Take a course in Alaska's wildest classrooms!

Field Courses

Alaska Geographic offers high quality learning experiences. Popular multi-day field courses immerse participants in intensive wilderness-based experiences led by experts in fields ranging from geology and birds to mosses, mammals, and more. These are active learning vacations. Participants must be in good physical condition and ready for some of the challenges of exploring Alaska. Hiking distances and physical fitness levels are described in greater detail for each course. These courses are accredited through the University of Alaska and are designed for adults.

Teachers: Click here for more accredited courses designed just for you!

Boreal Forest Ecology

May 31 – June 2
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450 Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Explore the forests of Denali to better understand how they function, thrive, and handle challenges such as insect outbreak or fire. Wander in and out of the woods observing changes in plant communities and variation in forest structure across otherwise subtle boundaries of soil condition. With Denali National Park Fire Ecologist Sarah Stehn, we’ll meet and greet several key players (e.g., plant species) in forest function, both at the ragged edge and in the heart of subarctic forest ecosystems. We’ll investigate the interconnections between the biotic (plants and animals) and abiotic (soils and topography) worlds and learn more about how forests change over time and space.

moderately strenuous iconHiking may be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain. Hikes will cover distances of approximately 3 – 5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, click here.

Explore your Environment with Alaska Project Learning Tree

June 5 – 7Course designed for teachers
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450 Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)
Alaska educators eligible for $250 scholarship

Project Learning Tree offers flexible and engaging lessons that incorporate STEM, language arts, and social studies, and encourage collaborative, inquiry-based learning that can be integrated into your existing curriculum.  Students benefit in multiple ways from nature-based learning: decreased anxiety, reduced stress, improved behavior, and increased engagement, to name a few. And teachers do too! In this unique teacher workshop, we’ll explore the boreal forest and tundra, learning about natural history while being immersed in outdoor teaching and learning techniques.  PLT coordinator Molly Gillespie will pair standard based activities with artist and educator Molissa Udevitz who will guide educators in daily mindful movement activities as another way to explore the natural world.  You’ll slow down, heighten your senses, and deepen your understanding of – and connection to – Denali’s environment and the natural world.  These activities can be used with your students to incorporate more kinesthetic and social-emotional learning into your classes. You’ll leave this workshop with ideas, inspiration, and a breath of fresh air!

Thanks to funding from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s Education Grant for Alaska Project Learning Tree, educators working in Alaska are eligible for a $250 scholarship for this course!   More information can be found on the registration page.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Birds of Denali

June 7 – 9
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450 Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Denali comes alive in June with birds arriving from all over the world to their summer home in the far north. These migrants join the hardy year round residents to offer the Denali birder amazing opportunities to view and study a diverse avifauna in a spectacular landscape. With long time resident and naturalist Nan Eagleson, we’ll venture out into the tundra and taiga to learn how to identify birds by sight and sound. We’ll also discuss avian behavior, habitat selection, food habits and migration ecology.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain.  Hikes will cover distances of approximately 4 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Paleontology in Denali

June 12 – 14
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450 Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price) 

It’s been almost 20 years since the first evidence of dinosaurs was found in Denali National Park. Since then, thousands of tracks and plant fossils have been discovered – and even a few bones – helping to paint a picture of an extinct Cretaceous ecosystem. Join paleontologist Patrick Druckenmiller, Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, for an inside look at his current research in Denali to better understand dinosaurs and their environment. In this field-based course, we will learn how to recognize dinosaur tracks and other fossils and test this knowledge by visiting potential new sites. We will also learn some of the paleontological tools-of-the-trade and contribute to real research on Alaskan dinosaurs.

strenuous hiking iconField courses are active learning experiences and take place off trail in Denali’s wilderness. Hiking will be strenuous, covering distances of 5 miles round trip and including 1,500 feet of elevation gain on both days. We will be hiking off trail on steep, rough, uneven, and unstable rocks, tundra, and/or forested terrain and will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in very good physical condition and prepared to hike as described on both days.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, click here.

