The Great Northwest Trip

The Great Northwest

High Trails Adventure - Grades 9-12

In honor of the 45th anniversary of Wilderness Adventures, The Great Northwest is designed for the experienced alumni wanting the most complete wilderness experience of its kind.  This unique opportunity closely resembles the original  “Six Week Northwest Expedition” offered in the early years of Wilderness Adventures.

45 Days

$6,595

  • June 22nd - August 5th
  • Jackson Hole, WY

Day 1-2

After being met by our trip leaders in Jackson Hole, at the base of the Teton, we will acclimatize and familiarize ourselves with our equipment and with each other. After some time hiking among the towering and magnificent Teton Range, we will proceed a short distance to Yellowstone National Park.

Day 3-8

Early explorers referred to Yellowstone National Park as “Wonderland” and in our next several days we’ll see why. We’ll spend some time exploring Old Faithful and the most extraordinary geothermal features to be found on Earth. We’ll day hike to some amazing, seldom-visited geyser basins where we’ll see colorful hot pools, steaming fumaroles and strange bubbling mud pots. Next we’ll hike around the amazing Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, viewing its giant waterfalls while bald eagles and osprey soar in the sky above us and the canyon below. Our time in Yellowstone will conclude with our first backpacking trip into the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River located in the northwest corner of the park. Here, we will have an opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife including elk, moose, coyotes, wolves, bison, bears, and big horn sheep. This vast wilderness ecosystem offers an unequaled variety of landscapes.

Day 9-10

After a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, we will proceed to the fabulous Big Hole country of Montana, an area of outstanding scenery and historic lore. With visits to the historic ghost town of Bannack as well as the famous Big Hole Battlefield, we will have the opportunity to visualize some of the history of this beautiful part of the West.

Day 11-14

Our next adventure takes us to one of the premiere river experiences found anywhere. Our rafting trip will see us combine the Lower Salmon River with the Snake River for a truly dramatic 70 plus mile whitewater adventure. These are two of America’s great wild rivers and they are characterized by quiet stretches separated by exciting whitewater rapids. We will all participate in navigating our boats as we shoot numerous rapids with such appropriate names as Demons Drop, Lorna’s Lulu, The Gobbler, and Wild Goose. There will be ample time to relax along some of the quiet pools where we can lie back and view the beauty of this unspoiled environment. We can swim in some of the quiet stretches and hike up into this dramatic volcanic canyon. Our campsites each evening will be situated on expansive white sand beaches where we will all participate in the preparation of delicious food cooked over driftwood fires.

Day 15-21

Taking a break from our backcountry environments, we will have the opportunity to spend a day exploring the great western city of Seattle and many of its iconic destinations such as Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the Space Needle. Following our visit to Seattle, we will proceed across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula for a backpacking trip in Olympic National Park along the last remaining wilderness beach in the contiguous United States. We’ll hike through lush rain forests of Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Western Cedars. Once on the coast, our movement will be governed by the tides as we round precipitous headlands, pass sites of historic shipwrecks and see the remains of an ancient Makah Indian whaling village. We’ll have time to fish for smelt, hunt crabs, dig clams, swim, and explore tidal pools. Wildlife viewing opportunities include bald eagles, bears, deer, seals, otters, and maybe even whales!

Day 22-25

Following our Olympic trip, we will proceed by ferry into the beautiful San Juan Islands, situated in the middle of the Puget Sound just south of the Canadian border. After quickly learning the fundamentals of sea kayaking, we are off to some of the smallest and most pristine uninhabited islands of the archipelago, where we will camp each night. Our journey will enable us to view seals, bald eagles, loons, and possibly Orca whales. Gliding through the glassy water in a sea kayak is truly a thrilling experience and provides an added dimension to our six-week experience.

Day 26-30

Next, we’ll travel to the far northwest corner of our country to spectacular North Cascades. This extensive mountain wilderness of rugged, glacier-carved peaks, high lakes and deep, lush forest valleys has often been described as the “American Alps”. It is truly one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges. We will backpack along old prospectors trails through dense fir forests, then into the high country for unrivaled views amidst snowfields, flower-laden meadows and ridges. This is the land of the infamous “Bigfoot” and although we’ve yet to sight it, many locals swear it exists! Maybe, we’ll be luckier this year.

Day 31-35

Moving from the trails to snow, we will meet our climbing guides who will outfit us with our necessary climbing gear of ropes, crampons, and ice axes. Our snow-climbing seminar will begin on the glacier clad slopes of Mt. Baker, the highest peak in the North Cascade Range. This thorough instructional program will be conducted from our base camps on glaciers and will cover all of the important skills of expeditionary mountaineering. This seminar will conclude with an exciting and rewarding ascent of Mt. Baker at 10,781 feet.

Day 36-42

Our final backcountry experience will take us south. The verdant Cascades of Oregon are a backpacker’s paradise with their sweeping expanses of forests and numerous lakes and streams excellent for swimming. We will backpack along the famous Pacific Crest Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness, named for the three impressive snow-capped volcanoes that dominate the scenery here. Before leaving the Three Sisters, we’ll be rewarded by an amazing climb of the snowcapped South Sister Volcano where we’ll have stunning views of the entire Cascade Range.

