Photograph (above) taken by Brennen Montgomery
Sample Itinerary
8-Day Courses
Course start at the Leadville Mountain Center: group challenges, games and high ropes course
Shuttle to the trailhead, begin backpacking
Peak attempt: You’ll get up before the sun and move quickly to get out of camp and start the ascent. From the summit you’ll get amazing views of the sea of mountains around you.
Solo: time to rest and reflect on how far you’ve come and what new things you have discovered about yourself.
Travel back to base camp.
Personal Challenge Event and course end
Transportation home
15-Day Courses
Course start, team building activities, high ropes course
Begin backpacking. Skills focusing on: learning how to build a shelter, loading a pack, hiking on and off trail, reading a map and compass, and cooking
Final Challenge Event and course end
Transportation home

It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.  

  • Build skills, form connections:Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
  • Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
  • Demonstrate mastery:As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group. At the end of course, you and your crew will undergo a Personal Challenge Event.
  • What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence. 

After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.

In early adolescence, physical and cognitive development varies between boys and girls . Outward Bound has seen this in practice and has created gender specific early adolescent courses comprised of developmentally similar students who self-identify with the group. This allows Instructors to tailor teaching  to each groups' unique abilities. Single gender courses provide affirming spaces to talk about fears and concerns, promote participation for girls in leadership roles, and lessen the potential for stereotyping behaviors to occur.

This eight-day course, like all Outward Bound expeditions, is focused on building character and leadership skills. Short courses are a great option for students looking for an introduction to the outdoors or for those who need a quick recharge. On shorter courses, students learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to the course activity. Students get to know fellow crew mates surprisingly well as they share this immersive and intense experience.

backpacking trip for girls in colorado
Photo courtesy of Ben Sheppard
colorado wilderness program for girls
Photo courtesy of Dan Susman
colorado outdoor leadership program for girls
Photo courtesy of Hannah Marshall
outdoor summer program for girls in colorado
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell
outdoor leadership program for girls in colorado
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell
summer backpacking trip for teen girls in colorado
Photo courtesy of Bob O'Rourke
colorado backpacking adventure program for girls
Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Mitchell
summer programs for girls
Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Mitchell
backpacking program for girls in the colorado rockies
Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Mitchell
rocky mountain backpacking program for girls only
Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Mitchell

Backpackers carry everything they need - food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Students feel a sense of freedom from deadlines and task lists as they grow accustomed to eating when hungry, setting up camp when tired and having complete control over what they accomplish each day. The simplicity of hiking gives students the opportunity to focus internally on their own thoughts and self-reliance, as well as externally to connect deeply with others as they talk, sing, play games and spend time together without distraction.

This course will begin with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation and camp craft as they get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students backpack along valleys and long ridges, camp in basins with views of the top of the world and stop along the way to explore microclimates and alpine ecosystems. Most importantly, students spend time in an incredible area, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape. 

The expedition includes at least one peak attempt. Peak attempts are major enterprises and typically require early morning starts and take all day to complete. Weather or other factors including group dynamics and physical ability may preclude an attempt to ascend a peak.

Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning trash and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.

In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Weather and time permitting, the 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 make decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more, depending on the length of the course as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group.. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by Instructors at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority. 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.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. Colorado offers the greatest concentration of peaks above 13,000 feet in continental U.S., with hundreds of “Thirteeners” (13,000+ feet in elevation) and 54 “Fourteeners” (14,000+ feet in elevation). The state is famous for its abundant wilderness adventure possibilities, from skiing to rock climbing to mountaineering. Colorado courses may take place in The Gore, The Holy Cross, The Sawatch, The Elks, The Sangre de Cristos, the Rawah or the San Juans.  Each of these Colorado ranges present unique challenges, but are all beautiful, wild and rugged. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Eastern Shoshone, Jicarilla Apache, and Pueblos nations.


Getting Started

If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.

To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.