In this journey, you’ll backpack through the rolling expanses of the Mojave Desert and rock climb boulders and tangled granite, which seem to rise from the earth.
The ruggedly beautiful Joshua Tree National Park receives more than a million visitors each year, but only a handful of those venture more than a mile from the parking lot. With this up-close view, you’ll see the rich ecosystem of birds and animals, and the parks’ namesake, the Joshua Tree, cactus and palms. The demanding and beautiful desert offers the opportunity to challenge your personal limits and develop leadership skills in a very unique environment.
NOTE: For details on current COVID-19 policies, including vaccination, please contact an Admissions Advisor at the National Admissions Office at 866-467-7651.
This course is closed for the season.
2023 courses coming soon.
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve conquered a high mountain ridge, heard the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon, or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion into everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: For High School students, the opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences fills the expedition as you go through numerous trials and triumphs. It’s all about independence.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
This course is appropriate for those new to backpacking as well as students with some experience who are interested in exploring new terrain. Each day presents opportunities to learn new skills and work closely with teammates to travel efficiently and accomplish tasks.
The course will begin by learning foundational skills such as camp setup, cooking and navigation. As students learn these crafts and develop trust with their group, Instructors will transfer ownership of the course to the students who will manage routes, the daily schedule, navigation, and other necessary skills for expeditionary travel.
The rocks section of this course is designed for all levels and will teach students the skills necessary to be effective top-rope climbers. The first lessons will set the foundation for belaying and movement on rock and progress toward more advanced skills, including rappelling and setting top rope anchors. Students build trust and motivational leadership as they belay and are belayed by their crew in this base camping section of the course.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from 4 to 85 days. On shorter courses, students receive an introduction to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve, while activities fill most of the time and the pace is quick. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the opportunity to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more chances to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development. However many days the expedition lasts, the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Joshua Tree National Park
Welcome to the high desert moonscape, where rugged mountains and desert plateaus were sculpted by wind and rain. Three distinct ecosystems come together to form this land of extremes: the dark, cold, star-filled nights against warm sand and boulder-filled days. Students will travel through granite monoliths and through narrow canyons that have attracted travelers from around the world long before the park became a national park in 1936.
The Mojave Desert’s sunny fall and spring weather is perfect for a week on the trail or basecamping below the next climb. Weather in the park is generally dry and rainfall is sparse, though unpredictable, irregular, and sometimes persistent thunderstorms do occur. Temperatures can vary, averaging 50-80 degrees during the day to a cool 30 at night and potentially hitting 100 early or late in the season.
Travel in the desert takes careful planning to ensure an ample water supply. Logistics staff place water and food caches around the park to enable extended backcountry travel in this unique wilderness. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Yuhaviatam/Maarenga’yam (Serrano), Cahuilla, Newe (Western Shoshone), Chemehuevi, Southern Paiute and Cocopah (Xawiƚƚ kwñchawaay) nations.
Course Start, introductory lessons in “camp craft”
Lessons on top-roping and belaying
Backpacking, De-issue, Graduation
Depart for airport
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.