Yoga in Denali: Land and Body

June 21 – 24
Denali National Park and Preserve
$495 Alaska Geographic member price ($550 non-member price) 

The Sanskrit term yuj, from which the word yoga is derived, is usually translated as “union” or “linking.” This joining is the focus of Yoga in Denali: Land & Body. The grand landscape of Denali invites the soul to remember the most cherished relationships and “links” in life. Through breathing practices, sequences of asanas (physical postures), and meditation in nature, you can build a deeper understanding and connection to Denali. Join Mila Cooper, a yoga teacher with over 14 years of experience, in being humbled by the environment and strengthened in body and spirit through yoga practice. Come away inspired to incorporate stewardship of natural places into your daily life and practice. This course is appropriate for all experience levels.

moderately strenuous iconNo prior yoga experience is needed for this course.  Hiking will also be included and will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, and may cover distances of up to 4 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Wildflowers of Denali

June 25 – 27
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450 Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price) 

Each summer Denali blooms in a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers. Join local naturalist Eric Groth for an exploration of these beautiful mountainside colors. While hiking the hillsides we’ll learn how to identify plants by sight, with a hand lens, and with field guides.  We’ll investigate how subarctic flora adapt to extreme latitude and high elevation while exploring the park’s unique patterns of plant diversity and ecological history. This is designed as an introductory course to Denali’s wildflowers and other plants.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain.  Hikes will cover distances of approximately 4 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Artist Expedition: Researching Water

June 28 – 30
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic Member Price ($500 non-member price)

Embark on an immersive artist research expedition in the heart of Denali National Park, where breathtaking landscapes and pristine waters will serve as both muse and medium. Tailored for artists of all levels, this workshop aims to deepen understanding of research-based art, blending scholarly inquiry and artistic processes. With Alaskan artists and educators Carol and Tom Turner, you’ll explore Alaska’s diverse waters, from glaciers and rivers to rainfall. We’ll hike along riverbeds, have the option to experience white-water rafting, and gain new techniques to incorporate into your research-based art practice, such as data collection and analysis.  Please note: The optional white water raft trip will take place on Friday afternoon before the official course start and will incur an additional $182.50 fee.  You may choose this option upon registering.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Play in the Park: Family Outdoor School for the Very Young

July 2 – 4
Denali National Park and Preserve
$252 per person Alaska Geographic Member Price ($280 non-member price)

Have you wanted to explore Denali with your tiny humans but feel a bit daunted by the logistics? Let us take care of the logistics and join a knowledgeable science educator for some family fun in the park. You and your children will enjoy safely exploring nature, hands on activities, and relaxation in the outdoors while learning about the amazing park ecosystem. This course is designed to bolster your confidence in exploring wild places with small children and create an enjoyable nature experience for the whole family. This course is designed for families with children 5 years old and younger.  If your family has children both under and over 5, please contact us to discuss the best course for your family.

moderately strenuous icon

Field courses are active learning experiences and take place off trail in Denali’s wilderness. Hiking will be moderate over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain. We may encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and small stream crossings. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Register Here

Family Outdoor School

July 12 – 14
Denali National Park and Preserve
$252 per person Alaska Geographic Member Price ($280 non-member price)

Come explore Denali with us! Create lasting memories and help the whole family develop a deep love for Denali and the outdoors. You’ll enjoy guided activities with a Murie Science and Learning Center science educator throughout the weekend. We’ll offer ideas on how to connect with nature through games, activities, stories, and more, as well as build our outdoor skills. Packing list should include curiosity, smiles, a sense of adventure and your playful spirit! This course is designed for families with children 5 years old and older.  If your family has children both over and under 5, please contact us to discuss the best course for your family.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven forest, and river bar terrain covering distances of up to 3 miles round trip with as much as 1000 feet of elevation gain. We may encounter wet forest conditions and small stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

This course is currently sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, click here.

