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Like to see new terrain? Want to go to parts of Southern Utah even BOSS staff members haven't been yet? Then this is the course for you! The BOSS Pathfinder course (new for 2011) is all about exploration and discovery: grab a rope, some maps, basic field gear, and head out with our staff for a 7-day adventure. There will no doubt be some bushwhacking and probably some dead ends, but there'll also definitely be some fun as we hike off into the unknown wilderness together and cover some spectacular terrain.

About the Course

The 7-Day Pathfinder course begins with a crash course in primitive living skills, just so everyone is familiar with BOSS's style of backcountry travel. Students learn (or relearn) how to make a blanketpack, how to make friction fire, how to walk lightly in the wilderness. We then grab the maps and compasses and set a route we hope to accomplish. Not for the faint of heart, the course will attempt to cover a lot of terrain, just like our Field courses. On the Pathfinder course, though, there is no Impact, no Solo, and no Student Expedition phases. The goal is to hike together, noting geographical features and exploring the terrain with an eye toward future expeditions. This is the course for people who love to hike, love to explore and love to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of visiting unknown terrain.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS Courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and desert hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its reputation as the survival school to go to when you want to learn from the best in the industry.

Less is More

In line with the BOSS Positive Impact Camping philosophy, the Pathfinder  course has a decided emphasis on using renewable, natural resources. Tents, sleeping bags, stoves, backpacks and many other "required" pieces of outdoor equipment are replaced with their low-tech counterparts: a poncho, a blanket, a campfire. The motto here is "Know more, Carry less" and we'll explore how traditional cultures lived comfortably without all the modern gadgets like watches, radios, cellphones, etc (which are not allowed). Come learn how back-country travel can be a less intrusive and more harmonious experience.

Course Prerequisites

BOSS strongly suggests that students on the Pathfinder course possess a certain level of comfort in the wilderness and a certain degree of competency and proficiency with primitive survival skills prior to taking this course. These skills can be obtained on the longer Field courses at BOSS, or elsewhere. If taken at BOSS, the suggested courses should have been completed within the past 5 years. If you prefer, it's possible to take both the primary and advanced course within the same season at BOSS.

This prerequisite is suggested so that all students enter this course with a clear understanding of the primitive lifestyle and the skills that are needed to successfully travel lightly and quickly in the wilderness. If you have more questions about this, please contact us.

Course Content

Skills taught on the Pathfinder course vary with the group's needs and desires. However, we hope to teach everyone the basic and advanced skills of navigation, orienteering, and wilderness travel so that each person gains a level of comfort and competency to use these skills on his or her own. Fire construction, shelter construction, water procurement and purification, campsite selection and other skills taught on our Field courses will also be covered.


Orientation Welcome to BOSS, gear review & purchase.
Expedition 6 days of travel with BOSS instructors into unfamiliar terrain. Hiking, climbing, rappeling, swimming, etc may all be required to successfully navigate the landscape.
Celebration/Graduation A celebratory graduation ceremony.

Course Location

This course takes place in the canyons and on the mesas surrounding Boulder, Utah. All 7 days of the course are in the field, where students learn traditional living skills and the arts of orienteering.

The BOSS Challenge

On the BOSS Pathfinder course, students will likely hike long distances over the rugged terrain found in Southern Utah's desert canyons – sometimes 10 or more miles in one day. The combination of high exertion and moderate rations usually leaves students 5 to 7 pounds leaner at the end of the course. However, please note that rations on the Pathfinder course will be larger than those on our Field courses, and there will be no Impact phase at the beginning of the course.

Health and Safety

BOSS requires that all Explorer course applicants undergo a complete physical examination and receive their physician's approval in writing prior to final acceptance on the course.

Please keep in mind, despite your physician's approval and BOSS's acceptance of you on the course, there are no guarantees.  Health and participation risks (inherent and otherwise) remain. It's up to you and your physician to determine if a BOSS course is an appropriate choice. All participants must be aware of these risks and embrace them. For more information, please select "Learn More" under Health and Safety in the column to the right.


The key to a successful course is a student's maturity and his or her interest in learning in a skills-intensive environment. Students younger than 18 must be physically and mentally mature enough to handle a course of this nature, and must also come with a parent or guardian.

Food and Diet

All students are provided with BOSS food packs that provide a student with approximately 1500-2000 calories per day — enough to keep you healthy and active for the duration of the course. Students who wish to supplement their diet with wild edibles may do so in a responsible manner but only with instructor permission. Students with allergies or dietary restrictions should contact our office. For more information, please select "Learn More" under Food at BOSS in the column to the right.

Dates and Prices

Course dates, prices, and availability are listed to the right, at the top of the page.  You can also download our complete course calendar in Adobe Acrobat PDF by clicking here. If you have any questions, please submit them via the Contact BOSS page or call us at 800.335.7404 or 435.335.7404.