We Welcome Your Application to Join Us!
We build each of our groups with care, keeping the groups small (no more than twelve students), and paying close attention to age, grade, gender, and the mix of hometowns and schools. Our goal is to put together great groups — groups where nice kids thrive in a supportive, wholesome, and caring environment. Please note: availability as shown is based on students traveling without a friend; if your child is interested in traveling with a friend, please call our office for availability.
Important Information about Availability
This departure of this trip has good availability. Apply as soon as possible since availability changes quickly.
This departure of this trip has limited availability. Apply as soon as possible, and on receipt of your application, if space is still available, we’ll confirm a spot for you. If all of the spots are taken, we’ll call you to discuss options.
This departure of this trip is currently full — please call us to discuss options.
How to Apply
Apply online using a credit card for the $795 deposit (your card will not be charged until we confirm a spot for you). Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received (we do not hold spots over the phone).
When to Apply
The flow of applications starts in July and peaks in January/February. Some groups fill by the December holidays, and others will have space into the late spring. Our advice? Apply as soon as possible — it only takes a few minutes — and we’ll get to work right away to find a great spot for you.
Call (413.458.9672) or email (email@example.com). We look forward to hearing from you.
In Alaska, everything’s just a little more wild.
Backpack the Chugach and explore glacial lakes tucked between mountains. Sea kayak past glaciers in Prince William Sound. Hike through the Kenai Mountains and spot wildlife in Resurrection Bay. Explore the best of Southcentral Alaska.
They call Alaska the Last Frontier, and it’s for good reason. It’s far — really far — and because of that it feels different. Really different. The Last Frontier inspires a sense of adventure, a feeling of discovery when you step into its lush forests or along its jagged coastline. And it’s fun, too. Being far away means more to explore, more new experiences to gain, and more fun to be had.
Even when you’re far away, your group becomes your family. Whether encouraging each other over a mountain pass with incredible views of the Turnagain Arm, pitching in to cook an amazing meal on a black sand beach, or falling asleep in Alaska’s midnight sun, your group will be there with you every step of the way. And then there are your leaders, who guide and support you as you challenge yourself.
Hike over lush tundra, backpack to glacial lakes, and kayak beside harbor seals. See stunning mountains with traces of their winter snow, explore the Kenai Mountains along a historic trail, and whale watch in Resurrection Bay. There’s always more: more to explore, more to learn, and more of that amazing stir fry you just made.
A taste of everything Alaskan. While Alaska may be far away, the friends you make and the experiences you’ll share will make the Last Frontier feel like home.
Enjoying Glacier-Fed Lakes
Whale Watching in Kenai Fjords
Challenge, Adventure, Friends, and Fun
Need to Know
Three weeks in the Last Frontier.
Days 1 & 2: Trip Start
After meeting at the Anchorage airport, we’ll get to know one another and prepare for our first backcountry hike. We’ll review our gear, learn how to pack our backpacks, shop for food, and experience the beautiful Chugach Mountains on a day hike.
Days 3-5: Backpack Chugach State Park
For our first backcountry hike, we’ll explore Chugach State Park. Right on the outskirts of Anchorage, majestic mountains rise sharply out of hillside neighborhoods. We’ll leave from a popular trailhead and travel five to six miles on relatively flat terrain, passing over mossy tundra on our way to the Williwaw Lakes. There, we’ll set up camp and enjoy a delicious backcountry dinner. The next day, we’ll leave camp set up, pack up our bags with just the essentials— water, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a raincoat— and explore the area around us, passing by alpine lakes and around stunning mountains. We’ll return to camp for a second night, then pack up our belongings and head back out to the trailhead.
Days 6-10: Sea Kayak Prince William Sound
Over four days, we’ll sea kayak Prince William Sound with a professional guide. We’ll learn paddling techniques and environmental awareness while paddling an average of six to seven miles per day. We’ll keep a lookout for calving glaciers and marine life (like harbor seals!), and we’ll camp each night on beautiful, remote beaches.
Days 11 & 12: Day Hike Kenai Peninsula
Next, we’ll take some time to explore the Kenai Peninsula. On day hikes from Cooper Landing, we’ll see spectacular lakes and thick aspen groves, play trail games along wide-open meadows, and eat lunch next to scenic viewpoints of Kenai Lake and Turnagain Arm.
Days 13-16: Backpack Chugach National Forest
During our second backcountry hike, we’ll put our newfound skills to use. We’ll hike an average of six miles per day into a spectacular valley between two stunning mountain ranges. Passing over rippling waterfalls as we follow a river to Johnson Lake, we’ll camp in well-established campsites right off the trail. With little elevation gain and spectacular views that change with every mile, we’ll celebrate our time together as a group while supporting each other on this new challenge. After two days, we’ll retrace our steps and return to where we started.
