• United States of America
2 - 12 weeks

Program Details

Backpacking Camping
Year Round
Boat Host Family Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.


Starting Price
Price Details
The total cost includes all tuition and fees for the course. This covers your food, technical gear, and equipment while on course. Not included in this total cost are personal expenses such as clothing, insurance, and airfare.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Meals Park Fees
What's Not Included
Airfare Wifi
Jun 08, 2023
Feb 26, 2024
12 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Travel with your crew through remote, rugged settings and broaden your worldview while building your confidence, leadership, and communication skills. These accredited expeditions are designed for those seeking a challenging and formative experience through an unforgettable adventure.

Our Semester courses are tough. And worth every blister and bug bite because you’re tough, too. You’ll discover that as you explore awesome backcountry, forge lifelong connections with your crew, and gain hands-on leadership training that will continue to serve you long after you return home.

An Outward Bound Semester offers lessons that will enrich and expand the way you see yourself, the world, and what’s possible. And with itineraries that span the globe, these expeditions are far more than stamps in a passport; they are life-affirming learning opportunities. 

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Gain real-world experience, earn college credit and learn alongside the best Instructors in the industry.
  • Backpack, climb, canoe, kayak, raft and sail in some of the most iconic backcountry areas in the United States.
  • Our courses prepare students for future success, whether that's in college, a career, or working in the outdoor education industry.
  • You'll travel as a group in remote, rugged settings that will broaden your view of the world.
  • The Outward Bound Semester & Gap year program won the Top Gap Year Provider in Safety in 2018.

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Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.9
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.75
  • Value 5
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Voyager Outward Bound School Winter Leadership Semester 2022

This gap year program changed my life. Outward Bound provides challenge and growth through experimental education which resonated with my learning style and allowed me to gain self confidence, purpose, integrity, the ability to work well in a team and with others, it gave me the tools to communicate assertively, and helped develop my leadership skills. I would recommend this program to any person going through college and feeling lost or looking for change in their life. It is rigorous and challenging, but you are set up for success by instructors and program staff to overcome any obstacle you face.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We mushed for 16 days in a row, living and sleeping in the woods and on the lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which was one of the most amazing experiences i've had in my life. During that time we cooked over massive fires, cared for ourselves as well as 11 sled dogs, had a 3 day solo experience, and traveled almost every single day.
  • Unique opportunity
  • Life changing
  • Learn wilderness skills
  • Very little free time
  • Wouldn't take up a full gap year
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The best experience known to man

Outward bout dog sledding is the most humbling experience you can do with your life. The outward bound experience really shows you how much you can push through and do things by your self and with others. The experience you make are the best and I would not change then for anything. I'd you are on the fence about going or sending your child I will say it will be one of the best things in there life and when I have kids I plan to have my kids do the outward bound courses if they are still running.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to not worry about anything back home and enjoy the moment. Things will get hard and you will break down but the staff will keep you from falling down so trust them and push through all obstacles. Also have an open mind and e joy your time and make new friends
  • Perseverance
  • Being with the sled dogs and taking care of them
  • Making new friends
  • There are no cons to the outward bound experience
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester Ever

My experience with Outward Bound was super unique because it was the 1st year that Pacific offered this type of applied outdoor leadership pathway. It was quite interesting being the 1st group of students able to do something like camp outside for 70 days doing some of the coolest outdoor recreating possible. This trip was my first time really being exposed to all of the activities we did besides just regular backpacking, and the instructors' incredible scope of knowledge, skills, and compassion made me feel very empowered to take on new risks and learn new things about myself. I now have an incredibly solid foundation of outdoor recreation/guiding skills to build upon thanks to all my wonderful instructors.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I'd say one of the most suprising things we did was completing a 140ft free hanging rappel during the mountain section of the trip. Totally epic experience and in such a cool environment as well in the north cascades. Another thing we did a lot though which I throughly enjoyed was stopping at various native museums during our river section. It made me further respect and appreciate the lands where we were recreating in as well as those who've called it home for much longer than anyone else.
  • Increased appreciated of the outdoors and the native people's who inhabit the land in which we recreate on
  • You receive an incredible array of foundational technical/interpersonal skills for moving through the backcountry efficiently
  • Fostering of group leadership skills and expedition behavior
25 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

VOBS Leadership Semester - Best Decision Of My Life!

My experience with Outward Bound was (and continues to be) nothing short of life-changing. The instructors balanced fun, interpersonal connection, and structure with the inherent learning that stems from an intense expedition, all while acting as wonderful mentors during a transitional time in my life. Through the experience, my physical and emotional resilience grew immensely, I found a newfound comfort in vulnerability, and I began to see challenge less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity to grow. I attended during the winter, so I got to experience the magic of dogsledding in Minnesota. It is nearly impossible to express just how incredible it feels to bond with a team of dogs as you make your way across the BWCA. The semester was unforgettable, but the dogsledding portion holds a special place in my heart. Going on leadership semester was one of the most difficult yet formative experiences of my life, and I'd do it all over again without a second thought.

On top of the immense personal growth that the course fostered, VOBS also encouraged me to bring my personal DSLR camera, which introduced me to backcountry photography. It gave me the opportunity to navigate various harsh environments with fragile pieces of equipment and helped me develop skills that I am now applying toward a career in film. This is NOT a photography-oriented program, but it's worth mentioning as I thoroughly enjoyed that element of the semester.

  • Personal Growth
  • Communication
  • Leadership
54 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision I have Ever Made!

I would not be the person I am today if I had not chosen to go on Outward Bound. My trip was sailing on the Maine coastline, and it was incredible. I overcame my fear of heights and was able to rock climb. One of my favorite parts of the program was solo, because I got to write and reflect on who I was becoming and how I had to evolve. A great tip for solo was definitely to to ration your food, because it’s easy to eat it all in one go and be starving for the rest of the time. I split the bagel up and ate the chocolate first so it wouldn’t melt all over my other food. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for Outward bound, and although I was homesick at the time, the experience gave me a whole new perspective on nature and how we can live within it rather than beside it.

98 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Voyage Out

My time with Outward Bound was invaluable. In the two weeks I spent sailing, I learned lessons I still carry with me today. Of all I learned, the most valuable knowledge was that even though we are small in this vast world, we all have the ability to impact our environments for better or worse. This was also my first time exploring the world on my own. Which led to a passion for travel and study abroad.

115 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision of My Life

My HIOBS Gap semester was truly one of the best experiences of my life. As a student at Northwestern University, I was looking for an opportunity to break from my rigorous academic schedule and seek out new, exciting experiences. Through Outward Bound, I made lifelong friends and learned just how far I could push myself. Returning to school after the trip, I possessed a completely new perspective on the opportunities in front of me! My favorite part of the trip was its emphasis on helping participants learn to live in the present. Being without a phone/laptop for several months was an incredibly refreshing experience and changed the way I interact with technology today.

98 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I Can't Speak Highly Enough of Outward Bound

I spent 72 days with a small group of peers and instructors sailing around coastal Maine, rock climbing, backpacking, doing service projects, and taking a wilderness first responder course. I was challenged physically, emotionally, and socially in important ways which aided my personal growth and development throughout course, and especially after it ended. Two years after the course I studied my group for my senior thesis in college and found that it positively impacted participants by increasing open-mindedness, appreciation for the outdoors, motivation, improving relationships, and teaching independence, confidence, and leadership skills. I have participated on several other shorter Outward Bound programs and I would recommend them to anyone in a heartbeat. What you are willing to contribute to the experience and to the group, determines what you will get out of it. Be open to learn, grow, and have fun and Outward Bound will not disappoint.

104 people found this review helpful.

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