Photo: Courtney Gugliuzza

Course Details



Expedition Type


Additional Activities

Desert Backpacking








7 days


Fall, Spring

Upcoming Courses

Dates Days Age Cost Course # Actions
9/27/15 - 10/3/15 7 23+ $1695 CUAB-522 Call
4/2/16 - 4/8/16 7 23+ $1695 CUAB-621 Enroll

This is a backpacking course in the canyon country of Utah, specifically designed for adults over age 23—students who are looking for travel in an amazing and unique environment and are ready to look inward, work as a team and gain new perspective are ideal participants in this course.


Outward Bound Classic expeditions traverse some of the wildest, most rugged, awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. Our students work for every technicolor sunset; every super-fresh morning; every breathtaking vista. And when they arrive at their destination, and pause to take it all in, they know, without a doubt, that they earned their place there. By the time they finally drift to sleep, our students have put in a full day of moving their bodies, learning, cooperating as a team, puzzling through problems, and digging deep to find what really lies within – always, inevitably, more than they know.

Although each expedition is unique, certain key components are a part of every Outward Bound Classic Expedition. The expedition begins with hands-on, progressive training in a variety of expedition and personal skills. As students learn to cook, sleep, stay warm, navigate and select routes together, crew members not only do their part; they also take turns leading and following. The idea that students are “crew, not passengers” is central to the Outward Bound learning approach. Wilderness living does not encourage students to contribute to the group; it requires it. After all, on an Outward Bound expedition, awareness of others is not optional; it is necessary for success. 

Throughout the expedition, students build, practice, and reflect on skills, conduct service projects and also tackle at least one challenge element - rock climbing, a peak ascent or a big whitewater day - that pushes them to find undiscovered strength. During the expedition's final phase, students experience a rare gift and highlight of the course: time to think and reflect on the Solo. With sufficient food, equipment and skills, individuals spend three hours to three days alone at an assigned campsite – with Instructors periodically checking in on them. As the course nears the end, Instructors may gradually transfer leadership responsibilities to the students, culminating with a Final Expedition. During the Final Expedition, students work as a team and utilize the skills they have acquired to solve problems and make group decisions, while Instructors maintain overall risk-management for the group with check-ins and advanced scouting.


Your course will begin with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, you learn Leave No Trace¨ techniques; map and compass navigation; camp craft; and get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. The true value of the trek takes hold as you backpack in the canyons and out across the mesas, camp on vast expanses of desert slickrock, and stop along the way to explore amazing ruins and interesting geology.

Most importantly, you get to spend time in an incredible area of the desert, sleep under the stars, feel the spring or fall sunshine on your face, and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.

Photo: Steve Creech


The course will end with your Final Expedition, where you and your team will head back into the field to put all your newly acquired skills into practice. Depending on your team’s ability levels, your Instructors will step back during this section and allow you and your team to take over decision-making responsibilities for navigation, time schedules, communication, and general leadership.


Your course takes place just north of the San Juan River on a large plateau called Cedar Mesa. The landscape is filled with sandstone that has eroded into an endless variety of mesas, towers, grottos, hoodoos, arches and canyons. The canyons abound with hidden wonders: clear springs seeping from the rock; delicate soils full of life; the amazing tapestries of the canyon walls; and a large concentration of ancient Native American cliff dwellings.

Getting Started

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.

To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee. Click here to learn more about the complete enrollment process.