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New Adventures

What is New Adventures?


Going to college is an adventure, so why not start it that way? New Adventures is Ohio University's adventure orientation program for first-year students, and it's the perfect way to ensure you jump into college with friends, mentors, and the adventure experience already on your side.

Outdoor Pursuits and Experiential Learning partner to offer this OHIO Signature Program, which offers incoming students the chance to participate in up to four trips that take place during the summer before your first semester of college. On each trip, you'll backpack, canoe, and camp in scenic wilderness areas as you form a tight-knit community with the other incoming students adventuring alongside you. All the while, you'll gain the skills you need to succeed in your first year at OHIO. 

"New Adventures, for me, was the best way to make friends coming in to college. ... Without New Adventures, I wouldn't be in the major I am. I wouldn't be with the friends I am. I just wouldn't be the same person."

- Adam Hellmich, New Adventures 2022 Alum

Food, gear, transportation, and instruction are included on all trips. No prior outdoor experience is necessary. Participants will travel in groups of nine, consisting of seven peers and two Ohio University trip leaders. This year, there are 124 spots available spread among four different locations and experiences. 

General Registration Process:

To secure your spot on any New Adventures trip/s, register for the expedition/s of your choice at General registration closes two weeks before the first day of a given trip. Please note that the prices in RecShop reflect the fact that the Office of Experiential learning has subsidized all trips by 50% in order to extend this opportunity to more students.

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Scholarship Application Process

Financial aid in the form of scholarships is available to all interested students. The scholarship application is simple: biographical information and a 500-word essay.

This year, there are 54 scholarships available between the Appalachian Trail trips and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip. The Grayson Highlands trip is not eligible for scholarships. While we encourage students to apply to as many trips as they would like, selected applicants will be supported by scholarship on only one trip. Applicants will have the opportunity to rank order their trip preference and availability within the application.

If selected for a scholarship, you will receive a special registration link at which you can pay your reduced cost. Offers will be sent out the week of June 12th. After registering for a trip, information packets will be emailed to you to help you prepare for your New Adventures trip.

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Grayson Highlands - Virginia

Grayson Highlands

Activity: Backpacking

Dates: June 27-30

Cost: $100

The Grayson Highlands trip features extraordinary recreational opportunities on and around the Appalachian trail within Grayson Highlands State Park. This trip is perfect for students who are interested in getting into backpacking but want to ease into it, or for those who may not have the time to join us on a longer expedition. 

Grayson offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, abundant birds and wildflowers, and even the chance to see wild ponies! Grayson also sits at a high elevation that offers cool temperatures throughout the month of June and July, making it the perfect summer backpacking destination.   

Appalachian Trail -  Virginia

Appalachian Trail

Activity: Backpacking

Trip 1 Dates: July 11-16Trip 2 Dates: July 25-30

Cost: $250

Scholarship Cost: $100

The Appalachian Trail is the crowned jewel of long-distance hiking in the United States. Due to popular demand, we are now offering two trips to the Appalachian trail to serve more students! 

The Appalachian Trail traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. On these trips, participants will get to experience 25-30 miles of historic trail on their weeklong expedition through Virginia.

Boundary Waters - Minnesota


Activity: Expedition Canoeing

Trip Dates: August 11-22

Cost: $500

Scholarship Cost: $100

Summer 2024 will be the 28th year that New Adventures has taken incoming students into the Boundary Waters as part of the flagship expedition of the New Adventures experience. 

In the Boundary Waters, students will experience one of the most pristine wilderness recreation areas in America. Each day, they'll explore the North Woods as they canoe and portage their way to backcountry campsites nestled on lakeside islands and shores. Though still accessible to beginner adventurers, this is our most challenging trip regarding wilderness navigation and immersive backcountry exploration. 


Participants on this trip have the option to store the belongings they plan to move into their residence hall in a locked climate controlled storage unit in Walter Field house. Trip Leaders and participants will aid in the move-in process when you return from the trip! See more information in the FAQs below


Frequently Asked Questions:

If you have additional questions after reading the FAQs, please contact Outdoor Pursuits at

Do I need previous experience to participate?

Our trips are designed to accommodate students who are just beginning to enjoy outdoor recreation activities. There will be participants with all levels of experience, and the trip team members will help each other out every day to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe experience. All trips are physically challenging, and we ask that all students prepare by engaging in vigorous cardio exercise at least three times a week.

Are there any hidden costs for these trips?

No. The only money you will need over and above the trip fee is for meals or snacks while traveling on the road to and from the trip location. Some required gear is available through Outdoor Pursuits, and that cost is included in your trip fee. A packing list is included in the welcome packet which will provide information on what is and is not included. 

For folks interested in fishing in the Boundary Waters, a Minnesota non-resident weeklong fishing license is required. Fishing permits can be purchased, and fishing gear can be rented at the outfitter in Ely, MN. Participants will not be allowed to fish without a license, however, fishing is optional.

