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.

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 that are open for individual registration.

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. Most Alternative Breaks will offer either indoor accommodations (bunkhouses, cabins, lodges) or access to a campground site.

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.

General Information

2014 Alternative Breaks

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
We all felt very proud to be part of this project & are looking forward to visiting the trails we built in our future.
Taylor W., University of Wisconsin
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

We are excited to unveil our 2015 Alternative Break portfolio in September!  Please fill out the following FORM to be notified via email when trips have been posted.  Please contact Libby Wile, at or call 1-800-972-8608 ext. 206 with questions.