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Guided Trips

Overlooking Roosevelt Lake, on the descent from Don’t Be A Smart Pass

Want to learn to backpack, or backpack better?

Want to undertake a wilderness adventure that will expand your skills and comfort zone?

I offer learning-intensive and adventure-rich guided backpacking courses and trips in California, Colorado, Alaska, West Virginia, and southern Utah.

We have been in operation since 2011, and have run exactly 100 trips with about 750 total clients.

To help me lead and instruct, I have assembled a world-class guide team. We specialize in lightweight backpacking, long-distance thru-hikes, and off-trail high routes.

2020 program

Update (mid-November): I’m in the process of confirming 2020 details and updating these pages. Most items will be finalized by mid-December.

For tentative trip dates and locations, view the 2020 trip schedule.

As in the past, I am offering three trip types, each designed for a particular level of backpacking experience:

  • Fundamemtals (3 days), for beginners;
  • Adventure (5 or 7 days), for intermediates; and,
  • Expedition (8 days), for advanced.

The open application period will start in the first week of January (if not in December) and close in mid-January. Afterwards, spots will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you have questions about the trips, please contact me. Apply now!

Why take a trip with us?

Our clients vary in their motivations, but generally it’s a mix of these factors:

1. Learn to backpack

One of our primary goals is to teach clients how to backpack on their own. We tailor the teaching level to the group. Beginners will learn how to develop a gear list, plan meals, create map, read a map, protect food overnight, and more; while experienced groups will focus on more advanced skills like off-trail navigation, early-season snow travel, and insect management.

2. Adventure in world-class locations

Our classrooms include some of my all-time favorite backcountry locations, including the Colorado Rockies, High Sierra, and Alaska. These locations have jaw-dropping scenery and ample room to roam — and we know exactly where to find both. With us, you can undertake a more creative and challenging route than you might on your own.

3. Backpack with experts

We are true backpacking experts. For example, Jessica and Paul completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails, the so-called Triple Crown of thru-hiking — and Brian did them all in a single calendar year! Alan and Dave prefer high routes in the Wind River Range, High Sierra, and Colorado Rockies. And Justin climbed Colorado’s one-hundred highest peaks (including 50+ over 14,000 feet) on a 60-day bike-packing expedition.

Don’t let our resumes worry you, however. We develop the itineraries to suit you, and love to teach and to show off our favorite places. Plus, we’re reasonably normal people — most of us have families, careers, and other hobbies.

4. Save time & money

Learning to backpack through trial-and-error can be expensive and deflating. Our trips are an investment in your backpacking future: we will help you to avoid regrettable purchases and to enjoy every trip to its max. You can reduce your expenses further by borrowing our demo gear and using our discounts with preferred vendors.

Planning backpacking trips can be time-consuming, and can be a deterrent to getting out. We mostly relieve you of this task — we’ll find the location, set the dates, plan the route, specify a gear list, create the maps, obtain the permits, and make your breakfasts and dinners.

5. Personalized service

Andrew Skurka Adventures LLC is a small outfit. I still guide about half the trips, and I’m on-site for the others. If you email or call me, I’ll personally respond. I will also get you on the “right” trip, by grouping you with others that have similar fitness, experience, goals, and ideally even interests and life stories. Apply now!

Arrigetch Creek, as seen from the summit of Ariel Peak


What do clients say about their experience with us. Read a comprehensive list of reviews, videos, and testimonials, or get a sampling below.

The trip exceeded my expectations! The people were great, the scenery was beyond compare, and I felt I was in really good hands with my guides. Compared to what you get elsewhere, the level of instruction and preparation far exceeds anything else I have seen. I look forward to going on more trips with Andrew and his team! — Michele T

Stop living vicariously through your favorite YouTube backpacking stars! Instead, learn from Andrew about the gear and skills you need to go on the amazing adventures that you love to watch online. The 3-day course is ideal for someone who has little first-hand experience or free time, and needs hiking partners. — John W

I’ve been studying Andrew’s methods for years, and this guided trip was the perfect practical application of all of those things. — Zachary G

It was an incredible trip led by an all-star guide team. I learned a lot about off-route travel and developed confidence and skills to start exploring high routes on my own. The route itself was out of this world, and the entire experience is a bucket-list item. — Victoria L

The highest praise I can give Andrew’s trips is that I would not hesitate for a moment in spending my hard earned dollars and using my limited vacation time to take another trip with him! — Glenn S

The 5-day Adventure trip was a pivotal outdoor experience for me. I had done several 5-6 day trip of my own before, but I reached a point where I really needed someone else to help me develop more advanced skills. This trip has provided the foundation for many future off-trail adventures, from putting together a gear list and researching trail conditions, to field navigation and gaining confidence both on and off the trail. — Keela P

Andrew’s commitment to excellence in every aspect and detail of his guided trips is really a pretty special thing to witness. I learned a ton -– and I know that my own future backcountry adventures will be better planned, better executed, and more enjoyable because of the knowledge and experience I gained from Andrew and his team. — David K

Andrew has a wonderful way of cranking up the adventure factor, pushing to the boundaries of his crew, and giving everyone the experience of a lifetime. I will keep going on Andrews trips as long as he will keep accepting my applications. — Sonja W

I can’t play golf with Tiger or shoot around with Steph Curry, but I got a chance to hike with Flyin’ Brian Robison and Andrew Skurka. I’ve been backpacking for 40 years, but this was the best training I’ve received in land navigation since Ranger School. — Peter F

Read more testimonials

Seneca Creek, West Virginia

For the 2020 season, Andrew Skurka Adventures LLC has received authorization to operate from specific National Park Service units and US Forest Service districts. View the complete list.