NOLS Semester in Alaska

Video and Photos

Sea Kayaking - Prince William Sound
Mt. Blackburn, Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Summer in Alaska
Summer in Alaska
Tanada Lake


Your semester in Alaska includes everything from forested coastlines to the snow and ice of the high mountain peaks to the tundra and rivers in between. In the long days of the northern summer, you'll have plenty of time to learn about and travel through wild Alaska.

Hiking takes you to the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers and its greatest collection of peaks over 16,000 feet in elevation.

The mountaineering section travels even further into this area and is an ideal training ground for learning to live and climb on snow and ice.

Finally, you will spend over three weeks sea kayaking in Prince William Sound. Amid all this activity, you can also expect an extensive environmental studies curriculum, giving you a unique perspective on some of the world's most stunning wilderness.

After honing skills and leadership for 75 days at NOLS Alaska, you can be confident traveling in a variety of wilderness settings.

  • Wildlife you may see: caribou, moose, Dall sheep, wolverines, black and brown bears, and wolves
  • Course sections: sea kayaking, backpacking, and mountaineering
  • Average group size: 12 students / 3 instructors

Related Programs

Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Living with the same 11 peers for seventy days forced me to clearly state my expectations. NOLS is a great place to fail. After growing up in Alaska, I have not felt as safe in the Alaskan wilderness as when I was with my NOLS instructors. This trust allowed me to reach for my comfort zone in terms of physical and emotional demands. With whom else can you loose your way in the Alaskan wilderness and have very little consequence? NOLS changed the way I live.

What would you improve about this program?
More readings. More lessons on what to do when things go wrong.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

My semester in Alaska in 2013 was most likly the highlight of my life thus far. It changed me inside and out, and was a catlyst to many changes in my life. I would strongly encourage anyone even remotely considering it (and those who aren't yet) to do it. I could not have asked for anything better.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience

My experience was amazing. waking up early and moving all day is the best. Every day is eventful and new. A semester in a tent was the coolest experience ive ever had. The meals were great and included a wide variety of options.

What would you improve about this program?
The bear protocol was really strict, this kinda took away from the ability to have self reflection time.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Leading a Rope Team for the First Time

During my NOLS Semester in Alaska, I was given the chance to lead a rope team over glacier travel. It was one of the most incredible experiences and will stick with me forever. The instructors were all great and very motivating. They pushed you to your maximum ability and taught you so much about the outdoors.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that my NOLS semester was one of the best experiences of my life. That being said I think that NOLS Alaska could improve by letting the students know what section they are going to start with before they arrive on the NOLS grounds.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

MEGA semester in Alaska

The semester I spent in Alaska was the best decision I have ever made. With a group of 11 students and 3 instructors, we spent 23 days sea kayaking then 48 days backpacking and mountaineering. Though some days were long and taxing, the experience was one I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. Some highlights included river crossings, getting food drops via bush plane, summiting mountains, ice climbing, repelling into crevasses, kayaking with whales, and meeting unbelievably cool people -- this program is the best and I highly recommend it.


Staff Interviews

About NOLS

NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that will help you step forward boldly as a leader. We believe that anyone can be a leader; it's our role to provide the environment and training to help you discover your full potential. We do that in...