"Bob pulled me aside that night and asked me to walk with him down to the river after everyone split off. We sat on the bank and he told me that he had never seen someone go from so terrified and so aware of a risk, to so focused and composed. He asked me what changed, and the only reasoning I could give him was that we had to make it through that rapid. I took the job of getting us to the other side, so I had to get the job done right. The rapid pushed me into a new state of mind." Parker Mikesh - Outward Bound alumnus
No previous rafting experience is necessary to fully embrace this extraordinary seven or 10-day expedition, which combines unforgettable environments and exciting activities with an emphasis on developing leadership, community and personal strength.
On the river, learn both the basics and the fine points of managing a paddle raft through some of the best whitewater in the West, as well as camping underneath the pristine night skies of Southern Utah. Enjoy the rhythm of the river, take in the exquisite natural beauty of the land and stop often to explore awe-inspiring viewpoints.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 courses coming soon.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve conquered a high mountain ridge, made a boat obey your command in windswept waves or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Making up more than half of this 50-day course, each day on the river is spent learning to recognize and navigate various obstacles and hazards in the river and how to anticipate the forces of the current from far enough upstream. Participants will work to become a team, coordinating spacing and paddle strokes. They will have an opportunity to be the captain of their raft and practice new skills as they maneuver through adrenaline-filled rapids and flat-water sections.
In places, the canyon rims rise thousands 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 ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and strange but remarkable geological formations.
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. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning trash and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.
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.
Whether you go on an 8-day course or an 80 day course, all Outward Bound expeditions are focused on building character and leadership skills. Short courses are a great option for students looking for an introduction to the outdoors or for those who need a quick recharge. On shorter courses, you’ll learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to your course activity such as climbing or rafting. You’ll get to know your fellow crew mates surprisingly well as you share this immersive and intense experience.
On longer courses, your Instructors will progressively hand over more of the decision making and leadership of the expedition to you and your crewmates, allowing each person to test the new technical and interpersonal skills they have learned. On semesters, you will learn advanced technical skills and on some courses, earn certifications. Longer courses give your crew the opportunity to get past the “honeymoon” stage where individuals show more of their “real” selves. Through the dynamics of an evolving group setting, you will have more freedom to investigate who you are and how you want to develop personally, and to start that inner journey. Longer solos will give you more time to reflect on your course and your life direction. All along the way, you will experience a wide variety of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the US and the world.
Depending on permits and river conditions, the course will take place in one of the following regions:
Gates of Lodore on the Green River, Colorado and Utah
Whitewater on this northern section of the Green River begins the start of the course where the river enters the imposing Gates of Lodore. Red sandstone escarpments rise up 2,000 feet above the river as it carves a 45-mile course of placid flat-water and raging rapids through three dramatic canyons — Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain. This section of river is enclosed within Dinosaur National Monument, and students will be privileged to witness the towering cliffs as well as rock art from the Fremont people, who called these canyons home over 1,000 years ago.
Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River
One of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the West, Cataract Canyon cuts through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Natural wonders and ancient ruins are found in the canyon on the way to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. The Colorado River roars through 31 exciting rapids that rate with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty, including the famous Mile Long Rapids and “the Big Drops.”
Yampa River – Colorado and Utah
There are few instances in the United States or the world where a river runs free and wild without dams, highways, railroads or other manmade creations for its entire length. The Yampa is a symbol of wild rivers around the world, and it is the only major tributary of the Colorado River system without a dam controlling its flow. Students paddle through deep sandstone gorges and Class II- Class IV rapids with their expedition mates. The Yampa is one of the most sought-after rivers on any river-runner’s list, due to the exhilarating whitewater, rich Native American history from over one thousand years ago, storied recent political history and riverside wildlife.
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.