Wilderness Leadership Track

The Wilderness Leadership Track involves extended four-season Expedition experience in a variety of ecosystems. 


The field experiences in this track begin with a five-day backpacking trip followed by a sixteen-day August Adirondack Expedition, and culminates with a 20-day Capstone Expedition which students plan and execute. 

Previous destinations have included the:

  • Grand Canyon in Arizona
  • Gila Wilderness in New Mexico
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota
  • Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana
  • Pasaytan Wilderness in Washington State

Students in this track provide leadership for our Backpacking courses, campus programs, area schools and institutions. 


For more information, check out the Course Requirements.

For information about course sequence for the Wilderness Leadership Track, see Recommended Sequence of Courses (PDF).

Application Process

Due to the adversity of weather, terrain and the ecosystems that we lead trips and travel in, the application process in the Wilderness Leadership Track is selective.  The weather on our introductory level Backpacking course often ranges from days of rain mixed with snow and sleet. 

During Leadership I, you will bushwhack through Adirondack terrain that is so thick that you will not be able to see the person in front of you through the brush.  During Leadership II you will routinely hike 10+ miles a day with an elevation change of two thousand feet or more. Students who are committed to being immersed in the world of planning and executing Wilderness Expeditions are ideal candidates for this track.  If your goals are to participate and lead more casual backcountry experiences, this track will not be a good match for you.

  • Leadership I Application Process
    Candidates for Leadership I (WILD 240) will be evaluated during the Backpacking course (WILD 240) on the five-day Backpacking trip via the skills check list.  Students must also complete the Leadership I application within two-weeks of their backpacking trip.
  • Leadership II Application Process
    Candidates for Leadership II (WILD 345) need to have a recommendation of the Leadership I instructor and complete the leadership II application form.