Denali's Alpine Wildlife

July 19 – 21
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

We are living in a time of unprecedented change. Alaska is changing rapidly due to a warming climate and organisms that live in Denali’s alpine areas are experiencing conditions that they haven’t encountered before. Join National Park Service wildlife biologist Carol McIntyre on daily hikes into Denali’s alpine ecosystem, home to Dall sheep, collared pikas and more. We’ll learn about the many ways that scientists are studying how alpine species and ecosystems are responding to a rapidly warming climate. In the evening, we’ll talk about our observations and learn more about the cascading effects of climate change.

strenuous hiking icon

Hiking will be strenuous over extremely rugged, steep, unstable, and uneven terrain, covering distances of 3 – 5 miles round trip with as much as 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Because this course will explore Denali’s alpine ecosystem, participants should be prepared to traverse extremely steep and exposed talus slopes along narrow sheep trails, and potentially across snow fields and cold glacially fed rivers and streams. Participants should be prepared to hike up and down steep slopes and scramble across narrow ridges at higher elevations. Participants must be in very good physical condition and should not have a fear of heights.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Wolves of Denali

July 26 – 28
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Wolves are a potent symbol of wilderness in our society, and Denali is one of the world’s best places for learning about these elusive predators. Join Denali National Park’s wolf biologist Bridget Borg in the field as we explore predator and prey relationships, wolf behavior, social structure, and wildlife management issues facing the National Park Service. Learn the latest in wolf research as we search wildlife corridors for tracks and signs of this fascinating species.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, click here.

Geology of Denali

August 2 – 4
Denali National Park and Preserve

$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Denali’s dramatic landscape has been sculpted and scoured by tectonics, glaciers, rivers, and landslides. Join University of Alaska Fairbanks Geology professor and researcher Sean Regan for an introduction to Denali’s geology. We will spend our days hiking mountains and valleys learning how geologists study the Earth and interpret the landscape’s story. We’ll learn basic mineral and rock identification, decipher evidence of past glaciations, examine dynamic braided rivers, and visit areas affected by permafrost and landslides.

strenuous hiking iconHiking will be strenuous, covering distances up to several miles round trip and including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on steep, rough, uneven, and unstable rocks, tundra, and/or forested terrain. Depending on prevailing conditions we may encounter stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Bears of Denali

August 14 – 16
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

As the days grow shorter, grizzly bears are preparing for their long winter’s sleep. Join Denali National Park wildlife biologist Pat Owen and hear tales from her 30 years of studying bears in the park. We will spend our time investigating grizzly bear habitat while learning about this animal’s behavior, life history, and their role in the Denali ecosystem. We’ll also discuss ongoing grizzly bear research and how to stay safe in bear country.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here

Mushrooms in Denali

August 16 – 18
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Late summer showcases a wealth of mushrooms throughout interior Alaska. Join local naturalist Eric Groth in Denali National Park to learn various techniques for identifying native wild mushrooms. Taking clues from the landscape, we’ll hone our observation skills and gain experience using field guides. We’ll learn about the many roles mushrooms play in Denali’s vastly different environments as we gain an appreciation for wild mushrooms and how they influence our lives.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderate, covering distances of approximately 1 mile round trip, and including as much as 500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on uneven tundra and forest terrains and will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and small stream crossings.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, click here.

Ecology of Migratory Birds

August 24 – 27
Denali National Park and Preserve
$2700 Alaska Geographic member price ($2800 non-member price)
Price includes food and lodging at Kantishna Roadhouse and round trip flights from Denali Air

Autumn in Denali is bustling with activity as resident birds are getting ready for the long subarctic winter and migratory species are preparing for their amazing journeys that often span continents and even oceans. Join long time resident and naturalist Nan Eagleson to explore ridges, forests and wetlands in the Kantishna region of the park as we search for the many different species of birds that live or migrate through the Denali area. In addition to watching migrating birds in action, we’ll learn about bird ecology and conservation of these amazing species. This course is based out of the Kantishna Roadhouse and will require a flight in and out.  Food, lodging, and flights are included in the course price.  Please note: this course has its own cancellation policy found here.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.  The syllabus and the specific registration information will be available in April.

Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Here
Custom Field Courses

Applications are open for the 2024 season. Please see our custom programs to learn more.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations and/or substitutions that occur 60 days in advance of the course start date will be refunded the course fee, less a processing fee of $50 per space. For cancellations and/or substitutions 59 to 8 days before the course start date, the entire fee will be retained unless we can fill your space. There will be no refunds within 7 days of the course start date. Registration fees are not transferable to future years. If we have to cancel a course, your entire fee will be refunded. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used during the original transaction if less than 60 days since the original transaction. All other refunds will be made through a mailed check. All membership purchases are non-refundable and non-transferable.  The Ecology of Migratory Birds cancellation policy is found here.