Sunset Sail

The Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage was founded on the belief that there is no better way to fully experience the world than by engaging with it on its own terms. Whether that means clambering over a pressure ridge on one of our North Pole expeditions or exploring a sea cave by kayak on the southern coast of Crete, we have an adventure of a lifetime that fits your activity and skill level. These adventures are designed for the body, mind and soul, perfect for those who seek revitalizing vacations. As we like to say, come ready for a trip. Leave ready for anything.

Our decades of experience set us apart from the rest. We were at the forefront of adventure travel before anyone coined the term. Throughout our experience we've discovered the recipes for perfect adventure moments, whether it's the serenity of gazing down the majestic Samaria Gorge, the excitement of latching onto an accelerating wave as you surf a kayak to shore or the beautifully simple contentedness of enjoying a hearty meal and conversation around the campfire.

Our family of guides are passionate about sharing their love of the outdoors with others, and provide a supportive environment that enables trip participants to stretch their perceived boundaries. We at The Northwest Passage encourage you to experience the world from the vantage point of the trail, the waterway, the bike path, the mountainside, anything but the tour bus. Stop being a tourist and become an adventurer!

Our History

In May of 1993 Rick Sweitzer designed, organized and co-guided the first ever North Pole dogsled expedition for amateur explorers in the general public. It was a lifelong dream and a crowning achievement for Sweitzer's Chicagoland based adventure travel business, The Northwest Passage, but it is not where the story begins.

After returning to the Chicago area from two years in Africa with the Peace Corps, Sweitzer picked up his stateside outdoor adventures right where he left off two years prior, canoeing gorgeous waterways in the heart of the American and Canadian wilderness. As suggested by his friends, Sweitzer began organizing and guiding trips for his buddies in exchange for their share in food, gas and a fee. Driving back from the Canadian Arctic after one of these trips, Sweitzer realized that he could build a business out of his passion for exploring the outdoors. Thus The Northwest Passage was born out of Sweitzer's garage in 1983.

Sweitzer's passion continues to drive The Northwest Passage, the premier source for adventure travel. The Northwest Passage's sister company, Polar Explorers, continues to organize and guide expeditions to the North Pole as well as yearly trips to the South Pole and Greenland. The Mediterranean continues to be home away from home for Sweitzer, as he and The Northwest Passage have been exploring Italy, Turkey, Crete and Cyclades Islands by sea kayak for over 20 years — The Northwest Passage continues to progress towards its goal of circumnavigating all the Greek Islands by kayak.

Always looking to share adventures with his family, since 1993 Sweitzer has paddled Crete and climbed Kilimanjaro with his family, as well as skied to the North Pole, and climbed Grand Teton and Denali with his son Taylor.

Never one to live in the past or rest on his laurels, Sweitzer and The Northwest Passage continue to expand the adventure travel industry, spin the “fun meter” and produce the most adventurous, indulgent and revitalizing adventure tours in the world.