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The base camp for the second Outward Bound school founded in the United States is located on the edge of the most spectacular canoe wilderness in North America. The Voyageur Outward Bound School is in Ely, Minn., the gateway to the renowned Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a rugged maze of pristine lakes and rivers that straddles the U.S.–Canadian border, west of Lake Superior.

The Voyageur Outward Bound School doesn’t boast. They do. The first all-women’s Outward Bound course launched its canoes from Ely in 1965. The first urban programs were offered by Voyageur 25 years ago, and today they continue to deliver innovative courses at their Twin Cities Center in downtown St. Paul.

Leave it all behind as you disappear by canoe, on a true wilderness expedition, carrying all your supplies for one week or three. You can do more than you think you can. Discover your strengths, find new confidence and accomplish more than you ever thought possible. With both a wilderness base camp and an urban center, Voyageur brings the promise of Outward Bound to an incredibly broad spectrum of students, including those with special dietary needs. 

Mush behind a pack of sled dogs in the Great White North or be mesmerized by the haunting wail of a loon on a summer night.  Paddle a sea kayak beneath sandstone sea caves on Lake Superior or climb the rugged cliffs that tower above the lakes. A proud, rich history combines with a confident and compassionate approach to helping people of all ages and walks of life realize their true potential.

Featured Courses

Boundary Waters Canoeing For Struggling Teens

This 28-day course consists of a three-week Boundary Water canoeing expedition and a one-week transition phase with a family conference.


Boundary Waters Canoeing & Backpacking Pathfinder

Students will hike, paddle, portage, navigate, cook, camp, sleep and be a high functioning team across beautiful parts of northern Minnesota, land of sky blue waters and some of the oldest exposed rock in the world.

Boundary Waters Canoeing & Backpacking Semester for Struggling Young Adults

This 50-day course is ideal for teens and young adults struggling to build the skills necessary to live as independent adults.




Courses areas for Voyageur Outward Bound School


Canoeing, Backpacking, Sea Kayaking, Rock Climbing, River Kayaking, Service Projects, Challenge Courses, Whitewater Canoeing, Dog Sledding & Skiing


Classic for Middle SchoolHigh SchoolCollege and AdultGap Year/SemesterInstructor, Struggling Teens & Young AdultsVeterans and Custom Programs