Yellowstone Backpacking


“I felt that I grew as a person, while also improving my backcountry skills. I am so grateful that I ended up on this trip.”
—Clara, Yellowstone Expedition student

Expedition Overview

Dates:  July 14-21, 2024
Age: 14-16
Group size: max 8 students/2 instructors
Length: 8 days
Tuition: $2,750
8-day adventure through remote area of the Montana wilderness, developing leadership, outdoor skills in navigation, camping, backcountry cooking and teamwork.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backpack in the mountains of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem
  • Navigation, orienteering, and wilderness travel skills
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Yellowstone Backpacking Adventure is an introductory backpacking course for 14 to 16 year olds. This 8-day adventure takes students into the beautiful backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, where they will have an opportunity to experience and learn about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem firsthand.  Course curriculum focuses on preparing students to safely navigate and enjoy backpacking in wild backcountry environments. They will learn core outdoor skills such as cooking, camping, and map and compass navigation from an experienced instructor team with area knowledge. Students will be challenged physically—at appropriate introductory levels—and will hike with moderately heavy packs in mountainous terrain, camping at some amazing backcountry sites along the way.

While on course, the team will engage in lessons about Leave No Trace® land stewardship principles, and will learn how to communicate effectively and work together to accomplish common goals. Each student will have an opportunity to lead the group as the Expedition Leader of the Day to gain experience with newly acquired leadership skills.  

For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression, check out Expedition Life. If you have additional questions, please check out our FAQ page or reach out to

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

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

  • Learn to properly pack and adjust a backpack
  • Become competent in backpacking in alpine environments
  • Travel off trail and discover unpopulated areas of the Montana wilderness
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Montana Wilderness School
PO Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771

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