Teen Wilderness Adventures

Fun, outdoor trips for teens, ages 12-18 in New Hampshire, Maine, and New York

Teen Wilderness Adventure Program

Give your teen a summer to remember! Now in our 25th season, Teen Wilderness Adventures offer 5- to 20-day fun, outdoor trips for youth ages 12-18. Our trips go beyond the ordinary, providing supportive, professional group leadership while teaching valuable wilderness skills and essential life lessons. Our unique approach fosters an appreciation for the environment, helps teens develop self-esteem, promotes teamwork and friendship, and instills a spirit of adventure.

Trips combine one or more outdoor activities - like hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and mountain biking - with spectacular destinations in New Hampshire, Maine, and New York.

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Teen Wilderness Programs

Teen Wilderness Adventures-5-day- Backpacking & Canoeing Wilderness Intro (Ages 13-15)
Status: Open
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:00AM - Thursday, June 21, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Paddling,Paddling - Flatwater,Camping,Paddling - Canoeing
Teen Wilderness Adventures-5-day- Pemigewasset Backpacking & Waterfall Explorer (Ages 12-14)
Status: Open
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:00AM - Thursday, June 21, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Camping
Teen Wilderness Adventures -7-day- Wilderness Explorer Backpacking (Ages 13-15)
Status: Open
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:00AM - Saturday, June 23, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Camping
Teen Wilderness Adventures -10-day- Backpacking & Canoeing Wilderness Expedition (Ages 14-16)
Status: Open
Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 9:00AM - Friday, June 29, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Paddling,Paddling - Flatwater,Camping,Paddling - Canoeing
Teen Wilderness Adventures -10-day- Rock Climbing and Backpacking Adventure (Ages 14-16)
Status: Open
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:00AM - Monday, July 2, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Camping,Rock Climbing
Teen Wilderness Adventures -7-day- Youth Adventure Multisport (ages 12-14)
Status: Open
Date: Sunday, June 24, 2018 9:00AM - Saturday, June 30, 2018 3:00PM
Activity: Backpacking,Hiking,Camping,Paddling - Canoeing

About Teen Wilderness adventures

We offer exciting, rewarding outdoor adventure education for youth ages 12-18 ranging in length from 5-20 days. Teen Wilderness Adventures combine one or more outdoor activities--like hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and mountain biking--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 wilderness skills and develop essential life skills. This unique combination fosters an appreciation for the environment, develops self-esteem, instills a spirit of adventure, and promotes 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 and 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.

Youth Adventures

For teens age 12-14, offers a variety of outdoor activities but keep hiking distances and pack weights appropriate for younger participants. Trip offerings include combinations of hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and canoeing. In addition to learning the skills to be inspired to participate in the days' activities, the group will also focus on having fun and learning the skills to be comfortable in a small group of peers in the wilderness. For most Youth Adventures trip participants this is their first extended period away from home. We help support this transition on trips by building reliable routines that are familiar to life at home, creating a menu inspired by participant favorites, facilitating optional activities during down time, and checking in during evening debriefs.

Single-Sport Adventures

Focuses on a single skill and offers total immersion into the wilderness experience, while giving you the chance to improve your skills in a specific activity. Ranging from 5-10 days in duration, these trips are for youth ages 13-16.

Multi-Sport Adventures

Offers a taste of several skills and experiences while maintaining a sense of a longer expedition. Ranging from 5 to 14 days in length, these Adventures combine activities like hiking, backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and whitewater. If you're new to the fun of outdoor pursuits or think a more relaxed pace is for you, try our 2 Intro Adventures that sample hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing at an introductory level.

Ultimate Adventures

These programs range in length from 5 to 20 days and are for youth ages 15-18. These programs are unique because they teach more advanced skills and involve more challenges than our standard programs.

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. Backpacking trips also adventure to The Devil's Path in the Catskills of New York, Harriman State Park (New York), and the 100-Mile Wilderness and Katahdin region of Maine.


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.

Mountain Biking

Explore some of the best mountain-bike terrain in New Hampshire! You'll start on Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center's private bike trails to hone your skills on dirt roads, single track, and double track before venturing to other acclaimed areas for longer rides. Learn to shift like a pro, cross streams and logs, make field repairs, climb and descend with confidence, and be comfortable with varying terrain. Guides from Great Glen will join your AMC instructors to lead your rides. At the end of the day, retire to a campground for dinner and a swim. Mountain biking sections are designed for beginner to intermediate bikers to ensure that everyone is comfortable riding together. We recommend bringing your own bike if you have one, but pre-serviced bikes and helmets are available and included in the cost of the program.

Primitive Skills

Taught by trained professionals, our primitive skills course will help you better understand and responsibly utilize the wilderness environment surrounding you. We'll learn how to track animals, build a fire using a bow drill, identify wild edibles and tune into bird song. Learning to reading the landscape is fun and challenging and you'll never look at the woods quite the same way again.

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.


"He had a fantastic time on the hike, he learned so much from them, and just couldn't say enough great things about how wonderful they were to be with (his instructors). When we met them on Sunday morning, we knew they'd be fantastic and that we had complete faith in them. As a sign of the terrific work they do, as Dean was getting into bed at 1:30 am he was talking about next year's trip..."

Jennifer and Ken (Parents)

"Otto has had such positive things to say about AMC that his guidance counselor, who was unfamiliar with your programs, was interested to know more and made some notes. I'm sure he will pass that info along to his students and hopefully you will be seeing more kids from Rhinebeck. I feel certain that you will be seeing more of Otto."

Alice (Parent)

"I wanted to drop you a line and let you know just how much Emma enjoyed her trip last week. All of our anticipated concerns proved to be non-issues. Emma was happy with the 'barefoot zone' and really learned a lot. Goldie and Lisa were great trip leaders -- they were able to help the kids deal effectively with the rain and taught Emma (and others) so much about hiking, the AT, dealing with adversity, and figuring out how you can make yourself feel happy by initially faking it. While we thought the lousy weather might have rained on the experience, Emma was certain that the rain made it even better. She said that while they were on the trail she sometimes thought she'd wished it wasn't raining, but "looking back, I wouldn't change anything." We were also concerned about group dynamics when we met the group because some of the kids already knew each other. When we left Emma she was nervous about it, but when we picked her up it was clear they had all gotten along well. So, thanks for putting up with our questions and for putting the group together. It was well worth it from our perspective. We appreciate everything you did and please send our thanks to Goldie, Lisa, and Althea."

Susan (Parent)

Frequently Asked Questions

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 us at AMCinformation@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 Leadership Training Program. 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?

You can view the equipment and clothing list for a particular trip by clicking on the individual trip link. Also when you register for a trip, you will receive the entire information packet, which includes the clothing list. We ask that you bring your own personal gear. We provide the group gear. That means you need a few changes of clothes, boots and shoes, toiletries, flashlight (headlamp preferred), hat, sunglasses, water bottles, and 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.

Who are your instructors?

Every Teen Wilderness Adventures instructor is trained in water safety and certified in Wilderness First Aid. Instructors are selected for their judgment, dedication and passion for the outdoors and their experience working with young people. In addition, AMC provides an extended field training prior to the start of each summer. Any outdoor activity has inherent risk, but we work hard to minimize the potential dangers and maximize the safety precautions. 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 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.

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 longer trips like the Appalachian Trail Backpack, and the Leadership Training Backpack offer many opportunities to delve deeper into Leave No Trace outdoor ethics and for small service projects. For more AMC trips that incorporate a service component for teens, check out AMC's Volunteer Vacations.