The course runs one month during the Tufts University School of Medicine Block 12. Given that we are together 24 hours a day for the entire time, we actually get more teaching time into this course than you would usually find in a 4 week elective. 

See below for specific dates in the upcoming years. 


The elective begins with the student's work at home.  In addition to collecting and packing their gear students are required to do two projects. 

First they must choose a wilderness medicine topic which they will research both in text books as well as the primary literature and put together a presentation/lecture which they will give during the elective.  This gives students personal expertise on a specific topic.  Second they will read a book on a general wilderness (non-medical) topic from our selected reading list, all students will read the same book (selected as a group) but then each will present a specific discussion topic.  This gives students a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Students fly into Salt Lake City; here we congregate, have a day of lectures and prepare. Preparation includes packing bags for the first evolution, storing gear for the other evolutions, and readying to hike out.  The three subsequent evolutions can occur in any order depending on weather, permit availability and scheduling needs. 

Desert Evolution

This is a 5-6 day segment in the Needles section of Canyonland National Park. In the desert we camp in groups of 10 or less that are each a mile apart in order to minimize impact on the fragile environment. Specific sites vary by year depending on availability and specific hikes vary based on which sites we are at, weather and water availability.

Swift Water Evolution

The water portion is 5 days of rafting on either the Green River in Desolation Canyon (it’s much better than the name implies, really) or the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon. Selection of which river is dictated by river flows, early season temperatures and river permitting availability.  This part is guided by a professional service but still features teaching by our faculty.

Alpine Evolution

The alpine evolution lasts 4-5 days and takes place on the flanks of Mt. Pfeifferhorn in Red Pine Canyon. Red Pine is a side canyon of the Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Range. This will be the most difficult/strenuous portion of the trip as we portage all supplies for the week (except water which we boil from snow or obtain from a water source). While this is not easy, everyone will be capable of doing it, as mentioned previously one goal of the course is to involve all members of the group regardless of experience or ability.

​2019 Schedule

3.23 - Desert instructors/residents arrive in SLC
3.24 - Students arrive in SLC, Night in SLC (Instructors food & gear shop)
3.25 - Intro and Prep for students, Night in SLC
3.26 - Drive to Canyonlands/Car Camp that night
3.27 - 4.1 - Desert Evolution: Canyonlands, Camping 5 nights
4.1 - Hike out in AM, Clean/Sort gear

4.1 - River instructors arrive, Night in Moab

4.2 Meet Adrift in AM, Drive to Cataract Canyon, Desert Instructors leave

4.2 - 4.6 - River Evolution: Cataract Canyon, Camping 4 nights
4.6 - Return to Moab, wash/sort gear, Night in Moab

4.6 - Alpine instructors arrive in SLC, shop & prep

4.7 - Alpine instructors hump gear to site, Students drive to SLC, River Instructors Leave, night in SLC
4.8 - Alpine Prep day, night in SLC
4.9- 4.13 - Alpine Evolution: Wasatch, Camping 4 nights

4.13 - Hike out in AM, clean/sort & pack gear
4.14 - Students & Instructors fly out

Next Years

Anticipated dates for the future years (could be subject to changes of a few days)

​2019: March 25th - April 19th.

​2020: March 23rd - April 17th.

​2021: March 22nd - April 16th. 

2022: TBD

2023: TBD