Build your wilderness and leadership skills by exploring the untouched wilderness of America’s “Last Frontier.” Savor the sight of the Alaska Range stretching for hundreds of miles as you trek through the alpine tundra and a kaleidoscope of wildflowers to unbelievable mountain views. Feel the exhilaration of whitewater rafting class II and III rapids or spotting a grizzly bear in the wilds of Denali National Park. Experience the thrill of crossing a seemingly endless glacier and climbing a shimmering ice wall. Watch humpback whales and orcas swim just feet away from you during a ferry tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, and witness the power of a massive calving glacier crashing into the ocean. For a journey beyond the extraordinary, there is certainly no place quite like the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Leadership in the Last Frontier
9th - 12th
June 28 – July 18
July 12 – August 1
Arrival & Departure
June 28 – July 18
July 12 – August 1
9th - 12th
- Backpack and Camp in the Heart of the Last Frontier With Breathtaking Views of Majestic Denali
- Travel by Foot Across the Stunning Matanuska Glacier and Learn the Basics of Ice Climbing From Professional Guides
- Whitewater Raft the Mighty Nenana River to Experience Exhilarating Rapids and Unbelievable Mountain Views
- Explore the Famous Landscapes of Denali National Park and Watch for Alaska’s “Big Five”: Moose, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Wolves and Grizzly Bears
- Witness Massive Glaciers Crashing Into the Ocean and Spot Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions and Puffins in Kenai Fjords National Park
- Explore the Wilds of Alaska While Learning Important Wilderness Techniques and Leave No Trace Principles
- Come Face-to-Face With Sea Otters and a Giant Pacific Octopus at the Alaska SeaLife Center
- 40 Hours of Leadership & Wilderness Skills Training
Outdoor & Leadership Skills
Don your backpacks for a five-day trek along the wildflower-covered K’esugi Ridge Trail in Alaska’s famous wild landscapes with a front row view of Denali, North America’s highest peak at 20,310 feet. Take in panoramic views of the Alaska Range to the west and the Talkeetna Range to the east. Practice important Leave No Trace principles and wilderness ethics as you hike with bald eagles soaring overhead and Dall sheep, arctic foxes, and caribou in the distance. Build your self-confidence and leadership abilities through leadership activities and roles.
Through guided instruction, learn the art of glacier travel and ice-climbing, including using an ice ax, crampons, and safety harnesses. Explore the Matanuska Glacier while further building your technical skills. Watch the midnight sun reflect off a landscape of ice that you will never forget. Whitewater raft down the gorgeous Nenana River and begin with a calm and scenic float through the Denali landscape. Later, drop into the Nenana Canyon to tackle thrilling rapids such as “Razorback”, “Coffee Grinder”, and “Ice Worm”.
Environment & Wildlife
Explore Denali National Park and watch for Alaska’s “Big Five” wildlife: Moose, bear, wolf, sheep and caribou. Learn about this unique and wild landscape from a trained naturalist and keep your eyes peeled for more amazing wildlife. Embark on a guided ferry tour into Kenai Fjords National Park, for up-close viewing of calving glaciers and the chance to spot humpback and orca whales, puffins, otters, porpoises, and sea lions. Tour the Alaska SeaLife Aquarium to learn more about the local marine wildlife and hand feed caribou calves at a reindeer farm.
This is an entirely camping-based program. The group will camp in National Parks, State Parks, National Forest Service land, and private campsites. The majority of our campgrounds are “front-country,” meaning you will be close to the group’s van while camping. While at these front-country campgrounds you will have restroom facilities and water for drinking, cooking, and washing hands. Many of the campgrounds will also have showers on-site.
As a part of the adventure, you will also set out on a 5-day/4-night backpack in the Alaskan wilderness. For this section you will be carrying your personal gear (clothes, sleeping bag and pad) as well as all group gear (tents, cooking gear) needed for this component. These campsites will be “wilderness sites” and may not have running water or bathroom facilities.
Each group will travel together, with the leaders, in a combination of 15-passenger van and small equipment truck, which will carry the personal and group gear. The van and equipment truck will become the group’s mobile home base so it will be important that students help keep the van and truck clean and organized through their journey.
Students are generally pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food on an ARCC program. The group will work together to create each unique menu and prepare the delicious meals throughout the duration of this trip, with occasional meals out at local restaurants. Vegetarian and other dietary needs (i.e., allergies, food preferences) are easily catered for. Students should inform ARCC of any dietary needs before the start of the program.
If you are traveling from somewhere in the United States and are under the age of 18, airlines do not require photo identification. It is a good idea to travel with a picture I.D. if possible, but it is not necessary to bring a passport. A school identification card with your photo on it is best, but a library card or credit card with your name on it is also helpful. If you are traveling to Alaska from somewhere outside of the United States, you will need to bring your valid passport.
Nearly all of the U.S. state of Alaska is in the Alaska Time Zone. It is four hours behind the east coast and one hour behind the west coast.
As a part of the program, you will be setting out on a traditional wilderness backpacking trip. It is essential that you bring a backpack that is sized to your body and comfortably carries your essential items during this component. For this reason, you should bring a properly fitted backpack (either internal or external frame) for this program. You may also bring a small daypack to use for day hikes and shorter day trips.
During the rest of the trip the group will be navigating through airports, getting in and out of the van, and carrying their personal items to and from their campgrounds. It is essential that everyone is able to carry their own personal belongings and we have found the most effective way to do this is to pack in a backpack or duffle.
The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer months of June and July which consists of warm, dry days and cooler evenings. The weather will vary throughout our journey depending on location and elevation so it will be important to pack according to our extensive packing list, with an emphasis on proper layering. The interior of the state, near Denali, is usually warm and dry with average highs around 70 degrees and the lows around 50 degrees. In coastal areas like the Kenai Peninsula, the weather is usually wetter and cooler, so you should be prepared with rain gear and warm layers. Because weather patterns are unpredictable, you should be prepared for rain or other inclement weather conditions at all times.
There will be opportunities for regular showers during the trip, however you should not expect to take showers every single day. There will be no shower opportunities during the backpacking section due to the remote nature of the backcountry. There will be at least two laundry stops during the trip. For ease of travel, quick dry clothes are recommended on the packing list.
We suggest bringing spending money of roughly $75/week, for a total of $175-$225 for the entire trip. Most cash should come home, but you will want some personal money to pay for airline baggage fees at the airport, souvenirs/gifts, laundry, extra snacks, and emergencies (lost items, clinic visit, etc.). Most students opt to bring small amount of cash, as well as personal debit or credit cards.
Have questions? Speak to one of our Program Directors, give them a call at (415) 332.5075 , they love talking about their trips!