"My overall experience was amazing. There were some rough times, but this experience changed my life and I think it will continue to impact me for a very long time, hopefully forever.”
– Ayana, 2017 Missouri River Adventure student

Expedition Overview

Dates: June 15 – June 29, 2018
Age: 14 - 16 years old
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 15 days
Tuition: $3,075
15 days paddling canoes and exploring riverside canyons and plateaus by foot
Questions? Send us an email.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Hiking in the remote Missouri River Breaks
  • Canoeing the Wild and Scenic Missouri River
  • Paddle through the stunning White Cliffs of the Missouri
  • Explore the iconic Hole-in-the-Wall
  • Visit historic sites along the river corridor
  • Backcountry service project
  • Abundant wildlife

Expedition Description

The Missouri River Adventure provides multiple forms of adventure and opportunities to develop technical skills and personal growth. During this 15-day expedition, students will gain new communication and decision-making skills while traveling as a group through remote sections of northcentral Montana. They will develop canoeing, backpacking and wilderness travel proficiency, while learning about conservation efforts on the great northern plains surrounding the river corridor. This expedition is buoyed in history as students travel to historical Blackfeet, Gros Ventre and Assiniboine camp sites and follow in the paddle stokes of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. Students will be immersed in a powerful natural classroom and will participate in engaging lessons ranging from place-based ecology and history to the current land use issues in northcentral Montana. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life.

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Teamwork and communication skills

  • Learn positive communication skills with diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop an expedition philosophy, apply it to the course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision making

  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic

  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the conveyance of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition

Service project

  • Work with public land managers or local conservation groups to accomplish projects that improve or protect wildlife habitat or ecosystems

Backcountry camping and navigation skills

  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat
  • Use various navigation and route-finding tools and methods for on and off trail travel
  • Travel efficiently in the alpine environment using map and compass skills

Technical Skills

Canoe paddling skills
  • Packing and securing equipment in a canoe for multiple weeks of travel
  • Canoe control and paddling stokes
  • Reading water and understanding large river hydrology
  • Endurance techniques for long distance paddling
  • Canoe rescue and capsize drill experience

Missouri river specific curriculum

  • Discuss the indigenous people who call the Missouri River corridor home and reflect on their historical and cultural contribution to the region
  • Study the journals of Lewis and Clark and identify and articulate the Corps of Discovery’s historical significance
  • Learn about conservation efforts on the Great Plains and the controversy surrounding the reintroduction of Bison
  • Identify the different types of land managers (private/public/tribal) and how that shapes land use in the Great Plains.
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Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
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