Gain broad technical know-how while exploring two unforgettable environments in the remote North Woods of Minnesota.
On this three-week canoeing and backpacking expedition, immerse yourself in the wonder of the wilderness, backpacking along the North Shore of Lake Superior and canoeing within the Boundary Waters wilderness area as you foster compassion and trust within yourself and your crew. In this renowned and beautiful environment surrounded by a safe and supportive team, 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 seven or fewer students with two Instructors on each course, allowing for more individualized attention.
This course is closed for the season. 2021 courses coming soon.
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON SUMMER COURSES
With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our students and staff, we have made
the very difficult decision to cancel all summer Classic and Intercept courses. Please check
back for fall 2020 and 2021 courses. Read our complete update.
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Build skills, form connections: Meet like-minded peers and make connections as you work through priorities and adventures together, learn outdoor skills at the hands of expert Instructors, and earn every good night’s sleep.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Re-discover your inner strength, renew your natural leadership abilities and practice adapting to new environments. Tap in to your trust and compassion as you tackle obstacles with a support crew standing beside you.
Demonstrate mastery: As you awaken your wilderness skills and dig deep to rise to the physical and mental challenges, the bulk of the expedition’s leadership and decision-making responsibilities transfer from the Instructor to the crew. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both individually and together.
What you’ll learn: Watch, try and share more difficult outdoor skills that you’ll master on your expedition. Discover and then remind yourself that there’s more in you than you know. Having taken the risks, learned from and adapted to all sorts of new situations and environments, you’re ready for whatever life hands you going forward.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness acumen, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
Completing an extended canoe 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 and, 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 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, meandering through dense boreal forest, offering awe-inspiring overlooks and plunges into pristine river valleys. Well-marked trails, designated campsites and challenging terrain make the Superior Hiking Trail 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.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more, depending on the length of the course. Weather and time permitting, 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.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from four to 85 days. On shorter courses, students will receive an introduction to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve while activities fill most of the time and the pace is quick. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the opportunity to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more chances to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development. However many days the expedition lasts, the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Canoeing, backpacking and wilderness navigation techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at work, home and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students to:
Remain engaged and present, giving every challenge the best effort, even when the goal seems beyond reach.
Form a team and focus on the team effort.
Share responsibilities, communicate and lead. Leadership roles are shared within the group, and responsibilities rotate each day.
Find reserves of tenacity and compassion.
Outward Bound courses are designed to expand and stretch your limits so that every expedition is a true accomplishment and a memorable journey.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 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 wilderness has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago.
Over one million acres in size, the BWCAW extends 150 miles along the Minnesota/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. It 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 you 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.
Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
The Superior Hiking Trail 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 thru-hike destination.
National Geographic says the Superior Hiking Trail “is the best long hike in the country between the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.” At its lowest elevation, along the lakeshore, the trail is 602 feet above sea level. At its highest point the trail is 1,750 feet above sea level and more than 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. The Superior Hiking Trail is characterized by ascents to rock outcroppings and cliffs and descents into numerous river and creek valleys that feature abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.
Canoe training expedition (introductory lessons in canoeing, portaging, camp craft, cooking over a fire and navigation)
Main expedition and final phase of the canoe expedition
Rock Climbing and resupply
High ropes course and community service project
Personal challenge event and course end ceremonies
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.