• United States of America
4 - 12 weeks

Program Details

Backpacking Hiking Rafting
Fall Spring
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Tour Guide Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Equipment Travel Insurance
Aug 10, 2020
Nov 04, 2020
3 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Backpack pristine alpine forests and meadows in the Rocky Mountains, learning how to pitch a tent, navigating on and off a trail and cooking health food on a camp stove. Raft Cataract Canyon through Canyonlands, enjoying thrilling rapids and stunning red rock-walled canyons and learning about the history of western rivers, the peoples that call the area home, and the water issues surrounding the arid west. Along the way engage in leadership and sense-of-place studies. Learn real-world skills for cultivating positive personal habits, leading peers, and gaining a deeper understanding of the intersection of the natural world and human influence.

In a final, culminating backcountry trip, refine your leadership and navigation skills and chart your own path through Utah’s canyon country, with the support of experienced instructors. Learn about geology, history, human impact, and American Indian culture as you begin to teach one another and gain greater independence.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Learn how to comfortably backpack and navigate in the mountains and canyons
  • Raft Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River
  • Immersive leadership curriculum
  • Learn from local experts and instructors about western watersheds, wilderness ethics, and sense-of-place
  • Earn Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and Leave No Trace (LNT) certifications

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Program Reviews

10 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
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  • Housing 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Early Fall Backpacking and Hiking 2020

I had an amazing experience with DownWest Semesters. Alec & Howie (the founders) put so much love and thought into the program and sent us to some of the most beautiful places in their respective states. They combine the kind of backpacking that you would find on a NOLS or Outward Bound course with readings that give you an appreciation and intellectual understanding of the places you travel (e.g. Wildfire season in the mountain west, controversies about filling Lake Powell, local Native American tribes...). We got to explore very remote and beautiful places but our instructors and Alex & Howie always made sure we were as comfortable as possible (like bringing our favorite foods in the food re-ration period and making sure everyone had warm enough gear). Couldn't recommend it enough!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It was so wonderful to step away from all the chaos of the world and be without our phones in such beautiful places. I would really embrace focusing on your relationships within the program and being ready to leave everything else behind for the 6 weeks of your trip. And keep a journal!
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

DownWest Semesters Early Fall Trip

I had a really great experience with DownWest Semesters. Alec and Howie, the founders, were very helpful in helping me prepare for the trip and supported me throughout my trip. The trip was very well planned out and was executed flawlessly. The instructors Emily, Hilary, and Adam were all fantastic and were a great addition to the trip. I think I grew a lot as a person on this trip, and really enjoyed my time. I highly recommend this trip to anyone considering it, and I promise you will have a great experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Prepare to step back from your phone for a few weeks and take advantage of the people around you and what you're doing. It's really amazing to be able to put your responsibilities and life at home on hold and live in the moment.
13 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers