Desert Backpacking, Canyon Backpacking, Service, Winter Camping, Rock Climbing, Canyoneering
$10,295 - $10,795
Wilderness First Responder
Basic Paddle Strokes
Belaying a Climber
Food Preparation and Cooking
Leave No Trace Methods & Ethics
Map and Compass
Positive Risk Taking
Consolidate multiple technical skills across a variety of desert environments, all while learning the outdoor leadership and education skills required for employment within our industry from the premier outdoor educators at Outward Bound.
An Outdoor Educator course provides the training required to enter a career in the outdoor industry and is ideal for aspiring outdoor educators. You’ll experience firsthand the entire process of how an Outward Bound course is run while being trained to the level of a new Instructor. This course requires no previous wilderness background; you’ll experience a mixture of theoretical and philosophical workshops, intense technical training and assessment, backcountry expeditions, as well as opportunities to build your resume and connect with other professionals—both seasoned and aspiring.
Start out gaining a solid foundation during your Wilderness First Responder course, an 80-hour certification that will prepare you for your expedition and for employment in the outdoor education industry. Then you’ll move into the hands-on basics of backpacking (camp craft, navigation, and wilderness travel) in the iconic desert Southwest, developing transferable skills required for any wilderness expedition.
Following your canyon backpacking section, you’ll head to the river for a canoeing expedition that will help you learn to recognize and navigate moving water as it flows through Utah’s sandstone canyons. Next, your course will transition to the famous Robbers Roost area, a maze-like network of canyons once utilized as a hideout by Butch Cassidy’s “Wild Bunch.” Here, you’ll deepen your knowledge of canyoneering techniques, possibly rappelling and learning anchor building in technical slot canyons. Canyoneering offers a great capstone to the knowledge you will have accumulated during the previous sections of the course: planning and preparation, time management, navigation and route-finding, and transferable technical skills.
As your course evolves, you’ll be challenged with more ownership, decision making, and leadership of your team. You’ll be responsible for group management decisions and be placed more in the role of an Instructor.
Finally, you may be challenged to apply everything you have learned so far during an independent/unaccompanied final expedition. This opportunity provides you with an additional level of leadership and management experience, drawing from a summation of the skills you’ve acquired to date.
NOTE: This course requires that students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean, click here.
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Most College Savings Plans, including the 529 College Savings Plan, may be used to attend an Outward Bound expedition, thanks to a partnership with Western Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western Colorado University student. Registration is easy! Click here to learn more.
Outdoor Educator Expeditions
Are you motivated by the never-ending discovery in the adventure of the outdoors? Are you passionate about sharing knowledge and helping future generations become comfortable and confident appreciators of the natural world? Working as an outdoor educator requires deep technical expertise in outdoor skills alongside hands-on training in the science behind experiential learning and how to create lasting impact for students. Outward Bound leads the outdoor education industry in both areas, providing a coveted foundation to jump-start an outdoor-involved career.
Build skills, form connections: Refine backcountry, technical, and interpersonal skills - and practice teaching them. Help students evaluate options, manage risks, and learn to engage people of different ages and backgrounds in an environment where they are “crew, not passengers.” Master the outdoor knowledge, strengths and skills that can’t be found in a traditional classroom.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Absorb the technical prowess you’ll need to master multiple outdoor activities and potentially help others do the same. Discover the power of reflection and how to create lasting impact behind every adventure, challenge and opportunity.
Demonstrate mastery: Learn from the best outdoor educators in the industry and add your own strengths as you design and lead courses, as you take on physical and mental challenges in numerous wilderness environments and as you become responsible for the creation and fulfillment of life-changing lessons.
Train in basic first aid and wilderness medicine: Learn the principles and techniques of patient assessment, care and treatment in remote and extreme environments. Earn Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification on select courses.
What you’ll learn: Return home with the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and leading field-based wilderness education programs. Depending on the course, you’ll have expanded knowledge and skills relating to a variety of land and/or water-based activities. You’ll be a conscientious safety and risk management leader and you’ll have a solid grounding in the Outward Bound philosophy and methodology for teaching and facilitation.
