Teen Wilderness Adventures

• Develop a connection to the outdoors. Challenge yourself. Build friendships. Learn new skills AND have a blast outside this summer!

• Featuring: Backpacking, Climbing, Kayaking, Canoeing, and Multi-sport trips designed for 12-18 year olds

• Explore the White Mountains, Maine, and Massachusetts on a summer adventure

About Teen Wilderness adventures

We offer exciting, rewarding outdoor adventure education for youth ages 12-18 ranging in length from 5-30 days. Teen Wilderness Adventures combine one or more outdoor activities–like hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, –with spectacular destinations. Group size on our programs ranges from 6 to 10, and each of our trips has at least two instructors at all times. Teen Wilderness Adventures participants learn valuable backcountry and leadership skills as members of their expedition group, giving them to opportunity to grow an appreciation for the environment, develop self-esteem, share their spirit for adventure, and experience teamwork, friendship, and a sense of community through memorable wilderness experiences.

Our Staff

AMC’s professional instructors are dedicated, energetic, and talented leaders experienced in working with youth. All of our instructors are certified in wilderness medicine, trained in water safety, and have strong backcountry skills. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences and are committed to providing youth with a fun and educational excursion in the outdoors while maximizing the safety of all participants.

Choose Your Adventure

All of our programs offer fun and adventure, but choosing the best program is as individual as each participant.

Backcountry Adventures

Our backcountry adventures bring teens into the remote wilderness regions of New England by backpacking, canoeing, or both! Camping at sites that have little access to roads or other amenities provides teens an opportunity to step back from the hustle and bustle of the human world, and immerse themselves into their own wilderness experience. Ranging from 5 to 30 days, these trips offer a range of challenges to suit various comfort levels, from uncertain campers to confident backpackers and paddlers alike!

Front Country Adventures

Oftentimes adventure can be found just off the beaten path, and on these trips, teens will explore activities like rock climbing, whitewater paddling, day hiking, and more, while maintaining the community atmosphere of a longer backcountry expedition. Ranging from 5 to 10 days in length, these trips will enjoy daily excursions from their basecamp at a road-side campground, to explore what adventures the region has to offer. Similar to our backcountry adventures, these trips offer a range of challenges to suit various comfort levels, and no experience is necessary. Only a passion for exploration, and personal challenge!

Leadership and Advocacy Courses

These trips for ages 14 to 18, range in length from 7 to 21 days and offer teens the opportunity to practice teamwork, leadership, problem solving & advocacy as members of a dynamic and highly motivated team. These programs are unique because they cover more advanced skills, complex social issues, and leadership philosophies, while giving opportunities to apply this knowledge and receive feedback from peers and instructors.

Adventures by Activity


Backpacking remains one of the most popular outdoor activities in New England, and we explore some of the most striking mountainous terrain in the East. We camp at AMC or U.S. Forest Service shelter sites, designated tenting areas, or at our own low-impact sites and learn Leave No Trace techniques to protect these wild and beautiful areas. Most trips average four to six miles per day, and we carry all the camping gear and food we’ll need. Our trips in New Hampshire explore the 770,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. With several Wilderness Areas and world-famous mountain ranges, the forest offers some of New England’s premier hiking. Some of the places we explore include the Southern Presidentials, the Franconia Notch area, the Carter and Mahoosuc Ranges, and the Pemigewasset Wilderness area.


Look for bald eagles in their nests and enjoy the calls of the loons as you canoe through the scenic Rangeley Lakes and river systems of Maine and New Hampshire. We will review basic canoe strokes and techniques, group safety issues, water navigation skills, and open-water rescue skills. Daily paddles over flatwater, perhaps with a swim in between, will lead us to our evening camp where we enjoy delicious meals and watch the sunset. Depending on our route, some portaging may be required.

Rock Climbing

Learn to make your way confidently up famous rock faces. Using provided equipment at established climbing sites, we will learn standard rock-climbing techniques, how to belay, rope-handling skills, and rock-site safety practices. Rock-climbing sections last one to three days and, conditions permitting, culminate in a multi-pitch climb on the last day. All technical and rock-climbing equipment will be supplied. Professional climbing guides join the group from EMS Climbing School, an AMGA accredited business.

Whitewater Kayaking

During this thrilling session, you will navigate the rapids of rivers such as the Androscoggin, Magalloway, and Saco. Using provided equipment we will learn kayaking techniques, how to read the river, and how to use the currents to your advantage. Programs will start on flatwater, then move onto quickwater, and finally onto Class I, II, and possibly III whitewater. Instruction will be provided by Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center (ACA accredited) along with AMC instructors. Groups basecamp at a campground and paddle during the day.

White Water Rafting

Spend a memorable day or two rafting the rapids of the pristine rivers winding through the scenic boarder region of Western Maine and Northern New Hampshire. Professional guides from the Enriched Learning Center, in Berlin, New Hampshire lead these exiting adventures on Class II, III or IV rapids. In this region, rich with woods lore and history, you’ll negotiate the same rapids and waves that were once used by northern loggers to start their timber supply down northern headwaters toward market. The Androscoggin, Magalloway and Rapid Rivers offer plenty of excitement as the group works together to paddle their raft as well as provide great riverside lunch spots and the chance to encounter wildlife such as moose, osprey, and eagles.


  • Full refund for reservations cancelled more than 30 days prior to arrival date.

  • Full refund less 30% for reservations cancelled 14-30 days prior to arrival date.

