Big Sky Trip

Big Sky

High Trails Adventure - Grades 9-12+

Immerse yourself in beauty, excitement and fun on this diverse exploration of the Rocky Mountain West’s most awesome mountains and rivers. From the spectacular backcountry of Montana’s Pintler range, to the thrill and solitude of Idaho’s Salmon River, this adventure focuses on backpacking, whitewater rafting, and concludes with whitewater kayaking school.

21 Days

$4,695

  • June 24th - July 14th
  • July 17th - August 6th
  • Missoula, MT

Day 1-2

As you land in the Missoula airport, the fresh mountain air and lush green valley will surely take your breath away. We’ll all meet up at the airport, share snacks and stories, get to know one another, and make sure we’ve all got the right gear to begin our adventure. Already fast friends, we’ll travel to our first camp site for the night. After picking up some pizza for our first dinner together, we’ll learn how to set up our tents and get comfortable in these little homes of ours! After dinner and s’mores around the campfire, we’ll drift asleep underneath a starry Rocky Mountain sky, excited for our journey to come. After a refreshing night sleep, we’ll wake up prepared to shop and pack for our first foray into the backcountry. This will be our first exercise as a team—splitting up gear and packing our bags—you’ll be surprised how easy it is when everyone lends a helping hand!

Day 3-9

Arriving at the trailhead, we will be amazed at the scene in front of us: pine trees reaching far overhead with rugged peaks in the distance. Since it’s our first day backpacking as a group, we will travel just a few miles to our first backcountry campsite. We’ll get comfortable carrying our packs, picking out the best campsite, preparing backcountry meals, and practicing minimum impact travel. We’ll spend seven incredible days here in the Pintlers, traveling on the continental divide trail amidst beautiful mountain vistas, u-shaped valleys, and glacial moraines. We’ll learn about map and compass use, the surrounding flora and fauna, and backcountry ethics, all the while growing together as a team. After our days in this land of bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain goats, wolves, and wolverines are done, we will be sad to say goodbye. But excitement will ensue as soon as we remember where we are headed to next!

Day 10-14

Time to rest our legs and pick up our paddles as we venture out for four days on the Rocky Mountain West’s most glorious overnight river journey! We’ll spend our days alternating between thrilling rapids and calm, clear pools. If you want, you can even try your hand at the inflatable duckies—a great way for beginners to experience rapids! We’ll soak up the sun, jump off the river banks, slip and slide off rafts into the water, and splash from boat to boat as the days turn into afternoons. We’ll camp on secluded beaches, recline on lawn chairs, play beach volleyball, and eat incredible meals full of fresh fruits and veggies. Each morning we will feel the sun creep over the canyon walls, and rise with the excitement of a new day of life on the river. There is truly nothing better.

Day 15-19

After four days on the Salmon, we will be whitewater pros. Now it’s time to focus on hard-shell, whitewater kayaks! The progression and ease of these four days is sure to astound us. Chances are that few or none of our group members have ever rolled a kayak before. In four days time, we will all be so comfortable in the water, we will be amazed at how much we’ve learned! We’ll start by meeting up with our professional whitewater experts on Harper’s Lake, just so we can all adjust to the feel of the boats in flat, non-moving water. We’ll then progress from the lake to a slowly moving water section of the Blackfoot river, practicing eddy turns and moving as a group. Our next day will try out our first section of small rapids, before we gauge the comfort and skill of the group and perhaps tackle the Tarkio Gorge! We’ll all have a chance to practice rolling in and outside of rapids. As we pack up our spray skirts and paddles at the end of our last day, we will revel in how far we’ve come as individuals, but more importantly, as a team.

Day 20-21

The time has come to put on our casual clothes and explore the city! After the past three weeks of non-stop adventure, we will fit right in in this town of mountain explorers. Walking through the streets of this quaint city, we will reflect on everything we’ve learned, from how to navigate the backcountry to how to improve our peer leadership skills. We’ll celebrate our trip with our culminating banquet, telling stories and laughing about all the great times we’ve had. On our final morning, we’ll head to the airport as a group, amazed to remember the day we arrived as strangers. Now the best of friends, there are sure to be some tears on our last morning, but it’s hard to be too sad when we remember all the amazing things we’ve done together!

