The Wilderness Adventures Story

From our first trip in 1973 to our 42nd year of providing exceptional wilderness adventures, we have continued to develop our list of unique destinations and activities. With our program innovation, we have been able to offer today’s teens and families a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the ability to develop their individual and teamwork skills, as well as develop a deep connection with nature.

The Wilderness Adventure Story

In the summer of 1973, we began our first summer outdoor adventure experience with a 60-day backpacking adventure through the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. We visited some of the most beautiful outdoor environments in the Western United States and Canada, including backcountry adventures in Banff and Yoho National Parks, as well as backpacking adventures in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Olympic National Parks.

In 1977, we established one of the first of its kind teenage outdoor adventure programs by exploring the Alaskan wilds. As a fitting launch into the land of the midnight sun, our group made an inspiring 200-mile canoe trip down the Yukon River.

In 1979, we expanded our program offerings, embarking down Idaho’s stunning Salmon River. While this was another first in teen adventure history, the stunning Salmon River objectively remains the best multi-day rafting trip in the Northern Rockies.

In 1987, we made our first Sea Kayaking voyage into Glacier Bay National Park. Since this first year, over 700 Wilderness Ventures students have paddled with us through this amazing environment.

In 1994, Wilderness Adventures founder, Mike Cottingham, was lucky enough to go sea kayaking on the fjords near Chichagof Island in Alaska. It was on this expedition with his son that he was lucky enough to get some amazing photos of the numerous Humpback whales that more than 350 Wilderness Adventures students have been able to paddle with. It has been since then that we have been one of the only outdoor programs that have lucky enough to acquire this prestigious permit.

In 2001, Wilderness Adventures became the first teen adventure program to travel to Australia’s Northwest Territory, visiting the ancestral homeland of the Mangarrayi aboriginal people. We now run the biggest variety of international programs, providing our Wilderness Adventures students with a unique and memorable experience.

In 2003, the 2,000th Wilderness Adventures student reached the 13,777-foot summit on the Grand Teton, making it more than 150 Wilderness Ventures groups that have climbed this classic peak in Grand Teton National Park.

Wilderness Ventures has been providing the highest quality teen adventure experiences for more than four decades.Visit us to see how we can make your outdoor adventure a memorable and meaningful experience.