|The purpose of this study was threefold: First, to analyze some core concepts of human well-being. As part of this issue, the study deals with the distinction between life satisfaction and personal growth. Also related to this first issue, the study investigates the difference between the emotion of pleasure and the emotion of interest. Second, to investigate changes in health, life satisfaction and emotions during the first semester with outdoor recreation in folk high schools. And third, to explore how basic needs of competence, autonomy and relatedness, levels of self-determination, state and trait emotions, and previous experience with outdoor recreation affect motivation for outdoor recreation. Students (N = 155) in two Norwegian folk high schools participated in a panel questionnaire study. Results showed that life satisfaction correlated with overall emotions as reported from a several days long outdoor recreation hike. Personal growth correlated with emotions as reported from the best moment of the hike. The students reported improved health and increased subjective well-being after three months at school. A path model revealed that motivation for doing outdoor recreation was affected by intrinsic motivation and the pleasure reported during outdoor activities.