the lake. This dramatic site ensures memorable climbing for the novice and experienced rock climber alike.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.