Guided Trips: Explore the Wilderness with Expert Backpacking Guides

Just another spectacular campsite in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors? Look no further! With the help of our...

Just another spectacular campsite in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska Just another spectacular campsite in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors? Look no further! With the help of our world-class guide team, we offer education-focused and adventure-filled backpacking courses and trips throughout the lower 48 and Alaska. Join us and discover the wonders of the wilderness like never before.


Since 2011, we have organized and guided a total of 282 trips with 2,184 happy clients. Don't just take our word for it, hear what they have to say about their experience through their 831 testimonials. We take pride in the positive feedback and strive to continuously improve our service.

Before starting this guiding program, our founder Andrew Skurka completed incredible feats of exploration. From a 4,700-mile loop around Alaska and the Yukon to a 6,875-mile thru-hike around the American West, Andrew's adventures have earned him the title of "Adventurer of the Year" by prestigious publications like Outside and National Geographic Adventure.

Our Mission

At Guided Trips, our goal is to empower clients with the skills and knowledge they need to be self-sufficient in the wilderness. We want you to confidently undertake future trips of your own. Additionally, we aim to expand your comfort zones, facilitate new hiking friendships, and of course, have a blast together in the backcountry.

We stand out from other guide services in several ways:

  • Our guides are true backpacking experts with a wealth of personal experience.
  • We expect our clients to actively participate in decision-making and engage with our curriculum.
  • We thoroughly vet applicants to ensure they are placed in suitable groups based on their experience and fitness.
  • We fine-tune our routes based on the actual group and current conditions, rather than running rigid "tours."
  • Our approach fully embraces lightweight gear and modern backcountry techniques.

Grinding up granite slabs in Sequoia-Kings Canyon Grinding up granite slabs in Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Schedules and Locations

Our trips are carefully scheduled to provide the best experience possible. Refer to our 2024 schedule for exact trip dates and availability. Each location has its own unique charm and challenges, and we invite you to explore descriptions and review travel logistics on our website.

Here's a general overview of our schedule:

  • Mid-April to early-May: the canyons of southern Utah
  • Mid-June to early-July: the Brooks Range of Alaska
  • Mid-July to early-August: the High Sierra
  • September: Olympic National Park or Greater Yellowstone
  • Early-October: West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains


We believe in providing flexibility and personalized experiences. That's why we don't offer set itineraries. Instead, we offer groups a Core Route and give them permission to adjust it based on their abilities and the current conditions. Learn more about our itineraries and day-to-day schedules on our website.


Learning is an integral part of our trips, regardless of the trip's length, location, or the group's experience level and fitness. We provide learning opportunities at two key times:

  1. Beforehand, through our Planning Curriculum. This comprehensive online course prepares you for the trip and covers everything from gear selection to map reading.
  2. In the field, following our Field Curriculum. Our expert guides will teach you essential skills and techniques, ensuring you gain hands-on experience.

Trip Types

We offer three types of trips, each designed to cater to different levels of backpacking experience:

  • Fundamentals (3 days): Perfect for beginners to get a taste of backpacking.
  • Adventure (5 or 7 days): Ideal for intermediate backpackers looking to explore further.
  • Expedition (5, 7, and 11 days): Designed for advanced backpackers seeking a challenging adventure.

In addition to our overnight trips, we have partnered with the International Mountain Medicine Center at the University of New Mexico to offer a Wilderness First Aid certification in select locations.

Fitness Levels and Technical Rating

At Guided Trips, we understand that backpacking experience and physical fitness don't always go hand in hand. That's why we offer each trip type in five fitness levels. We want to ensure that every participant finds a group that matches their abilities.

We also take into account technical ability when forming groups. This way, everyone can feel comfortable when traveling off-trail on surfaces like slickrock, granite slabs, talus, and scree, as well as Class 3, 4, and 5 terrain.

Our Expert Guide Team

To provide you with the best possible experience, we have assembled a world-class guide team. Our guides specialize in modern gear and techniques, long-distance thru-hiking, mountain high routes, and off-trail travel.

