Wilderness Society

NCOAE And The 20 Wilderness Areas You Have to See Before You Die

By Office Admin July 21, 2014

Teen Courses

The Wilderness Society — which is way up there near the top of the list for conservation organizations working to protect our nation’s shared wildlands — recently released its list of 20 wilderness areas to see before you die.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the nation’s Wilderness Act, which protects more than 750 wildland areas for public enjoyment, the Wilderness Society came up with its own countdown of Top 20 wilderness areas that everyone should visit before they die.


(Joshua Tree National Park. credit: Flickr, The City Project)

And after reviewing this impressive bucket list of wilderness destinations, some of us here at the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) did the math and discovered that five of these wildland destinations just happen to be “classrooms” where we often operate some of our wilderness expeditions. That’s a whopping quarter of the list — 25 percent to be exact!

Below, we’ve listed the Wilderness Society’s 20 prime destinations and we’ve placed asterisks next to the locations where we operate our own wildland programs:

  • Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, Oregon
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida
  • Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness, New Mexico
  • Joshua Tree Wilderness, California *
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
  • Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, Colorado
  • Zion Wilderness, Utah
  • Death Valley Wilderness, California
  • Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona
  • Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness, Hawaii *
  • Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness, California *
  • Yosemite Wilderness, California
  • Olympic Wilderness, Washington
  • Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, New Mexico
  • Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho
  • Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
  • Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado
  • Teton Wilderness, Wyoming *
  • Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire
  • Mollie Beattie Wilderness, Alaska *

Lists are nice and orderly, but what we’d like to do here is present a pretty picture of our particular prime pristine public parkland properties:

Joshua Tree Wilderness, California: We’re running a custom course for a private California-based school’s 7th and 8th graders in Joshua Tree in October. What these youngsters can expect is an area of fascinating rock formations in an area that is the convergence of Colorado and the Mojave deserts where the Joshua tree thrives. Joshua Tree is also the hometown of five palm-shrouded oases that attract tarantulas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, kangaroo rats and burrowing owls. And at night, you can’t beat the stars.

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness, California: We’re currently planning a fall 2015 course in this wilderness area, which runs the gamut of outdoor natural formations, ranging from (more…)

Continue Reading


Have any further questions about our courses, what you’ll learn, or what else to expect? Contact us, we’re here to help!