Days 17-19: Explore Seward and Resurrection Bay
In our final days of the trip, we’ll explore the area around Seward with day hikes to iconic viewpoints and through lush greenery. Perched on the edge of Resurrection Bay, Seward is a small town with towering mountains that plummet into an icy-blue bay. We’ll spend one morning on a boat whale watching, then spend the rest of our days looking out for wildlife— bald eagles, sea otters, or moose— while hiking the area’s best trails.
Day 20: Trip End
Back in Anchorage, we’ll reflect and celebrate our three weeks together in Alaska.
8 nights of backcountry camping with no access to bathroom facilities.
9 nights of frontcountry camping. Campground facilities will vary and may have flush toilets and showers.
2 nights in private indoor accommodations.Itinerary may vary by group and is subject to change.
"I loved the close bonds and friendships we formed with everyone in the group. There really is nothing like getting to enjoy an amazing hike with people you've grown close to. "
Warner, New Hampshire
"The leaders were amazing. Adam came home exhausted, empowered, and inspired. "
What to Pack
We travel light at Overland.
Questions? Call us: 413.458.9672.
What is the weather like on Alaska Explorer?
The weather on Alaska Explorer varies widely. Sometimes it is sunny and warm, while at other times it is rainy and cold: typical summer temperatures range from the high 40s to the high 60s during the day and cooler at night.
What are the arrival and departure airports for my child's trip?
You will need to arrange transportation for your child to and from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) at trip start and trip end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a trip.
How often will my child have access to showers and laundry?
Groups typically shower and do laundry once a week.
What do you do about bears?
Traveling as a large group goes a long way in preventing unwanted attention from wildlife. In addition, we hike in well-traveled areas and train all of our staff in backcountry skills and awareness. We instruct our leaders on how to set up camp and store food in ways that reduce the chances of attracting wildlife, including bears. We’ll brief students on these routines at the start of the trip. Both of our leaders also carry bear spray in case of a bear encounter.
What are meals like at Overland? Can Overland accommodate allergies and intolerances?
Meals at Overland
Good food (and plenty of it!), excellent nutrition, and fun are the goals of Overland’s meals. Each group buys, prepares, and eats all of its meals together. Our students, with their leaders’ supervision, prepare all meals. A typical breakfast has cereal, milk, juice, and fruit; most lunches are sandwiches (or wraps) with a variety of fillings, plus chips, and fruit; dinners reflect easily prepared group meals like pasta, burritos, and stir-frys (all of which will typically have a selection of sauces and fillings). At Overland, meals are a group experience, an important way to foster connection with and consideration for other group members.
Allergies & Intolerances
We recognize there are many young people with food allergies or intolerances. We welcome these young people’s interest in joining us, and we ask parents of a prospective Overland student with an allergy/intolerance to please consider the following important information.
Most meals at Overland are prepared in basic kitchens (or outdoors), and groceries are typically purchased from small stores with limited choices. As a result, meals are prepared and served in what may be allergen-contaminated environments, and on many trips allergen-free/gluten-free foods are not readily available. While we cannot guarantee allergen-free meal settings, we will do what is reasonable to provide allergen-free/gluten-free foods on those trips where available.
In all things, our top priority is to help maintain all students’ well-being; to this end, all Overland leaders are trained to recognize and respond to allergic reactions, including administering antihistamines and epinephrine (both are carried in every trip’s first aid kit); leaders carry cell phones, and in some cases, satellite phones, so that should the need arise, emergency personnel can be contacted and their services requested. It is important for all prospective parents to understand that many groups travel in remote areas where emergency services may not be easily or readily accessible.
Our Admissions Process is Collaborative
During our admissions process, we will review all submitted Allergy Questionnaires to understand the applicant’s allergy/intolerance. We will then consider whether or not the applicant’s allergy/intolerance may be reasonably accommodated. If our admissions team has any concerns, they will contact the parent. In this conversation, we will seek to learn more about the allergy/intolerance, and we will discuss the available grocery stores, emergency services, and medical facilities on the applied-for trip. These conversations generally have one of three outcomes:
- The applicant is placed on the applied-for trip if the applicant otherwise qualifies.
- We offer a different trip if the applicant otherwise qualifies.
- We recommend waiting a year and re-applying.
