Superior Hiking Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing for Boys

Superior Hiking Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing for Boys

Have fun, work hard, and discover the leader within.

This is an introductory experience in backpacking and climbing. Students carry all of the basic necessities for life on the trail packed on their backs.

As student groups hike and rock climb alongside Lake Superior, they will discover their personal strengths and leadership skills as they dig deep to make it up to the top of the vista overlooking Lake Superior.

Throughout this expedition students participate in activities resulting in opportunities for leadership, collaboration, self-reliance, and compassion, which will create a successful expedition!

Students will gain technical skills in wilderness travel such as backpacking techniques, fire building, navigation, and Leave No Trace® ethics as well as soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, and collaboration. Both technical and soft wilderness skills are an essential part of expedition travel.

Our founder Kurt Hahn often shared that we teach “through” the wilderness rather than “for” the wilderness, resulting in students gaining skills that are important for today and that will last a lifetime.

Course Area

Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
On the southern edge of the massive Canadian Shield (a granite rock formation that runs from Minnesota all the way to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories) sits the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior.

Along the crest of the low mountains that border Superior’s rugged north shore sits the Superior Hiking Trail.

Students will backpack and camp along the trail throughout the course surrounded by majestic state and national forests.

Near the southern terminus of the trail, the topography reaches its most dramatic at a peninsula called Shovel Point. Vertical granite cliffs that rise 100 feet straight out of the lake provide an incredible backdrop for students while they learn to rock climb as the culmination of the expedition.

The trail will travel over peaks with great views of the lake and down into the valleys through areas where students will discover beaver dams, young forests, and rivers that pour into massive Lake Superior.

Classic Courses
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.

  • Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
  • Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
  • Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
  • What you’ll learn: Return home a stronger, more resilient individual. Discover increased self-confidence, improved leadership, and a desire to make a difference.

Listed below are a few of the activities:


Students will spend four to six days backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail, which is located in the densely wooded hills of the Sawtooth Mountains overlooking Lake Superior.

Students hike anywhere from 3 to 10 miles a day, depending on terrain. Groups tend to camp near pristine rivers and lakes each evening to resupply with fresh water.

The 296-mile trail includes open forest hiking, wide-open views from ridge tops, and exquisite canyon trails tracing rivers that plummet to the lake. With a pack on their back, students and their groups work together on everything from map reading, to cooking, and to setting up camp each night.

Rock Climbing

Students have the opportunity to climb at a stunning, outdoor rock climbing site that overlooks Lake Superior.

The Shovel Point rock-climbing site provides a number of different route options including cracks, sheer faces, and chimneys. Regardless of a student’s rock climbing background, they are sure to find something that will both challenge and encourage them to expand their comfort zone.

Students learn about rock-climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying techniques, and climbing rescue techniques. Encouraged and supported by their group, students push their perceived limits and expand their comfort zones in a non-competitive environment.


Weather and time permitting, a two to four hour Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience.

Many students use this reflection time to journal, or write letters to friends and family. While students spend the majority of their Solo time alone, Instructors do check on each student as often as needed, to ensure that each student feels safe and comfortable.

Instructors choose Solo sites to offer as much solitude as possible while retaining some proximity to the group.

Students find that Solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.

Please submit the Course Inquiry form or call (828) 239-2376 to discuss if this course is right for you.

Visit the Voyageur Outward Bound School frequently asked questions page to learn more about the application process, scholarships, what to expect, how to pack and where your course begins.

Upon enrollment on a Voyageur Outward Bound School course students receive a day-by-day course itinerary, detailed packing list, and detailed arrival and departure information specific to their course.

Scholarship Info

Our Scholarship Program is guided by a single principle: Every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn leadership skills and service ethics, regardless of financial ability.

Moreover, we bring together diverse groups of students to instill cultural understanding and teamwork skills that enable them to become principled leaders.

Thanks to generous donations from alumni, parents, corporations, foundations, and others, Outward Bound awards up to $3.7 million in scholarships to 6,000 students each year.

The Voyageur Outward Bound School scholarship program is need-based and in order to be considered, applicants must first enroll on a course, pay a $500 deposit and check a box noting that they are interested in a Scholarship. The deposit payment is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 enrollment processing fee (usually non-refundable). After the applicant enrolls, a Course Advisor will send them a Scholarship Application along with the other enrollment materials. The applicant is required to submit a copy of their most recent 1040 tax return along with the completed Scholarship Application. The average scholarship is 15-30% off of the posted fee. If the applicant receives an Outward Bound scholarship but it’s not enough for them to participate, Outward Bound will refund their $500 deposit, including the $150 enrollment processing fee.

In some cases, applicants can schedule a payment plan with the Voyageur Outward Bound School rather than paying for the whole course in one lump sum. In cases of payment plans, final balances are due at least 90 days prior to the course-start.

Packing for a Voyageur Outward Bound School course

In general, Outward Bound provides sleeping bags, sleeping mats, rain gear, and all group cooking, camping and traveling equipment. Students need to provide their own clothing, footwear, toiletries and a few other items, like a headlamp and water bottle.

Traveling to and from the Voyageur Outward Bound School

MN Courses:  In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students meet in the Duluth International Airport baggage claim at 1:00 PM on the first day of the course. Students typically return to the Duluth International Airport around 11:30 AM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 1:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.

TX Courses:  In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students arrive in El Paso, TX the day before their course officially begins.  Students spend the night in a local hotel (not included in course-cost) as directed by their Course Advisor. Students typically return to the El Paso International Airport around 1:00 PM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 2:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.

Explicit travel directions will be shared with you after you enroll on a course.  Students should refrain from making travel plans prior to being approved for their course and receiving travel details for their specific course as the exact details may differ slightly from the directions listed above.

Airlines Unaccompanied Minor service Fees

Please Note: Virtually all airlines, except United and Southwest, require that travelers age 14 or younger flying without a companion over the age of 18 pay for their Unaccompanied Minor service. This fee ranges anywhere from $40 to $75 each way. In most cases, the Unaccompanied Minor service is OPTIONAL for travelers between the ages of 15-17.
Please submit the Course Inquiry form or call (828) 239-2376 to discuss if this course is right for you.

Dates Days Age Tuition Course #
6/25/16 – 7/1/16 7 12-13 $1735 VTME-621

Spots fill quickly! Reserve a spot and speak with a Course Advisor.

Superior Hiking Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing for Boys

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