Day 1-2

As you land in the Missoula airport, the fresh mountain air and lush green valley will surely take your breath away. We’ll all meet up at the airport, share snacks and stories, get to know one another, and make sure we’ve all got the right gear to begin our adventure. Already fast friends, we’ll travel to our first camp site for the night. After picking up some pizza for our first dinner together, we’ll learn how to set up our tents and get comfortable in these little homes of ours! After dinner and s’mores around the campfire, we’ll drift asleep underneath a starry Rocky Mountain sky, excited for our journey to come. After a refreshing night sleep, we’ll wake up prepared to shop and pack for our first foray into the backcountry. This will be our first exercise as a team—splitting up gear and packing our bags—you’ll be surprised how easy it is when everyone lends a helping hand!

Day 3-9

Arriving at the trailhead, we will be amazed at the scene in front of us: pine trees reaching far overhead with rugged peaks in the distance. Since it’s our first day backpacking as a group, we will travel just a few miles to our first backcountry campsite. We’ll get comfortable carrying our packs, picking out the best campsite, preparing backcountry meals, and practicing minimum impact travel. We’ll spend seven incredible days here in the Pintlers, traveling on the continental divide trail amidst beautiful mountain vistas, u-shaped valleys, and glacial moraines. We’ll learn about map and compass use, the surrounding flora and fauna, and backcountry ethics, all the while growing together as a team. After our days in this land of bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain goats, wolves, and wolverines are done, we will be sad to say goodbye. But excitement will ensue as soon as we remember where we are headed to next!

Day 10-14

Time to rest our legs and pick up our paddles as we venture out for four days on the Rocky Mountain West’s most glorious overnight river journey! We’ll spend our days alternating between thrilling rapids and calm, clear pools. If you want, you can even try your hand at the inflatable duckies—a great way for beginners to experience rapids! We’ll soak up the sun, jump off the river banks, slip and slide off rafts into the water, and splash from boat to boat as the days turn into afternoons. We’ll camp on secluded beaches, recline on lawn chairs, play beach volleyball, and eat incredible meals full of fresh fruits and veggies. Each morning we will feel the sun creep over the canyon walls, and rise with the excitement of a new day of life on the river. There is truly nothing better.

Day 15-19

After four days on the Salmon, we will be whitewater pros. Now it’s time to focus on hard-shell, whitewater kayaks! The progression and ease of these four days is sure to astound us. Chances are that few or none of our group members have ever rolled a kayak before. In four days time, we will all be so comfortable in the water, we will be amazed at how much we’ve learned! We’ll start by meeting up with our professional whitewater experts on Harper’s Lake, just so we can all adjust to the feel of the boats in flat, non-moving water. We’ll then progress from the lake to a slowly moving water section of the Blackfoot river, practicing eddy turns and moving as a group. Our next day will try out our first section of small rapids, before we gauge the comfort and skill of the group and perhaps tackle the Tarkio Gorge! We’ll all have a chance to practice rolling in and outside of rapids. As we pack up our spray skirts and paddles at the end of our last day, we will revel in how far we’ve come as individuals, but more importantly, as a team.

Day 20-21

The time has come to put on our casual clothes and explore the city! After the past three weeks of non-stop adventure, we will fit right in in this town of mountain explorers. Walking through the streets of this quaint city, we will reflect on everything we’ve learned, from how to navigate the backcountry to how to improve our peer leadership skills. We’ll celebrate our trip with our culminating banquet, telling stories and laughing about all the great times we’ve had. On our final morning, we’ll head to the airport as a group, amazed to remember the day we arrived as strangers. Now the best of friends, there are sure to be some tears on our last morning, but it’s hard to be too sad when we remember all the amazing things we’ve done together!