“We are so grateful that you are doing this. It helps the kids grow in so many different ways and connects them with other people and places in our great outdoors!"
—Parent of MWS Horsepacking Expedition Student

Expedition Overview

Dates: July 31 – August 9, 2021
Age: 16–18 years old
Group size: max 8-10 students/2 instructors
Length: 10 days
Tuition: $3,000
This 10-day expedition emphasizes skills in backcountry horsepacking and camping in Montana, along with Leave No Trace Ethics, leadership and team building techniques.

(Please note that there is a weight limit of 250lbs for this expedition)
Packing List 
Apply Now

Expedition Highlights

  • Horsepacking in remote wilderness areas
  • Adventurous alpine experiences
  • Navigation, orienteering, and wilderness travel skills
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and ecosystems

Expedition Description

This expedition introduces students to the art of horsepacking and the long history of the relationship between humans and animals while traveling across some of the wildest places in Montana. Students will learn how to care for, manage, and treat animals with respect while forging a bond with their horse. They will also develop leadership and team-building techniques, and strengthen their connection to wild places. This is a physically challenging expedition and students should expect long days in the saddle. Along the way, students will learn and apply Leave No Trace® principles and communication skills, and gain a deep understanding of the ecology and human history of 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

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

Horsepacking Skills
  • Learn how to care for animals appropriately
  • Learn to properly pack and adjust a saddlebag for horsepacking
  • Become competent in horse travel in alpine environments
  • Travel off trail and discover unpopulated areas of the Montana wilderness
  • Develop essential skills for extended travel in the backcountry
apply Now
Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
Sign up to get updates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
job openings
None at this time, please check back in soon!