“It helped me realize my strength mentally and physically.”
— Anna, Missouri River Adventure student

Expedition Overview

Dates: June 11-22, 2023
Age: Entering grades 11 - Graduating Seniors
Group size: max 8-10 students/2 instructors
Length: 12 days
Tuition: $3,300
12 days paddling canoes and exploring riverside canyons and plateaus by foot
Questions? Send us an email.

MWS Essential Eligibility Criteria
Packing List 
apply Now

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
  • Abundant wildlife

Expedition Description

This is a new MWS course offering for 2023!
This season, we’ll be offering an expedition in the stunning Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument for older students - those entering grades 11 - Graduating Seniors. Students will travel through historical lands of the Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, and Assiniboine peoples for 12 days, navigating over 100 miles of wild and scenic river made famous by the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery in 1805. The course area is rich in both human and geological history, and students will have the opportunity to camp and come together to cook meals at riverside sites that have been used for hundreds of years.

In addition to learning about expedition canoeing, river safety and rescue techniques, students will spend time exploring their own personal leadership styles and practice making travel and community decisions as a group. A team of experienced instructors will engage the student group in discussions about Native History, local ecology, and current land & conservation issues in Montana. Team members will be challenged to think critically, work across differences to solve problems, and grow as collaborative leaders. In tandem with this curriculum, students will have plenty of time to simply be in a wild place, and to develop personal connections with the natural world around them. Each student will have multiple opportunities to lead the group as the Expedition Leader of the Day to gain experience with newly acquired leadership skills. By the end of the course, the student group will take on most of the expedition leadership with consistent instructor support - valuable experience for planning their own wild adventures in the future!

Other course curricula will include: map and compass navigation, cooking &eating well in the backcountry, Leave No Trace® land stewardship principles, and advanced campcraft. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression, check out 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

Canoe Paddling Skills
  • Packing and securing equipment in a canoe
  • Canoe control and padding stokes
  • Reading water and understanding large river hydrology
  • Endurance techniques for long distance paddling
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of the ‘stern paddler’ and ‘bow paddler'
apply Now
Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771

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