Trip Dates

Available year around


Contact us

Group Size

1:12 on Nav 1/2 and 1:8 on Nav 3

Skill Level

beginner (navigation 1) to intermediate (navigation 2/3)

Related Trips

Introduction to Backcountry Camping

Navigation in the Mountains

Learn from a seasoned guide on how to read a map, use new digital navigation tools and be field savy, recognize hazardous terrrain and find your way, having fun....

For recreational hikers or leaders interested in travel skills, we offer navigation course that builds your skills in reading the terrain “before” you get lost. Learn seasoned guiding tricks for planning your route, reducing hazards and predicting terrain.

Enjoy being able to decipher a map and visualize the terrain before you get there, then go out and compare. The course is sectioned into three skill building series. For navigation skills level 1 (map & compass) and navigation skills level 2 (intro to digital navigation) you will have full classroom day, with a short outdoor session. For navigation skills level 3, you will have half day review session, followed by a full day field days applying your map & compass and digital navigation skills experiential. 


The course is somewhat flexible and will vary depending on participant needs, weather and hike location.

Below is a sample skills program: 

Navigation Skills Level 1:Class sessions (5 hours theory, 3 hours practical)

  • Welcome, introduction, goals & agenda, waiver.
  • Map reading
  • map & compass use, terrain classification
  • field practice, map & compass skills
  • hazard recognition & route planning
  • Navigation Skills Level 2:Class sessions (5 hours theory, 3 hours practical)

  • Welcome, introduction, goals & agenda, waiver.
  • Review of Map reading, grid references, UTM, lat&long
  • global positioning systems
  • features of GPS, managing tracks & waypoints
  • using google earth effectively and sharing infor from GE or iMapBC
  • field with GPS
  • comparing stand alone GPS to smart phone GPS devices
  • Navigation Skills Level 3:evening class sessions & full day field practice

  • review of map & compass and digital navigation concepts
  • prepare route information for field day
  • hike or ski into field area, practical applications of navigation 1 & 2
  • course closure in field
  • Prerequisites

    For navigation skills 2 (digital navigation) students need a GPS unit and must bring a laptop with downloaded programs; students must have done navigation 1/equivalent skills course as pre-req.

    For navigation skills 3, both earlier series 1&2 are pre-req. Field days are beginner to intermediate trails and terrain.

    Students are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability.  Please contact us to discuss your background and what kind of course would suit you best.


    Click here for equipment list


    Kootenay weather can vary drastically.  In summer you expect temperatures to be from 8 C to 28C in the day while overnight temperature can drop dramatically in the high alpine, even below zero.  Visibility could be poor or whiteout conditions when raining heavily or snowing or clear on bluebird days.  Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation can change within the day. 


    Evening sessions will be located in Nelson; field day hikes vary depending on weather, conditions and student fitness. Trailhead within .5-1.25 hour from Nelson.

    Services Included

    • Pre-course planning support
    • Fully certified ACMG hiking, alpine Guide or mountain Guide services
    • local knowledge experience in the area
    • Alternative plan based on current conditions
    • maps
    • Park permits and Liability Insurance
    • Emergency response plan
    • Group safety equipment

    Services NOT included:

    • 5% gst tax
    • personal clothing,  hiking boots *see equipment list for more details
    • personal lunch & snacks
    • travel to meeting location and accommodation prior to field portion trip
    • gratuities
    • trip interruption, cancellation insurance or medical insurance
    • additional costs incurred if changes made to itinerary due to weather


    How experienced do I need to be?

    On this navigation program you will learn as based on your goals and interest.  For field portions, good physical fitness will contribute to a comfortable learning experience.

    Is it safe?

    On all hike programs, we provide you with fully certified IFMGA / ACMG Mountain, alpine and hiking guides. This gives you the highest safety standards in the industry. While it is impossible to eliminate all the hazards, our guides will maximize your experience and greatly minimize the risks involved.

    What course materials do I need?

    Ensure you have a working compass and all personal equipment for day trip; Click here for equipment list 

    Where can I rent/buy climbing & outdoor equipment?

    Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

    Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056
    Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006