Alternative Break

Spend Your School Break Making a Difference

Volunteer Vacation Icon with heart and trail tools

Make Spring Break
Mean Something

Volunteer Vacation Icon of two people sitting around a campfire under a starry sky

Make Memories Outdoors

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Make a Difference

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 and young professionals. Part volunteer work project, part kick-back outdoor vacation.

2021 Alternative Break Update

We have been very eager to get back out on the trail, volunteer, and connect folks with trail projects that are in need of support.  Since our Alternative Break trips require people to travel, involve communal cooking and/or lodging with those outside of their "pod", and involve many other logistical and safety concerns we have decided to not offer any Alternative Breaks in the spring of 2021.

As an organization that fully understands the mental and physical benefits of being outside, volunteering, and disconnecting for a little while, we can’t wait to see you again on the trail.  Please fill out the form below to stay connected and receive updates about the program and other ways you can volunteer.

Receive Alternative Break Updates

Please fill out the following form to receive emails regarding the Alternative Break program.

General Information

Matthew Mage

The Crew

Alternative Break crews are a maximum of 10 people, due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Supervision during the project will be provided by our experienced project hosts.  If you want to volunteer over your break as an individual, check out all the trips we offer as part of our year-round  Volunteer Vacations program. Volunteer Vacations are open for individual registration and are not limited to college students (There will be a variety of ages of participants on these trips).  Many of these trips will coincide with your spring and summer break.

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. Alternative Breaks will offer either indoor accommodations (bunkhouses, cabins, lodges) or access to a campground site where you bring your own tent and camping supplies.  All locations will offer access to indoor bathrooms and either a full-service kitchen or camp cooking gear for meal prep. All locations will be implementing social distancing, increased cleaning and hygiene practices, and volunteers will be required to wear face coverings indoors.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sarah Mekonnen

Secure Your Alternative Break Today

To secure an Alternative Break location for your group or for questions about the program, please read the general information section, then contact Libby Wile at [email protected] or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.