  • No refund for cancellations made fewer than 14 days prior to arrival date.

In the event AMC must cancel a Teen Wilderness Adventure, registrants will be notified, and all program fees will be refunded. A program may be cancelled up until 10 days prior to the start date due to low enrollment.

Teen Wilderness Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

When and where do my trips start and end?

If your trip takes place in New Hampshire or Maine, the start and end location is Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Trips begin at 9am on the first day and pickup is at 3pm on the last day of the trip.
**Our Teen Voice trips begin and end at the AMC Training and Equipment Center, 6 Spice Street, Suite 12, Boston, MA, 02129.

Who signs up for these adventures?

Teens like you sign up because they love being outside, challenging themselves in new ways, meeting new friends, and learning interesting things about the places they visit.

Should I sign up with a friend?

Most of our participants come without a friend and look forward to making new ones, which happens quickly on our trips! Still, we don’t prohibit friends from signing up. Either way, we strive to create a community of people on each trip where there are no “cliques” and exclusions. If you and a friend do come, we will expect you both to integrate with the entire group and partake in the fun of getting to know new people.

Are scholarships available?

Yes! If financial constraints are prohibiting you from signing up for a Teen Wilderness Adventure, please call or email the Education Programs Coordinator for more information on how to apply for scholarship assistance and/or download our application form here (PDF, 25 KB). You may reach the Coordinator at 603-466-8125, or email amcteenwildernessadv@outdoors.org. Scholarship applications are reviewed starting February 1st, and awards are made on a rolling basis through the Spring.

What if I’ve never done any of these activities before?

No prior experience is necessary to participate in a Teen Wilderness Adventure, with the exception of the Backcountry Leader in Training Program, and Extended Backpack Expedition. In fact, we have designed some Adventures as introductory experiences. We’ll teach you all the skills you need to succeed and have a good time. You do not have to be athletic to enjoy any of the activities, but you will have a more comfortable experience if you pursue a simple routine of regular exercise beginning a few months before your trip.

If I’ve taken a Teen Wilderness Adventure before, can I do it again?

Of course! We’d love to have you back. Many of our participants return, often come back for a longer trip, a new activity, or to advance their skills on the Leadership Training Backpack. Even if you return for the same trip, it will be a completely new experience with new friends and instructors.

What will I eat?

You will be offered three full meals each day including plenty of snacks. We provide fresh food, probably similar to what you eat at home, but we might ask you to try something new. Favorite meals include various pastas, burritos, stir-fry, hamburgers, bagels and cream cheese or peanut butter and jelly, dry and hot cereal, cookies, granola, fruit, and hot chocolate for chilly evenings and mornings. We easily accommodate most dietary restrictions;let us know in advance so we can plan accordingly. All the participants help prepare and clean up after meals.

What do I need to bring?

When you register for a trip, you will receive the entire information packet, which includes a packing list of personal gear to bring on the trip. This includes things like a few changes of clothes, boots and shoes, toiletries, flashlight (headlamp preferred), hat, sunglasses, water bottles, or other similar items. We provide tents, stoves, cooking equipment, all food, and all the technical equipment for rock climbing and water sports. We ask that if possible, you bring a backpack, rain gear, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, though if necessary, these items can be borrowed free of charge at the beginning of your program.

Who are your instructors?

Each of our Teen Wilderness Adventures instructors is a passionate and energetic individual trained in water safety and certified in Wilderness First Aid. Instructors are selected for their attitude, skillset, decision making, and dedication to working with young people in the outdoors. The AMC also puts staff through an extended field training prior to the start of each summer, giving return instructors the opportunity to hone their skills as an instructor, and fully introducing new instructors to our particular policies and practices.

How safe will I be?

Safety is a high priority in all aspects of our programs. Our leaders all have Wilderness First Aid training and are selected for their good judgment, among other qualities. Any outdoor activity has inherent risk. We do our best to minimize the potential dangers and maximize the safety precautions with everything we do. One way we do this is by keeping our group sizes small, with between 6-10 youth per group, and by providing two AMC instructors for attention and supervision.

How do the multi-element programs work?

If you choose an Adventure that includes more than one activity, you will either return to the starting point of your trip between each activity or have your extra bag brought to you in the field. For example, that means you can pack clothing and equipment for canoeing and don’t have to bring it along backpacking. We’ll store your extra gear and you will have access to it between trip sections.

What is expected of participants on the trip?

Participants are expected to keep a positive attitude, respect the instructors and other group members, take responsibility for their personal belongings and group equipment, be supportive and inclusive of fellow participants, try new activities and foods, make good decisions about personal safety, and follow the Teen Wilderness Adventures policies. Participants are also expected to help out with daily camp chores like cooking meals, pitching tents, getting water, and storing equipment and food away at the end of each day. On the first day of the trip, instructors cover expectations of participants and participants also have a chance to share what they expect to get out of their trip.

Is there a service component to your trips?

Most Teen Wilderness Adventures do not contain a pre-planned service component; however, many groups end up doing impromptu service projects like planting trees, cleaning up fire rings, packing out litter, or brushing in unofficial trails and campsites. Our Leadership & Advocacy courses like Teen Voices, Extended Backpack Expedition, and Backcountry Leader in Training, offer opportunities to delve deeper into Leave No Trace principles and practice being a steward for the National Forest and communities back home. For more AMC trips that incorporate a service component for teens, check out AMC’s Volunteer Vacations or Teen Trail Crews.