Alternative Break

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What is an Alternative Break with the American Hiking Society?

American Hiking Society’s Alternative Breaks are volunteer trail stewardship projects in America’s parks and forests designed specifically for college student groups. Part volunteer work project, part kick-back outdoor vacation.  Read the General Information page for more details.

The Crew

Alternative Break crews are generally 8-15 students. Supervision during the project will be provided by our experienced project hosts.  Each trip has a group minimum that must be met to secure your group’s week. If you want to volunteer over your break as an individual, visit here to see all the trips we are offering as part of our year-round  Volunteer Vacations program (registration for 2017 Volunteer Vacations will open in early December). Volunteer Vacations are are open for individual registration and are not limited to college students (There will be a variety of ages of participants on these trips).  Many of these trips will coincide with your spring and summer break.

The Setup

Most trips last one week with weekends used for group travel. Alternative Breaks combine day hiking, trail work, exploration, crew camaraderie, and FUN into a weeks time and are scheduled for your student group to participate during your school break. Never been hiking or done trail work before? We welcome you! Alternative Breaks don’t require any prior trail work experience, just a good attitude and a willingness to get a little dirty!

The Accommodations

Lodging options vary depending on the trip you choose. Alternative Breaks will offer either indoor accommodations (bunkhouses, cabins, lodges) or access to a campground site where you bring your own tent and camping supplies.  All locations will offer access to indoor bathrooms and either a full service kitchen or camp cooking gear for meal prep.

The Experience

Make new friends and share laughter over a campfire. Experience an amazing sense of accomplishment after building a bridge or restoring a neglected trail. Connect with the land. Experience nature first-hand. Spend your break doing something that makes a lasting difference.

The Locations

We are offering 11 different Alternative Break location options in 2017 located in 4 states across the country.  Trips in California, Florida, Missouri and Virginia give your group more access to projects that are drive-able from your school/university.  To review the full lineup of 2017 Alternative Break projects, including project descriptions, area and attraction descriptions, and accommodation descriptions, visit the 2017 Alternative Break Schedule.

Secure Your Alternative Break Today

To book secure an Alternative Break location for your group or for questions about the program, please read through the General Information then contact Libby Wile at LWile@AmericanHiking.org or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.

——   2017 AB Trip Locations   ——
——    General Information   ——
Spending a week in the woods, volunteering outside every day, & forming close friendships with other participants was truly a fantastic experience.
Mackenzie H., Ohio State University
Everyone felt a sense of community with the park staff & with each other even though we had all just met. It really brought us all together.
Morgan W., Centre College
Every year I enjoy the challenge of completing a project with a group of hard-working, difference-making, iron-willed college students. Many projects these spring-breakers work on wouldn’t be completed if these groups didn’t volunteer their time to help.
Josh H., Project Host


 If you would like to share the Alternative Break experience with others, download and distribute this flyer: American Hiking Society Alternative Break.
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