Frank Church River
of No Return
Wilderness Classroom



87 miles

Trip Length

Trip Length

6 days, 5 nights

Group Size

Group Size

Up to 24 guests


“The Frank’s” vast wilderness ecosystem offers a unique learning environment. Students are immersed in the development of a broad range of outdoor skills and personal safety awareness.

Each participant departs with a well-rounded understanding of the importance of protecting wilderness areas and free flowing rivers. This rugged and roadless river canyon is rich in human history dating back over 8000 years.

Students will learn how early inhabitants used the river and its flora, geology and wildlife to survive.


May, early June and later September dates by request.

  • Objectives

    Expose students to the wonders of the longest and largest free-flowing wilderness river in the lower 48 states. Provide an experience in a unique setting geared to enhancing the class bond with each other and their teachers. Promote individual and group responsibility for safety, trip chores and care for one another.

    Develop an understanding and appreciation of minimum impact wilderness travel. Develop river specific wilderness skills.

  • Wilderness Classroom

    This completely free-flowing river canyon is the ideal outdoor classroom. Students will leave with an in-depth understanding of the area and its history. Groups encounter Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, black bear, moose, deer, elk, and the always playful river otter. When looking to the clear blue sky, students will observe Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and the constantly fishing Osprey.

    In camp, topics are generally location specific depending on the attributes of each camp. Some may have pictographs within walking distance, or some may have unique geological features. Others may have interesting flora or fauna to explore and discuss or maybe a historic homestead to visit.

After dinner, it’s time to sit around the campfire, relax and reflect on the days activities. During the evening, time is set aside for students to write in their journals. Mackay provides each student with a packet of study materials including a journal and books about the river and some of its more colorful inhabitants.




$28,000 per group

What’s Included
  • Ground transportation

    Ground shuttle from Boise, ID to the river and back to Boise.

  • River Classroom

    6 Days exploring Idaho’s River of No Return

  • Meals during your trip

    Students and staff learn how to prepare healthy fresh meals riverside. They learn the skills of Dutch Oven cooking and grilling.

Not Included
  • Air transportation
  • Vehicle shuttles before or after your trip
  • Motel rooms before or after your trip

Price is for total group size of students, teachers and school staff of 24. Includes all USFS fees.

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What Our
Schools Are

  • I honestly could take the rest of the afternoon to describe the platform created for our students to connect, discover, and develop together and as individuals. The authenticity of learning in an outdoor classroom is deeper than the curriculum of natural history, river hydrology, fire ecology, boating safety, and camp craft. It is interpersonal and intangible. Students who experience a week on the river in the River Classroom are inspired in ways that go beyond what can possibly be accessed in a conventional classroom environment. Students learn to manage stress and develop resiliency, set challenging personal goals and celebrate success through accomplishing them. Students learn to cook and clean, and laugh and relax without the crutch of a device with a screen. Students grow up in ways only the river valley can elicit, and come back to our school more focused, motivated, and intentional in how they conduct themselves throughout the school year. The 9th Grade river trip sets the tone for all other upper school trips.
    Patrick Graham

    Community School

  • Mackay has always done a tremendous job of creating a safe and educational learning environment for our students. Being on the river leads to so many learning opportunities for our kids; outdoor and leadership skills, environmental stewardship, and self awareness. Our kids return with so many positive stories and claim it is one of the most memorable moments of their time at school.
    Derek Wright

    Riverstone International


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