Experience the wonder of Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and more. Connect with experts from community groups who promote responsible and sustainable travel, confront uncomfortable truths, and support and amplify Indigenous voices. Complete a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, the preferred certification for anyone interested in pursuing a career in outdoor or experiential education.
This program is the beginning of a lifelong journey. Each organization we meet — national park service, environmental nonprofits, indigenous community organizations — will teach you how you can amplify and support their visions in your own community back home.
- Hike and explore the iconic natural arches and canyons of the American Southwest
- Learn first-hand about Indigenous history and struggle
- Stargaze in the clear mountain air while camping
Arrive in Denver and meet your new friends and program leaders. You’ll spend these days getting to know each other in a mountain retreat above Denver, exploring the nearby sights like Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder, and taking your WFR course together.
You’ll be road-tripping across Colorado and southern Utah. Alternating between camping and occasional hotels as you explore the red rocks and desert vistas of Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and more. You’ll spend your days hiking, climbing, and you’ll also work with local organizations to support their work to conserve and protect these fragile ecosystems.
You’re headed down into the 1-mile deep Grand Canyon for a 3-day hike into millions of years of geologic history.
You road trip back up into southern Colorado to explore the archeological site at Mesa Verde and the the tallest sand dunes in the United States.
Make your way across New Mexico, stopping to see Indigenous archeological sites, and connecting with several local groups to learn more about Indigenous rights and activism today. You’ll explore White Sands, raft the Rio Grande, and be amazed by Carlsbad Caverns.
Spend these last days reflecting with your group on the personal and physical journey you’ve been on. You’ll drive to El Paso, and head to the airport to catch your flight. This adventure is ending, but the experiences, friendships, and memories will last a lifetime!
October 17 - November 15, 2020Available
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. You will be carrying everything yourself, and sometimes, hiking with it.
We would suggest traveling with one larger travel backpack that can store all your luggage while making it easy to travel hands-free.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
A 25-30 liter is ideal as this will also be the daypack you use during most daily activities.
- Photocopy of ID
- Refillable water bottle
- Mask (reusable)
- Book and/or journal
- Change of clothes
- Consent to travel form
- Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
A 50-75 liter backpacking backpack is recommended, large enough to fit all your clothes and gear. Suitcases/wheeled bags are not suitable for this program. Students will not need to carry bags great distances but will be packing and moving every couple of days, so traveling light is key.
Key Points to Remember:
You will be carrying your bag throughout the program so bring only what you need and be prepared to wear clothes multiple times throughout the trip! Non-cotton layers are vital to ensuring your warmth and comfort, as cotton does not insulate or dry quickly if wet — bring some synthetic blends in addition to cotton.
- Hiking boots – water resistant and must have ankle support
- Mid/Heavyweight Socks (2-3) – merino wool socks are best
- Lightweight socks (5-7) – merino wool socks are best as they’ll keep your feet warm when wet and get stinky less quickly
- Underwear (15)
- Shorts (3 pairs)
- Mid-layer bottoms such as leggings (1-2)
- Hiking pants (1-2)
- Jeans (1)
- T-Shirts (5-7)
- Tank Tops (3)
- Mid-Layer tops (1-2)
- Mid-weight jacket (a light weight puffy jacket or warm fleece is ideal – temps can get into the 40s F at night)
- Waterproof/rain jacket
- Sandals (flip flops)
- Sandals that strap to feet (Chacos or Tevas)
- Hat with brim/visor
- Quick dry towel (2) – one for beach, one for bathing
- Bathing suit
Unscented and biodegradable products are highly recommended.
- Shampoo bar
- Body Wash bar
- Face Wash
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Reef-safe sunscreen (oxybenzone-free), SPF 30+
- Lip sun protection, SPF 30+
- Bug Spray
- Hand Sanitizer
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Contacts and solution
- Personal Med Kit
- Wet Wipes
- Sleeping bag (0-20°F / -18 to -6°C) – compact backpacking bags are ideal
- Camping Pillow
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Portable Games
- Musical Instrument
- Pocket knife / Leatherman (maximum blade length 4 inches)
- Ear plugs
No need to bring these items