River Navigation, Service, Whitewater Canoeing, Rock Climbing
Basic First Aid
Basic Paddle Strokes
Belaying a Climber
Food Preparation and Cooking
Map and Compass
Safety and Risk Management
Positive Risk Taking
Sense of Social Connection
Take on new adventures and renew your spirit traveling over mountains, lakes and rivers in the unforgettable wild places of Maine.
Learn to camp and travel simply, relying on your group and what they can carry on their backs as you canoe and backpack across the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian mountain range, the Rangeley Lakes and/or the Moosehead region of Maine’s Northwoods. This classic New England journey is an opportunity for those seeking a new challenge in a unique wilderness environment and an intense team setting. Instructors will introduce you to beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite choices away from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine of work and life at home. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress and ensure leadership and responsibilities are shared so every crew member is integral to planning the next day. Through living and working closely together, your group will practice more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned and strengthened through this backpacking and canoeing expedition will serve you for life, and for whatever challenge is next.
NOTE: This course requires that students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For additional details please see this page or call us at 855-802-0307.
This course is closed for the season. 2023 courses coming soon.
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.
ENROLLMENT CLOSED 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.
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Build skills, form connections: Meet like-minded peers and make connections as you work through priorities and adventures together, learn outdoor skills at the hands of expert Instructors, and earn every good night’s sleep.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Re-discover your inner strength, renew your natural leadership abilities and practice adapting to new environments. Tap in to your trust and compassion as you tackle obstacles with a support crew standing beside you.
Demonstrate mastery: As you awaken your wilderness skills and dig deep to rise to the physical and mental challenges, the bulk of the expedition’s leadership and decision-making responsibilities transfer from the Instructor to the crew. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both individually and together.
What you’ll learn: Watch, try and share more difficult outdoor skills that you’ll master on your expedition. Discover and then remind yourself that there’s more in you than you know. Having taken the risks, learned from and adapted to all sorts of new situations and environments, you’re ready for whatever life hands you going forward.
For adult renewal students, 30 +: By allowing yourself to focus beyond daily responsibilities and obligations, you’ll master more difficult skills and open up new directions and opportunities you never thought possible. You’ll find clarity in the life changes you’re facing, you’ll uncover inspiration in the wilderness and you’ll renew your sense of adventure to take on the next challenge in front of you.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness abilities, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are jagged and densely wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths, navigating on and off trail throughout the journey. From atop the mountain peaks, if the weather cooperates, the group’s hard work is rewarded with spectacular views. Living and traveling with just a backpack is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences. To live well in the wilderness, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking turns fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of un-runnable rapids). In learning to work, communicate and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of truly working together.
of Hannah Baker
Among the mountains of Maine are rocky crags that offer beginning, intermediate and challenging rock climbing. After learning to use climbing equipment, tie knots and belay each other, students test their balance, control and mental strength on the vertical rock faces nearby. In addition to stretching the limits of what they think they’re capable of, climbing hones their coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Depending upon the expedition route, technical rope activities may include a “via ferrate” or “Tyrolean traverse.” Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb.
Personal Challenge Event
Outward Bound courses end with a Personal Challenge Event – an individual final physical push. These events might take the form of a timed run, swim, rowing event or it may be a combination of these. This event is a chance for students to finish their Outward Bound experience with a true personal challenge – where the decisions and efforts of each individual gives immediate feedback – in contrast to the weeks spent operating within an expedition team, where each choice impacts other team members. This is not a competitive event, but rather a chance to see how far each person has come during their time with Outward Bound.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government or social service agencies. While in the wilderness, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the expedition.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on the Outward Bound experience. With the basics of food and equipment, and with safety a top priority, students will take some time away from the group to be alone at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of the course. Often located along beautiful lake shorelines or peaceful rivers, Solo sites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, or just thinking and resting as they process lessons learned and focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. On courses longer than three weeks, Solo is up to 72 hours long.
Most adults find it hard to get away, with busy lives that are often filled with pressures and expectations. Outward Bound’s one-week adult courses are the perfect opportunity to get a fresh perspective, step out of daily routines, find new challenges, discover new strengths and forge new friendships. No previous experience is necessary—all wilderness skills are taught from the beginning. Only two things are needed: being physically fit and motivated to live, learn and work in a team. The expedition may only last a week, but the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Canoeing and backcountry techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at work, home and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students to:
Remain engaged and present, giving every challenge the best effort, even when the goal seems beyond reach.
Form a team and focus on the team effort. Planning and organizing each day requires attentiveness to individual and group goals, and to details large and small.
Share responsibilities, communicate and lead. In addition to the challenges of moving through remote wilderness areas, living together requires commitment to the support of crewmates and community as a whole. Leadership roles are shared within the group, and responsibilities rotate each day.
Discover reserves of tenacity and compassion. Outward Bound courses are designed to expand and stretch your limits so that every expedition is a true accomplishment and a memorable journey.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin, Penobscot, Kennebec and Allagash watersheds are fed by Moosehead Lake and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used these waterways as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. The great rivers of Maine were used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fishermen and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to camping
Begin backpacking expedition
Final expedition, return to basecamp
Personal Challenge Event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
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.