Our mission at True North Wilderness Survival School is to train our clients to explore, protect, and lead with confidence so that they can get the most out of their outdoor adventures.

True North accomplishes this mission by providing our clients the skills and knowledge to both effectively function in the wilderness, from traditional backcountry to urban disasters, and to appropriately respond to emergencies while awaiting rescue or backup. The heart of our program includes wilderness medicine, survival, and land navigation courses. We are privileged to work with a truly diverse mix of clients regardless of skill level and background, from day-hikers to health care providers to professional responders to military.

True North is proud to be ranked as one of the finest survival training programs in the United States. We have been featured in Backpacker, Associated Press, The Washington Post, CNN and many other national and international media outlets.

To find the right course for you, check out the brief summaries below and follow the links from there.  If you have any questions, or would like some input, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Land Navigation

Our land navigation courses are some of our most broadly popular programs, appealing to anyone who spends time in the outdoors: day hikers, backpackers, rock climbers, hunters, adventure racers, scouts and their leaders, to name just a few.  Our navigation courses are all taught using traditional map and compass skills without the use of electronic aids.

Wilderness Survival

Campfire CookingAll of our survival courses reflect the same approach to wilderness survival that is taught in the U.S. military to bring home its valuable personnel by emphasizing basic preparedness, like tools and supplies, adaptability, and a realistic approach to improvisation.  None of our courses require any previous experience or training.  All are kept small to give you the best opportunity to develop your skills, judgment, and confidence, and to foster genuine camaraderie amongst the group.

Our over-night survival classes are all held at Quebec Run Wild Area, a 7,441 acre undeveloped reserve within Forbes State Forest located about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in the beautiful Laurel Highlands through a commercial permit from the Pennsylvania DCNR.

Wilderness Medicine

South Dakota, Badlands NPGetting into the Great Outdoors is wonderful.  But sometimes people get hurt or sick.  And you may not be able to dial 911, and, even if you can, the dedicated folks at EMS may not be able to get to you right away.  Then what?  That’s when having training in wilderness medicine can make all the difference.  Not only will you learn how to deal with backcountry emergencies, but, better yet, you will learn how to avoid many of them.

We offer the following certification courses:

No matter which course you take, you will learn the fundamentals of wilderness medicine that will be centered around scene safety and patient assessment.  You will learn how to deal with traumatic injuries, like sprains, fractures, and burns, plus how to better manage wounds.  You will also learn how to deal with medical problems, like illness, allergies, and heat and cold issues.


wild-survival-course-photoTrue North also runs a series of workshops, from lectures to excursions, that are intended, not only to be fun, but to provide an opportunity to learn more about the natural world that surrounds us.

After all, whether it’s a hike, paddle, or a skill session, our goal at True North is to help you to explore your world with confidence.

Checkout our upcoming programs.

Private Instruction

IMG_2670Many times individuals or groups prefer more personalized instruction or have specific goals in mind. We can tailor a private program to suit your particular needs, either at one of our training locations or one of your choosing.  This option is often a popular choice for families who want to spend time with their younger children while learning important skills.

Contact us for more information.


Our instructors are available to give a lecture to your group or organization.  Whether the audience is small or large, we work hard to make sure that all enjoy themselves and find it to be a meaningful learning experience.

Please contact us to learn more.


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