Outdoor Educator courses allow you to work in and through the widest variety of wilderness environments and develop high level skills in each. Beyond preparing you for career opportunities in the outdoor industry, you may also earn academic credit in the field of Recreation and Outdoor Education.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
Wilderness First Responder
Would you know what to do if you walked up on an injured hiker in the wilderness? You will after you complete this industry standard 80-hour wilderness medicine course. WFRs are geared toward people of all ability levels and is a precursor to additional certifications as you progress in your career. You’ll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for common injuries and illnesses in the outdoors, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions in varying conditions. Students can earn Wilderness First Responder, CPR, and Epinephrine Administration Certifications.
of Dave Erbe
of Dillon Marks
of Dillon Marks
of Dave Erbe
of Dillon Marks
Exploring the canyon environment is done through backpacking, as well as hiking through narrow and picturesque slots. Backpackers carry everything they need – food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Backpackers feel a sense of freedom from deadlines and tasks as they grow accustomed to eating when hungry, setting up camp when tired, and having complete control over what they accomplish each day. The simplicity of hiking gives students the opportunity to focus both internally on their own thoughts and self-reliance, as well as externally to connect deeply with others as they talk, sing, problem solve, and spend time together without distraction.
This course will begin with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation, and camp craft as they get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students backpack along canyon rims and through deep canyon bottoms, sometimes shedding their backpacks for smaller daypacks to navigate into jaw-dropping narrows or explore thousand-year-old cliff dwellings and rock art. Crews camp on expansive rock slabs with views of the otherworldly landscapes and stop along the way to explore microclimates and canyon ecosystems. Most importantly, students spend time in an incredible area where modern life has been stripped down to the essentials of travelling through a landscape of rock, sand, sky - feeling the sunshine on their face and watching the sun set as the Milky Way lights up the night sky over this magical landscape.
of Sophie Macmillan
of Sophie Macmillan
of Ashley Perry
of Sophie Macmillan
A little more than a week of this course is spent on the river learning to master canoe strokes and maneuvers while navigating various obstacles and hazards in the river – all while tuning into and learning the lessons of the river. Students learn all the skills they need to move safely and efficiently down the river, including an introduction to canoe rescue techniques. As there are only two students in a canoe, everyone has the opportunity to "captain their watercraft." Students learn to adapt to the river and desert environments and reset their internal clock to rise with the sun and sleep with the brilliant stars of the Milky Way.
In places, the canyon rims rise hundreds of feet above the river, enclosing participants in a remote world of rushing water, delicate ecosystems and unbelievable beauty. Most courses get the opportunity to take day hikes away from the river and up to the canyon rim. These hikes provide stunning views, a change of pace and often the chance to see Native American archaeological sites, petroglyphs, and jaw-dropping geological formations.
of Dillon Marks
of Dillon Marks
of Dillon Marks
Canyoneering is like running the most exciting adventure course imaginable. Each obstacle occurs naturally – made by the power of water coursing through the desert, making its way to the river. A combination of climbing, scrambling, hiking, potentially rappelling and even swimming may be involved in getting through this terrain. The adventure begins by hiking across the sunny desert mesa to drop into a canyon via rappel. As students travel further down, the canyon narrows, twists, turns and drops, creating breathtaking cave-like conditions. Sunlight bouncing off the walls from far above causes the sandstone walls to glow red and orange. Exiting the canyon back into the desert daylight feels like returning from another world. This rugged, rocky terrain requires teamwork and effective decision-making. To meet the demands of technical terrain, Instructors begin by teaching the foundational skills necessary for efficient travel, such as basic movement over rock. Over this section, students experience slot canyons, day hikes, canyon backpacking, and potentially rappels and technical canyoneering.
Students may experience intro to rappelling and other roped activities during backpacking sections.
Service to people 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 often coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects, while some projects are based more on serving and benefitting other humans. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning litter and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.
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, Solo 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 Instructors at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority. 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.
This 55-day course will train students to the level of a canyon backpacking and canoeing Instructors. It provides extensive experience in these activities and prepares them for an entry-level position anywhere in the country. Over the duration of the 55 days, Outdoor Educator students will develop, practice, and perform the requisite technical skills, group management skills, facilitation skills, and teaching skills. Throughout the course via focused discussions, activities and workshops, they’ll also be prepared to transfer these skills to any future outdoor leadership endeavors. Students will have the opportunity to be assessed on all skills and knowledge and receive a professional development plan, work on their resume, and identify professional goals and a pathway to reaching those goals with the support of their Instructors and fellow students.
Canyon Country, Utah
The most spectacular aspects of the Utah landscape are the hidden treasures found within its vast canyon networks, formed by millennia of wind and water. The canyons are composed of a spell-binding labyrinth of alcoves, fins, pinnacles, buttes, towering walls, ledges and arches just waiting to be explored on course. Canyoneering courses also venture into narrower, deeper chasms sometimes as narrow as two feet wide with walls rising several hundred feet on each side. These sandstone slot canyons are a geological playground for scrambling, teamwork, and rappelling. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Pueblos, Southern Paiute, Diné, and Hopi nations.
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.