Superior Hiking Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing

Superior Hiking Trail Backpacking & Rock Climbing

This course is ideal for teens looking to explore with confidence.

Located within the Sawtooth Mountain Range, adjacent to the world’s largest body of freshwater, Lake Superior, is an adventure you will never forget.

This expedition will take participants through dense boreal forests, featuring pristine mountain lakes, stunning waterfalls, and climactic mountain top vistas.

The sunrise over Lake Superior will greet participants each morning and evenings will be spent cooking and eating food around the fire.

Students will learn technical skills in safe wilderness travel including backpacking techniques, navigation, water purification, campsite selection, fire building, and Leave No Trace® ethics.

In parallel with technical aspects of course, students will participate in activities that teach character development skills, and the expedition will provide ample opportunities to practice them.

Towards the end of the expedition, students will participate in a solo experience, which provides an opportunity to rest and reflect on the skills they have learned.

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:


This expedition hits the ground running, as students start hiking on day one, spending eight to nine days in the Sawtooth Mountains.

Equipped with everything they need, students hike 3 to 10 miles a day, depending on terrain, and tend to camp near pristine rivers, remote lakes, and babbling brooks.

A participants backpack transforms from a heavy object to an organized system that provides the freedom to trek unassisted from the outside world.

Individual students will be forged into an expedition crew, as they work towards mastering skills including wilderness travel, leadership, teamwork, and grit.

As the expedition progresses, and student’s skills increase, they will have the opportunity to take more ownership over course including group leadership, route selection, navigation, and campsite location.

This intentional progression provides the crew with the opportunity to support each other as they decide where this adventure will take them.

Rock Climbing and Rappelling

Rock climbing combines control, strength, and cunning as students ascend natural rock formations at Carlton Peak & Shovel Point. Each climbing site provides a variety of routes including cracks, sheer faces, and chimneys, which provide the appropriate amount of challenge regardless of past experience. Students will receive instruction in rock-climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying, climbing techniques, and rappelling.

Climbing is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one, requiring students to stretch their comfort zone and believe in themselves.

Encouraged and supported by their group, in a non-competitive environment, students push past their perceived limits as they work towards the top of the climb.

The stunning views from the top provide a visual reminder of the perceived barriers students overcame through the experience.

Weather and time permitting students have the opportunity to climb at the beginning and end of this expedition. Having multiple climbing opportunities allows students to work towards mastery.


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 #
7/7/16 – 7/16/16 10 14-16 $2250 VTYE-631

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