Alternative Break

Spend Your School Break Making a Difference

Volunteer Vacation Icon with heart and trail tools

Make Spring Break
Mean Something

Volunteer Vacation Icon of two people sitting around a campfire under a starry sky

Make Memories Outdoors

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Make a Difference

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 and young professionals. Part volunteer work project, part kick-back outdoor vacation.

Read the General Information page for more details. THANK YOU to all the 2020 Alternative Break Volunteers!

Receive Alternative Break Notifications

We are excited to unveil our 2021 Alternative Break portfolio of trips in August. Please fill out the following form to receive an email when trips have been posted.

General Information

Matthew Mage

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, check out all the trips we offer as part of our year-round  Volunteer Vacations program. Volunteer Vacations 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Secure Your Alternative Break Today

To secure an Alternative Break location for your group or for questions about the program, please read the info above, then contact Libby Wile at [email protected] or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.

We will be posting 2021 trips in August!

Sarah Mekonnen
StMarks National Wildlife Refuge

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge/Florida Trail, Florida

Host: Florida Trail Association
Maximum Group Size: 10
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Talbot Islands State Park, Florida

Host: Florida State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
three rivers

Three Rivers State Park, Florida

Host: Florida State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
Torreya

Torreya State Park, Florida

Host: Florida State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 12
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Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Illinois

Host: T.O.N.E.C.
Maximum Group Size: 15
mammoth cave

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Host: National Park Service
Maximum Group Size: 12
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Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Missouri

Host: Missouri State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 30
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Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

Host: Missouri State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
natchez bridge

Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Host: Tennessee State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 12
belle isle

Belle Isle State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 14
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James River State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 12
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Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
pocahontas

Pocahontas State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
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York River State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15

Secure Your Alternative Break Today

To secure an Alternative Break location for your group or for questions about the program, please read the general information section, then contact Libby Wile at [email protected] or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.