Managing Food Allergies/Intolerances is a Partnership
Our commitment is to the health and well-being of each of our campers. Our goal is to partner with parents and campers—a partnership in which:
- We clearly describe our trips and policies;
- Parents clearly describe their child’s allergies or intolerances and their child’s maturity level and capability to self-manage their allergy or intolerance.
- We work together with parents in a collaborative and interactive process to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that can be made so that otherwise qualified applicants can participate in our trips.
- Students on an Overland trip take an active role in managing their allergies, including reading food labels as needed, eating only those foods with known ingredients, and seeking a leader if a reaction is suspected.
Meals: Vegetarians & Specialized Diets
Every summer there are many vegetarians who join our groups and who enjoy meat-free meals. We are happy to welcome these students as long as they understand they will share in the group’s meals but will simply have the meat portion withheld. For example: sandwiches at lunch with hummus, lettuce, tomato, and cheese (while the rest of the group has sandwiches with sliced turkey or ham); pasta at dinner with a tomato sauce (while the rest of the group has pasta with a meat sauce). We sometimes have requests from applicants with specialized diets—vegans, for example—to provide separate, specialized meals. As much as we’d like to be able to accommodate these applicants, the limitations of our kitchens, the size of available grocery stores, and the importance of group meals make it impractical to provide separate, specialized meals.
Please tell me about Overland's admissions process.
When we receive your application, if your first choice is available, we will: (1) call you to acknowledge our receipt of your application, (2) send you an email with a link to our enrollment forms, and (3) charge a deposit of $795 to your credit card. If your first choice is not available, we will call you to discuss options. For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
How physically challenging are Overland's hiking trips?
We offer a wide range of hiking trips to ensure we have something for all of our students. Our Explorer trips, designed for students in middle school or early high school, offer a range of exciting day hikes, an introduction to backpacking, and activities off the trail, such as rafting and kayaking. Expedition trips are a step up in difficulty. These trips have longer backpacking sections and activities off the trail include rafting, rock climbing, and mountaineering. We offer a range of levels and locations so students can find a trip that’s exciting to them and a good match for their interests. If you have questions about our trips or would like our help selecting the trip that’s the right fit for you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does my child need to have previous experience?
While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students. We expect your child–with your help–to select a trip that is appropriate for their interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific trip and help your child understand what to expect. We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear, and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab). Once the trip begins, your child should be ready–and excited–to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group in which each member feels welcomed and valued.
Please tell me about safety at Overland.
Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field. We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them. We work hard to recruit, train, and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful for over 30 years. Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.
What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics, and communication?
To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails, or text messages to or from our campers. Your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency. If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send an expensive smartphone. Instead, an inexpensive prepaid cell phone will do. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft, or loss, we take no responsibility for phones and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged, or stolen phones.
Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).
We are committed to providing extraordinary support to you and your child. To that end, the Overland office is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week during the summer. Outside of office hours, our answering service provides emergency coverage. Our leaders in the field are in touch with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or other medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury, and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders, and with their child.
Can I send mail to my child during a trip?
Getting a letter, card, or postcard while on an Overland trip is always exciting. Please keep in mind that sending mail to your child on an Overland trip is different than sending mail to a traditional camp because your child will be on the move. Our experience has been that mail often does not arrive on time, and, sometimes, even when it does, post offices, campgrounds, and other mail stops do not reliably deliver mail to our groups. For these reasons:
1. Please do not send anything valuable – please send letters, cards, or postcards only. If mail is late, lost, or misdirected, Overland’s leaders and staff are not able to return to the post office (or other mail stop) to collect it.
2. Please use the US Postal Service first-class mail only; do not use UPS, FedEx, or DHL (many of our mail stops accept US Postal Service mail only).
3. Please do not send overnight letters: many overnighted letters arrive before or after we arrive and are then sent back. For this same reason, please do not send mail that requires a signature upon delivery.
4. Please allow one week for postal delivery to U.S. mail stops.
5. Please allow two weeks for postal delivery to international mail stops.
Before you Go
Explore the best of Alaska with your group, challenging yourself and working together as a team to accomplish your goals.
Students going on Alaska Explorer should prepare for:
- Day hikes to viewpoints and mountaintops
- A multi-day backpacking trip designed for first-time backpackers
- A fun, supportive, and wholesome Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for an Overland Experience
Every Overland trip is a carefully crafted experience with finely-tuned activities that engage and challenge our students. To be ready for an Overland trip, each of our students should stay active and fit during the school year, and once the trip starts, they should be eager to try new things and make new friends.
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Overland offers introductory, hiking, biking, language, writing, service and field studies programs domestically and abroad for students in 4th through 12th grade.