Join us for our Fall Gap Semester trips to the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest. Learn more!

History

Wilderness Adventures started in 1973 with Mike and Helen Cottingham’s dream of combining their love of the outdoors with their passion for education.
Old group photo of travelers

What began as one trip with ten students for eight weeks across the western United States has grown to over 45 trips across six continents with over 30,000 alumni.

As school teachers, Mike and Helen saw great possibility for growth in their students, but a lack of room to grow in the traditional classroom setting. With the trust of ten students’ parents and a whole lot of enthusiasm, Mike and Helen packed up Wilderness Adventures’ first 15-passenger van and set out across the country. Each summer following, the trips grew, the staff multiplied, and Mike and Helen devoted themselves to helping young people discover the outdoors, and in turn, themselves.

Old photo of group of travelers smiling together
Old photo of a campsite

Forty-nine years later, Wilderness Adventures continues to thrive. Though the trips have grown to include much more than just ten students in the American West, our goals and mission have remained the same: to create life-changing adventures for young people in remarkable locations.

In early 2016, Tom and Catherine Holland became the owners and operators of Wilderness Adventures. With both history in the Jackson Hole area and extensive professional careers in child development, Tom and Catherine are thrilled to continue the legacy of Wilderness Adventures.