Embark on a 55-day journey through the mountains, canyons, deserts and rivers of one of the most beautiful and geologically stunning landscapes in the world on this leadership and outdoor skills focused Semester course.
Develop outdoor skills. Enhance your leadership and communication abilities. Strive to increase your knowledge of the environment – all while learning wilderness travel techniques in a variety of natural Utah environments. The ultimate goal of the Semester is to develop the confidence, knowledge and integrity essential for effective leadership. Whether you are learning how to safely tie in on belay, deciding as a group how to navigate through new terrain, or setting up a minimum-impact campsite for the evening, you’ll be reinforcing, honing and practicing skills for life.
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Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
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!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. 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.
Wilderness First Aid Class
Rafting Cataract Canyon, day hikes
Transfer to the canyons: technical canyoneering, slot canyons, day hikes, Solo, canyon backpacking
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.
Develop outdoor skills. Enhance your leadership and communication abilities. Strive to increase your knowledge of the environment – all while learning wilderness travel techniques in a variety of stunning environments. The ultimate goal of our Gap Year expeditions is to help you develop the confidence, knowledge, and integrity essential for effective leadership. Whether you are learning how to safely tie in on belay, deciding as a group how to navigate through new terrain, or setting up a minimum-impact campsite for the evening, you’ll be honing and practicing skills for life.
Build skills, form connections: Amidst rugged natural landscapes, learn to lead and to follow; to give and receive feedback; and to trust in your own capabilities as you expand your technical and personal knowledge base. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, exercise your independence as you gain life experience and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and supporting your crew as you tackle obstacles together, big and small.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills and a better understanding of the natural world around you, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as independent individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Examine your personal values and discover more about your true self. Hone your technical abilities as you become a master at ropes courses or swiftwater rescue techniques and Wilderness First Aid. Numerous certificates are available depending on the course, and up to 18 credit hours can be earned along the way.
Exploring new environments and building new connections will put your tenacity to the test. You’ll return with broader understanding of the natural world around you, deeper appreciation for small kindnesses and greater confidence in yourself and others that will serve you well long after you return.
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.
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. Students 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 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, pictographs and strange but remarkable geological formations.
A little more than a week of this course is spent on the river working towards mastering 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. 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 petroglyphs and jaw-dropping geological formations.
Canyoneering is like running the most exciting adventure course imaginable. Each obstacle occurs naturally - made by the power of water coursing across the desert, making its way to the river. A combination of climbing, scrambling, rappelling, hiking and even swimming may be involved in getting through this unreal 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 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 will experience technical canyoneering, slot canyons, day hikes and canyon backpacking.
Backpackers carry everything they need - food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Students feel a sense of freedom from deadlines and task lists 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, play games 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 mesas, camp in red rock canyons and stop along the way to explore microclimates and desert ecosystems. Students spend time in an incredible area, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
Students spend three days in the Moab, UT area, learning about wilderness medicine and have the opportunity to gain a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification, which is considered a standard for many entry-level jobs in the Outdoor Industry.
Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. 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 can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more, depending on course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. 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. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, students are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout the. 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 an Outward Bound experience.
Whether 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, students learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to the course activity. Students get to know fellow crew mates surprisingly well as they share this immersive and intense experience.
On longer courses, Instructors progressively hand over more of the decision making and leadership of the expedition to the crew, allowing each person to test the new technical and interpersonal skills they have learned. Through the dynamics of an evolving group setting, students have more freedom to investigate who they are and how they want to develop personally. All along the way, students will experience a wide variety of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the U.S. and the world.
Course areas may vary and will include some, but not all of the locations listed below:
Canyon Country, Utah (Robbers Roost, San Rafael Swell, Moqui Canyon)
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 Canyonlands of Southern Utah are stunning, mysterious and wild. Archeological sites and rock art from the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Native Americans who roamed these lands over 800 years ago still abound in the canyons. 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 Canyon Backpacking courses. Canyoneering courses also venture into narrower, deeper chasms two feet wide with walls several hundred feet on each side. These sandstone slot canyons are a geological playground for scrambling, teamwork and rappelling. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Southern Paiute, and Pueblo nations.
San Juan River, Utah
The San Juan River in southern Utah is a major tributary of the Colorado River, flowing 83 miles through the deeply incised sandstone slick rock country of the Colorado Plateau in many tight bends. The San Juan is world-renowned for archaeological sites of the Fremont and Anasazi featuring both petroglyphs and spacious cliff dwellings, accessible on side hikes from the river. The San Juan River is also well known for its exquisite natural scenery as students soon find out once deep within the towering canyon walls. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné, Pueblos, and Hopi
Desolation/Gray/Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River, Utah
Surrounded by the Tavaputs Plateau and bordered by the Uinta and Ouray Reservation on the east, the journey on the Green River begins in Desolation Canyon near Sand Wash. Throughout the canyon, there are spectacular rock formations, ancient Native American archaeological sites and abandoned ranches including McPherson Ranch, once frequented by Butch Cassidy's “Wild Bunch.” The tiered rock walls of Desolation give way to the earthy bluffs of Gray Canyon, creating a striking contrast that characterizes the next 25 miles of the journey.
On longer rafting courses you may continue your journey down the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon, where the river dives deep into the pink sandstone of the Navajo Formation which characterizes southeastern Utah and the Canyonlands area with narrow winding side canyons, orange Wingate cliffs, pinnacles and ledges.These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Southern Paiute, Diné, Pueblos, and Hopi nations.
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.These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nation.
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 archaeological sites 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.” These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) and Pueblo 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.