Basic Outdoor Skills Course

group learning to calculate time with the sun

Learn what to do when the "what if" of your outdoor adventures turn into the "now what". This course will teach you the best items to take on any outdoor adventure and how to best use them in a survival situation. Participants young and old will learn about water purification, how to navigate with and without a compass, how to build an emergency fire, how to determine the amount daylight left, and basic first aid. Presented in an informative and interesting way, this activity is perfect for nature lovers, outdoor adventurers and guests who are looking to expand their knowledge of outdoor safety and adventure.

This course is designed for all outdoor enthusiasts and focuses on key elements for not simply surviving, but thriving when outdoor adventures turn into challenges. Led by Shenandoah Mountain Guides.

Available select dates and limited to 10 participants.

  • Meet at grassy lawn area in front of the main lodge building 30 minutes prior to event beginning.
  • No refunds if guest arrives late for the event.

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2024 Schedule
Date Depart Return Location
Apr 12 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
May 10 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
Jun 14 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
Jul 12 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
Aug 9 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
Sept 13 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge
Oct 11 9:00 AM 4:00 PM Big Meadows Lodge

  • Cost: $160 per person.
  • Includes a $15 meal voucher redeemable in the Spottswood Dining Room, Terrace Seating, or New Market Taproom upon completion of the event.
  • Reservations required and full payment due at booking.
  • Event will take place in all weather conditions excluding thunderstorms.

It is recommended that participants:

  • Wear long pants, shoes or boots comfortable for rough mountain travel, and insect repellent.
  • Dress in layers, minimizing the use of cotton - as it has very little insulation.
  • Bring a daypack or small backpack to carry supplies, as well as clothing you might shed while hiking.
  • Click the "What To Bring" accordion below to view other recommended supplies.

The goal of this course is to teach you basic survival skills using the following tools, so it's recommended you provide your own if possible, but Shenandoah Mountain Guides will have supplies on hand if you are unable to do so.

  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool (leatherman/gerber style)
  • Empty Gatorade Style Plastic Bottle or a 1 Litre Nalgene
  • Hotspark Fire Starting Tool
  • Small Box of Matches
  • 2 Ziplock Baggies (quart or gallon size)
  • Pack of Lifesavers
  • Headlamp
  • An Old CD
  • Sportsman's Reflective Blanket (not the small, thin emergency type)
  • Aqua Mira Drops, Katadyn Tablets (chlorine dioxide), or Polar Pure Tablets (iodine)
  • 55 Gallon Contractor-Style Trash Bag
  • Plumbers Candle
  • Hiking Poles
  • 20 Feet of Parachute Cord
  • Small Roll of Duct Tape
  • Any Medications You Need for Asthma or Bee Stings
  • Reservations required, and full payment due at booking.
  • Maximum of 10 paid participants accepted for all departures.
  • Minimum of 2 paid participants required for program to be offered.
  • Should program be cancelled due to lack of participation or severe weather conditions, 7 day advance notice will be given.
  • 7 day advance cancellation notice is required.
  • Unfortunately, wheelchairs and walkers are not okay as the event does not take place on accessible walking areas.
  • Minimum age required is 12 years. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
  • No pets allowed.
Shenandoah Mountain Guides is a permitted and licensed guiding/educational service provider for Shenandoah National Park.

Working from a base of operations high in the Blue Ridge mountains, the Shenandoah Mountain Guides is internationally known for quality instruction and guiding. With some of the best paddling streams and most remote mountain highlands in the eastern US located nearby, we offer exceptional educational programs in canoeing, backpacking, orienteering, survival/outdoor skills, mountain biking, outdoor leadership, rock climbing and environmental awareness.

The instructional staff serves on the faculty of several colleges and universities as well as on the staff of several national certifying agencies for instructors and trainers. We teach the teachers.

The self-defined mission of Shenandoah Mountain Guides is to help folks get out from behind the steering wheel and out of the car to see, hear, and feel what a treasure Shenandoah National Park is. Towards that end they have developed a schedule designed to introduce different sections of the park at particularly special and scenic times.

Whether you visit Shenandoah with the guides or on your own, we hope you will take the time to explore this mountainous gem of a national park. You’ll be amazed at what you find!

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P.O. Box 727, Luray, Virginia 22835 | 877-847-1919