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. Part volunteer work project, part kick-back outdoor vacation.  Read the General Information page for more details.

2019 Alternative Break

Past Experience

"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

"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

"Every year I enjoy the challenge of completing a project with a group of hard-working, difference-making, iron-willed college students. Many projects these spring-breakers work on wouldn’t be completed if these groups didn’t volunteer their time to help."

Josh H., Project Host

Matthew Mage

General Information

Matthew Mage

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, 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.

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

Secure Your Alternative Break Today

To secure an Alternative Break location for your group or for questions about the program, please read the info above, then contact Libby Wile at LWile@AmericanHiking.org or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.

2019 Alternative Breaks

Sarah Mekonnen

Location
State
(2/24) - (3/2)
(3/3) - (3/9)
(3/10) - (3/16)
(3/17) - (3/23)
(3/24) - (3/30)
(3/31) - (4/6)
St. Marks NWR
FL
X
X
Available
Available
Available
Available
Gold Head SP
FL
X
RESERVED
X
X
X
X
Touch of Nature
IL
X
RESERVED
RESERVED
Available
Available
X
Natchez Trace SP
TN
X
X
X
X
Available
X
Belle Isle SP
VA
X
X
X
RESERVED
X
X
Natural Bridge
VA
Available
RESERVED
RESERVED
RESERVED
X
X
Pocahontas SP
VA
X
RESERVED
RESERVED
X
X
X
York River SP
VA
X
X
X
RESERVED
Available
Available

If you would like to secure a particular week/location for your group, first read through the General Information section to better understand the program and reservation process.  Then contact Libby Wile at LWile@AmericanHiking.org or call 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.

Please Note:  Alternative Breaks are intended for college student groups.  To reserve a week/location, your group needs to have at least 8 participants.  If you are interested in participating in a service trip as an individual or with a small group, our 2019 Volunteer Vacations schedule will have many spring/summer trips that are not exclusive to college students (all ages can participate) and offer individual registration.  This schedule will be open for registration in early-December.

StMarks-National-Wildlife-Refuge-450x301

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Host: Florida Trail Association
Maximum Group Size: 10
Gold-Head-State-Park-450x306

Gold Head Branch State Park, Florida

Host: Florida State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 10
IMG_3425-450x338

Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Illinois

Host: T.O.N.E.C.
Maximum Group Size: 15
natchez-trace-0592__full

Natchez Trace State Park, Tennessee

Host: Tennessee State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 10
Belle-Isle-State-Park-VA-450x338

Belle Isle State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 14
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

James River State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 14
Natural-Bridge-State-Park-VA-2-450x286

Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 15
Pocahontas-State-Park-VA-1

Pocahontas State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 12
Ohio-State-University-at-York-River-State-Park-VA-4-450x338

York River State Park, Virginia

Host: Virginia State Parks
Maximum Group Size: 10

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 LWile@AmericanHiking.org or 1-800-972-8608 ext. 704.