Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.

  • Build core skills: Veterans receive hands-on training on expedition and personal skills. As part of an inclusive, supportive crew, they gain communication skills, establish trust and validate experiences among other veterans.
  • Practice Outward Bound values: Instructors focus on Outward Bound core values like compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and diversity to help veterans reflect, share insights and live in the present moment.
  • Process and Reflect: Journaling, one-on-one and group discussions help veterans understand how Outward Bound experiences might translate to coping skills back home.
  • What participants learn: Veterans return home inspired, ready to tap into rediscovered strengths and eager to find new ways to contribute to society.

Please note: Outward Bound expeditions for Veterans are designed for individuals (who do not already know each other) to come together to form an inclusive crew, work together to overcome adversity, and use the environment they’re in to learn as a team. If you have a group of 3 or more Veterans who already know each other, we have a different experience for that: please contact our National Admissions Office at 866-467-7651 to talk about custom group programs or fill out Custom Programs Form.

During this course, participants backpack in the Pisgah National forest of Western North Carolina. Participants learn risk management for backcountry foot travel, camp craft, how to navigate varied terrain, as well as how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important is time spent learning conflict resolution, communication styles, leadership and team building. After practicing these skills, instructors step back and let the crew work together to collectively navigate through the wilderness.

This course offers opportunities for veterans to:

  • Take a break from their busy lives
  • Challenge themselves in new ways
  • Develop skills that will assist them in re-adjusting to life at home
  • Candidly discuss obstacles faced by veterans and service members
  • Enjoy a unique and inspiring adventure surrounded by fellow veterans and service members in the beautiful country in which they served. 

After having backpacked for a few days, students spend a day either climbing up a rock face or rappelling down one. With a focus on safety, this course activity starts with the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. Depending on weather and group dynamics, the crew may even have the opportunity to experience a high ropes obstacle course. These activities push students to step outside their comfort zones and to communicate and trust one another. 

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

The Southern Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.

The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world. It is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls, and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians.

This course area is situated within a million acres of national forests, federally protected wilderness areas and other public lands. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.

Temperatures in this area range from 50-85 degrees in the summer, 30-65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10-50 degrees in the winter.

These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.