Can I be with my friends on the trip?

Possibly, but most likely not. One of the biggest benefits of an outdoor orientation program are that you have the chance to meet new people and learn to work as a team. We purposefully separate students who enroll together because we have found that students are much more engaged and have more success meeting the program goals when they approach the experience as an individual. What seems like a negative of not traveling with your friends usually ends up being a very fun experience and valuable opportunity for growth.

How big will my trip group be?

All groups will comprised of seven participants and two trip leaders.

Where do I meet on arrival day?

All participants will meet at Ping Recreation Center on South Green Drive to check in and meet the staff and other trip members. Look for signs directing you to the meeting location.

Do I need to bring all the gear on the equipment list?

Yes, bring everything on the equipment list. While you may not think you need all those warm clothes, the weather in the mountains of Virginia or the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota can do anything in the summer. Not having proper and necessary equipment may result in injuries and/or evacuation from these wilderness areas. Our experience over the years has shown that the equipment on the list is necessary to keep you safe and comfortable. 

We have sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpacks available at no additional cost if you need them. Some items not available for rent can often be found for very affordable prices, and if you invest in good equipment, it will last you for many more years of outdoor adventure. If your budget is limited, consider the local thrift store or a friend’s closet as an option.

Do I need to physically prepare for my trip?

Spending a week in the wilderness is physically demanding. To prepare, you need to engage in cardiovascular exercise (running, cycling, swimming) a minimum of three times a week before your trip. Stretching is also important as well as having a healthy diet that keeps your body in good working order. Like college, New Adventures is something that you get more out of if you prepare for it.

How many miles will we be hiking or paddling on the trip?

Backpacking trips will cover an average of 7-10 miles a day. The canoe trip usually averages 7-15 miles per day mixed between paddling and portaging.

Who will be leading the trips?

All trips are led by staff trained through the Outdoor Pursuits program at Ohio University. Most trip leaders are current undergraduate students, and some have participated in this program as incoming freshman. We also have graduate assistants lead trips. All leaders can relate to what it is like to start college and want to help New Adventures participants to get the most out of their experience.

Can I be reached while on the trips?

All participants will be asked to leave their phones behind while on trip. However, trip leaders will have a satellite phones for outgoing calls in case of an emergency. If there is a need to contact any of the participants in an emergency, the Director of Outdoor Pursuits can provide the best information and means of communication and should be contacted first.

Where will I sleep while on the trip?

On the arrival and return days of each trip participants will be camping at the Challenge Course located at The Ridges. While traveling to each trip location and while on trips we will be tent camping at established campgrounds and at designated wilderness campsites.

Where do I store my personal belongings while on the trip?

Small non-essential personal belongings can be left in a secured area in the Ping Recreation Center during the trip. For Boundary Waters participants, large personal belongings that will be moved into your dorm upon your return from the trip can be stored in a secured area inside of a University Well-Being & Recreation facility and can be re-claimed on the day that your trip returns (more information below). Items used during travel (travel clothes, phones, etc.) will be locked in a secured location while crews are in the field.

For the Boundary Waters trip, will I be back in time to move into my dorm room?

Yes. All the Boundary Waters trips returns on the Thursday before classes start. The trip does not overlap with pre-college activities. Outdoor Pursuits staff will assist you in getting your belongings to your residence hall in time to participate in all the move-in weekend events.

For Boundary Waters participants, how does dorm move-in work?

As far as moving goes, participants have a few options:

1. You may bring your college belongings with you at the start of the trip and the items will be locked in a secure area while we are away. New Adventures staff members will then help you to move into your dorm when we arrive back in Athens.

2. Parents/ guardians may bring your college belongings to campus when you return from the trip. New Adventures staff members will still help you move in as long as it’s during the same time as we’re moving everybody else.

3. Many students decide to do both, bringing some belongings before the trip and then having parents/ guardians bring the remainder after the trip. Please pick whichever option best fits your needs. You will be assigned a move in date from Housing and Residential Life; we have secured approval for all New Adventures participants to move in on Thursday, August 24th regardless of dates are provided to you by communication from Housing.

Can dietary restrictions be accommodated?

All trips have vegetarian meal options. We can accommodate many dietary restrictions if we know in advance what your needs are. For serious or severe restrictions (gluten, dairy, etc.) we advise that participants plan on providing their own essential dietary items. In any case, you should contact us to discuss your specific needs.

What If I have a disability?

Adventure activities are accessible to a wide range of abilities, so we encourage all incoming students with disabilities to consider participating in New Adventures. If you have a disability and want to participate, please contact us to discuss trip options.

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Do not hesitate to contact us with any more questions you have. We want to help you prepare as best as we can. We can’t wait to have you be a part of this experience!