Day Trip

Alaska Backcountry Skills Course

Learn travel techniques for the Alaskan backcountry.

Backpacking in the Alaskan wilderness requires a unique set of skills. There are very few trails in this remote wilderness and navigation over diverse terrain is often required. You’ll cross glaciers, travel through bear country, and cross rivers. River crossings, with their swift currents and cold water, present one of the most dangerous and underrated challenges for hikers. There are no bridges to carry you over these obstacles, so knowing safe travel techniques is essential. Responsible hikers and backpackers are wise to educate themselves before departing for their trip. Our Backcountry Skills Seminar gives you the opportunity to learn safe backcountry travel techniques from our professional guides.


Want the full itinerary? See our Backcountry Skills Seminar Itinerary for more information!A

Tour Details

1 participant – $480 total
2 participants – $640 total
3 participants – $690 total
4 participants – $800 total
5 participants – $950 total
6 participants – $1,080 total


Variable – may include creek crossings, glacial travel, loose rock, etc.

Tour Length
8-9 hours

Tour Start Times
9 am

Dates Offered
Daily from May 26th – September 10th, 2023

Age Limit
All ages welcome!

Group Size
Always private


Trip Highlights

  • Learn how to travel in the Alaskan backcountry from our professional guides
  • Practice different river crossing techniques
  • Discuss safe camping and traveling in bear country
  • Go over glacial travel on the Alaska Root Glacier

Once you book your trip, you’ll receive a confirmation with all the information you need!

What’s Included?

  • Experienced and knowledgeable guide
  • Private lessons on Alaskan backcountry travel
  • Roundtrip transportation! 

(Pick-up time and location vary depending on your lodging location. Please reference your confirmation for specific details.)

What’s Not Included?

Equipment List

What you bring for your backcountry trip is one of the most important parts of your trip planning process! If this is your first time hiking in Alaska, there may be a few extra things you’ll need to pack. Don’t be caught ill-prepared in the backcountry – check out our Alaska Backpacking Equipment List. Carefully curated, each item on this list has a purpose! 

For your Backcountry Skills Seminar, come prepared with your fully packed backpack along with snacks, lunch and water for the day.


We are located in the heart of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. There is a 60mi dirt road that connects us to the highway system and there is also an airstrip in town!
There are several options for getting to McCarthy-Kennecott – driving, riding in a van shuttle, taking a scheduled or chartered flight, or some combination of these options. Please visit our Transportation+Lodging page for more detailed information.

Tipping is customary in the guiding industry and always appreciated. Our guides are paid professionals but tips make up a significant portion of their income and can go a long way toward making guiding a feasible long-term career choice. For our day trips, a good estimate is between 10% and 20% of the trip cost. So if you go on a day hike or climb with us, that would come to between $10 and $35 per person, depending on the trip and the percentage. As in any industry, your tip should be based on the service you feel you received. If you had the time of your life, the sky’s the limit! You can tip your guides in cash, via Venmo or you can leave a gratuity on your card. If your trip includes a flight you should plan on tipping your pilot independently, any amount that you pre-tip will go to your guide directly. Thank you for considering this ahead of time!

St. Elias Alpine Guides was started in McCarthy in 1978 by legendary climber Bob Jacobs who wanted to explore even more remote wilds and was feeling like Denali was getting too crowded even back in the 70s! The current owners worked as guides for the company for many years before taking over the business and are only the third owners in 40 years! We’ve been around longer than the Park itself and are the longest continually operating business in the area. We are proud of our long and consistent legacy in the most magnificent wilderness on earth! To learn more about us, click here.

Meet the incredible guides that are the heart of our trips!

Who are the guides that make up the St. Elias Alpine Guides team? They are a diverse and competent group of people from all across the country. Their extensive outdoor experience, wilderness medical training, and great personalities make them stand out from the crowd. We put them through a thorough training program unique to our area – glaciology lessons, backcountry navigation, and training trips on the slopes of the Wrangell Mountains add to our guides’ abilities to adapt and dominate in the diverse terrain of WSENP. From a glacier hike to an 8-day expedition, they’ll be sure to make it a trip of a lifetime! Because our schedule is as dynamic as the environment we live in, we usually assign guides the night before for our Day Trips. And while we can’t guarantee who your guide will be – we love and trust every one of them and we know you will too!

Cancellation Policy

Your payment is fully refundable up to 48 hours prior to the start of the trip. If anything comes up prior to that time, call or email us to cancel your reservation for a full refund. Within 48 hours, there is no refund for cancellations. No-shows will be charged the full price. Our trips go out rain or shine! In the rare event that we to cancel a trip due to dangerous conditions, you will be notified and receive a full refund.

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