Here are just a few highlights about our guide team:

  • Six guides have completed the Triple Crown (Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails).
  • Several guides have set speed records on famous trails like the Pacific Crest Trail and Arizona Trail.
  • Our team includes experienced outdoor educators and professionals from various fields.

Rappelling into a canyon in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Rappelling into a canyon in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Prices and Discounts

Our trip prices vary depending on the duration, location, and technical difficulty. In general, our prices are average to below-average compared to other guiding services. We believe we provide significantly above-average value, as attested by our testimonials.

We offer discounts to alumni and groups, as well as needs-based scholarships. Our goal is to make wilderness exploration accessible to as many people as possible.

Trip Photos and Videos

We know that a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why we capture the magic of our trips through photos and videos. You can find many inspiring images on our website, and for even more visual content, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We also have a YouTube channel where you can watch live events and get a taste of the adventure.

Why Choose Guided Trips?

There are countless reasons why our clients choose to embark on a trip with us. Here are just a few:

1. Learn to backpack, or backpack better

While you can certainly learn backpacking through self-guided experiences, you'll learn more efficiently and comprehensively with us. Our mandatory 9-week online course before the trip prepares you to make the most of your adventure. We cover everything from gear selection to meal planning, ensuring you have the necessary skills.

2. Adventure in world-class locations

Our venues are carefully selected to offer breathtaking and unforgettable experiences. From wild landscapes to historical sites, our guides will share their knowledge about the local flora, fauna, and human history. On longer itineraries, we stray off the beaten path to explore remote and rarely visited areas, making each trip unique and exciting.

3. Backpack with experts

Our expert guides are highly respected within the backpacking community. They have impressive resumes and are known for their supportive and patient approach. You'll have the privilege of learning from the best and interacting with guides who genuinely care about your experience.

4. Save money and time

We believe that investing in your backpacking future is essential, and learning through trial and error can be costly and disheartening. By joining our trips, you can avoid regrettable gear purchases and learn a comprehensive planning framework that will enhance every future trip. We handle all the logistical details, saving you time and effort.

5. Like-abled and like-minded groups

We take great care in forming groups that are well-matched in terms of physical abilities, outdoor experiences, and personal interests. This allows for a smoother and more enjoyable journey, fostering lasting friendships and future adventures. Our groups have a knack for reconnecting for independent trips outside of our program.

6. Personalized service

At Guided Trips, we pride ourselves on providing personalized service. We're not a massive corporation, but a small and intimate outfit that values every client. Our founder, Andrew Skurka, is personally involved in the planning and execution of each trip. You can reach out to him directly, and he'll be more than happy to assist you.

Descending from Grandview Pass, Olympic National Park Descending from Grandview Pass, Olympic National Park


Don't just take our word for it. Here's what some of our clients have to say:

  • "Wonderful instruction, wonderful guides, and wonderful people. I came on the trip having never slept alone in a tent before and I ended it cowboy camping on my own mesa without a care in the world." - Jeni P.
  • "I learned so much about gear and skills, and I’m a much more confident and knowledgeable backpacker now." - Greg J.
  • "This program gives you the academic foundation, thought processes, and practical experience to prepare you to plan and undertake your own backcountry adventures." - Michael D.
  • "I would backpack anywhere with them." - Stephanie C.

These are just a few examples of the praise we've received from our clients. They have found our trips transformative and inspiring, and we hope you will too.

To read more testimonials and learn about the incredible experiences our clients have had, visit our website.

Join Us on an Adventure!

Ready to embark on your own incredible journey? Choose Guided Trips for an unforgettable backpacking experience with expert guides, like-minded adventurers, and stunning locations.

Contact us today or visit our website for more information about trip prices and availability. We can't wait to explore the wilderness with you!

To operate commercially, Andrew Skurka Adventures LLC obtains permits from land agencies like the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. View authorizations for the current season.