Day 43-45

Arriving back in Jackson Hole, we will bid farewell to our incredible six-week journey with a day of exploring in the town of Jackson along with an end of summer celebration dinner. Our final morning, we are off to the airport where the trips leaders will see us onto our flights back home.

Day 1-2

After being met by our trip leaders in Jackson Hole, at the base of the Teton, we will acclimatize and familiarize ourselves with our equipment and with each other. After some time hiking among the towering and magnificent Teton Range, we will proceed a short distance to Yellowstone National Park.

Day 3-8

Early explorers referred to Yellowstone National Park as “Wonderland” and in our next several days we’ll see why. We’ll spend some time exploring Old Faithful and the most extraordinary geothermal features to be found on Earth. We’ll day hike to some amazing, seldom-visited geyser basins where we’ll see colorful hot pools, steaming fumaroles and strange bubbling mud pots. Next we’ll hike around the amazing Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, viewing its giant waterfalls while bald eagles and osprey soar in the sky above us and the canyon below. Our time in Yellowstone will conclude with our first backpacking trip into the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River located in the northwest corner of the park. Here, we will have an opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife including elk, moose, coyotes, wolves, bison, bears, and big horn sheep. This vast wilderness ecosystem offers an unequaled variety of landscapes.

Day 9-10

After a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, we will proceed to the fabulous Big Hole country of Montana, an area of outstanding scenery and historic lore. With visits to the historic ghost town of Bannack as well as the famous Big Hole Battlefield, we will have the opportunity to visualize some of the history of this beautiful part of the West.

Day 11-14

Our next adventure takes us to one of the premiere river experiences found anywhere. Our rafting trip will see us combine the Lower Salmon River with the Snake River for a truly dramatic 70 plus mile whitewater adventure. These are two of America’s great wild rivers and they are characterized by quiet stretches separated by exciting whitewater rapids. We will all participate in navigating our boats as we shoot numerous rapids with such appropriate names as Demons Drop, Lorna’s Lulu, The Gobbler, and Wild Goose. There will be ample time to relax along some of the quiet pools where we can lie back and view the beauty of this unspoiled environment. We can swim in some of the quiet stretches and hike up into this dramatic volcanic canyon. Our campsites each evening will be situated on expansive white sand beaches where we will all participate in the preparation of delicious food cooked over driftwood fires.

Day 15-21

Taking a break from our backcountry environments, we will have the opportunity to spend a day exploring the great western city of Seattle and many of its iconic destinations such as Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the Space Needle. Following our visit to Seattle, we will proceed across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula for a backpacking trip in Olympic National Park along the last remaining wilderness beach in the contiguous United States. We’ll hike through lush rain forests of Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Western Cedars. Once on the coast, our movement will be governed by the tides as we round precipitous headlands, pass sites of historic shipwrecks and see the remains of an ancient Makah Indian whaling village. We’ll have time to fish for smelt, hunt crabs, dig clams, swim, and explore tidal pools. Wildlife viewing opportunities include bald eagles, bears, deer, seals, otters, and maybe even whales!

Day 22-25

Following our Olympic trip, we will proceed by ferry into the beautiful San Juan Islands, situated in the middle of the Puget Sound just south of the Canadian border. After quickly learning the fundamentals of sea kayaking, we are off to some of the smallest and most pristine uninhabited islands of the archipelago, where we will camp each night. Our journey will enable us to view seals, bald eagles, loons, and possibly Orca whales. Gliding through the glassy water in a sea kayak is truly a thrilling experience and provides an added dimension to our six-week experience.

Day 26-30

Next, we’ll travel to the far northwest corner of our country to spectacular North Cascades. This extensive mountain wilderness of rugged, glacier-carved peaks, high lakes and deep, lush forest valleys has often been described as the “American Alps”. It is truly one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges. We will backpack along old prospectors trails through dense fir forests, then into the high country for unrivaled views amidst snowfields, flower-laden meadows and ridges. This is the land of the infamous “Bigfoot” and although we’ve yet to sight it, many locals swear it exists! Maybe, we’ll be luckier this year.

Day 31-35

Moving from the trails to snow, we will meet our climbing guides who will outfit us with our necessary climbing gear of ropes, crampons, and ice axes. Our snow-climbing seminar will begin on the glacier clad slopes of Mt. Baker, the highest peak in the North Cascade Range. This thorough instructional program will be conducted from our base camps on glaciers and will cover all of the important skills of expeditionary mountaineering. This seminar will conclude with an exciting and rewarding ascent of Mt. Baker at 10,781 feet.

Day 36-42

Our final backcountry experience will take us south. The verdant Cascades of Oregon are a backpacker’s paradise with their sweeping expanses of forests and numerous lakes and streams excellent for swimming. We will backpack along the famous Pacific Crest Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness, named for the three impressive snow-capped volcanoes that dominate the scenery here. Before leaving the Three Sisters, we’ll be rewarded by an amazing climb of the snowcapped South Sister Volcano where we’ll have stunning views of the entire Cascade Range.

Day 43-45

Arriving back in Jackson Hole, we will bid farewell to our incredible six-week journey with a day of exploring in the town of Jackson along with an end of summer celebration dinner. Our final morning, we are off to the airport where the trips leaders will see us onto our flights back home.