Adirondack Backpacking

Adirondack Park, New York

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On this course for adults, you’ll dive into learning leadership and outdoor skills as you backpack through the hills and lakes of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, one of the oldest protected lands in the U.S. Climb high rocky peaks and cross clear creeks. Learn about local ecology as you wander ancient hardwood forests decked out in their fall colors. Test your strength on a “46er,” one of the Adirondacks’ famous High Peaks. Cook your meals on a camp stove as you form new relationships with your peers, then fall asleep in your tent ready to take on the next day. Whether you’re new to camping or come to this course with years of experience, you’ll find plenty of challenges and opportunities to grow in the Adirondacks’ High Peaks region.On this course, leadership will be more than a discussion topic—you’ll practice it every day. Making a decision about where to camp teaches you about good judgement, while resolving an argument teaches you about communication. Using these experiences, you’ll gain an awareness of your own leadership style that transfers from the wilderness to whatever group you find yourself in. In the end, you’ll bring home leadership skills and experience, memories of a unique place you’ll treasure, and the ability to continue exploring on your own backpacking trips.


Duration: 9 Days
Starts in: Gabriels, New York
Ends in: Gabriels, New York
Group Size: 8-15
Difficulty: 3/5

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The leader in wilderness education since 1965. Learn more at

Additional Information

NOLS Prime: 

NOLS Prime Expeditions are immersive 1- to 3- week wilderness experiences designed exclusively for adults 23 and over. Our mission is to be educators, not guides. This means while learning how to climb, sail, backpack and more, you’re getting experience making decisions and mentorship from your instructors on managing risk with your group—with the goal that when your course is done you are ready to lead friends and family on your own wilderness trips! Vacations are great for a week or two away but wouldn’t you rather go beyond?

NOLS Northeast:

At NOLS Northeast, you’ll explore the heart of upstate New York’s Adirondack Park, one of the oldest and largest designated wilderness areas in the U.S. Here, only a few hours from several major cities, you’ll find access to world-class paddling, hiking, and rock-climbing opportunities. Whether you’ve slept in a tent before or not, you’ll probably camp on your first night at our campus, a great opportunity to test out your gear before heading into the backcountry. In the field, you might summit peaks like Dix Mountain, hiking up steep, rocky mountain trails till you reach the panoramic views and cool breezes at the top. Or you might canoe along ancient waterways that were once trade routes for the Iroquois, Algonquin, and other indigenous peoples. On some courses, you’ll participate in a service project, spending a day performing trail maintenance with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). For many students and instructors, the Adirondacks are the first place they explored and experienced the wilderness: a place they’ll always remember and return to.

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