Adventure Bound

Adventure Bound is GW's outdoor co-curricular, pre-orientation experience for new, incoming first-year students. Meet fellow students, learn more about life at GW, and build lasting memories in the great outdoors. Each Adventure Bound is led by experienced student guides to help you transition to GW and college life. 


"I loved the bonding and friendship that evolved from the shared experiences. Being with everyone and fostering these new connections made it completely worth it."

2019 Participant


Adventure Bound Trips

Adventure Bound programs begin with an orientation and welcome dinner in the evening on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, departure for trips on Thursday morning August 17th and conclude in the afternoon on Saturday, August 19th. All of our trips are planned to accommodate  a variety of skill and outdoor experience levels, including those new to outdoor activities. 

Trip details are outlined below. Note that some details may change over the course of the summer, but the overall structure and trip style will remain the same.

student on kayaks in Potomac River

Camping & Kayaking


Start off your first year with a camping and kayaking excursion in a local DMV recreational area! Spend two nights camping and your days filled with kayaking on a lake outside the DC metro area, nature walks, and other adventures. While itinerary and destination are not finalized yet, recreation and camping activities in Harper's Ferry, WV  National Historic Park are an example of what you can expect.

Program Fee: $185


A group of people surfing and kayaking in the ocean at Virginia Beach.



This trip ventures to the east coast and camps for two nights alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Experience a kayak tour on the may and a surf lesson during the day, followed by games and quality time with other first years at camp at night. Keep your eyes open as you may see dolphins in the bay! Spend time on the beach with fellow GW students and spot some wildlife hiking in coastal marshlands and bay wildlife refuges.

Program Fee: $275


Whitewater rafting on the river.

Whitewater Rafting


Make a splash in as you rapidly get acquainted with other GW students! Students may enjoy traversing the thrill of the Youghiogheny River, or other destinations locally (to be determined). Previous years' groups traversed through Class II & III+ rapids while whitewater rafting on the Lower Yough in Ohiopyle, PA and spent a leisurely afternoon floating down the river. Adventure awaits, are you in?!

Program Fee: $320 



Four GW students at the top of Harpers Ferry, view of the mountains in the background.

Hiking & Camping

(2 trips: beginner & intermediate)

We will be sleeping in tents, cooking our own food, and spending the day hiking and exploring Shenandoah National Park. Experience nature with mountain top summits, waterfalls, and winding trails. This trip spends two nights camping in Mathews Arm Campground or Big Meadows Campground and daytime  exploring and hiking. Hiking mileage per day varies per group experience level. Discover how spending time outdoors can foster personal growth and build community with peers.

Beginner: Friendly to first-time campers, but should have some experience with light day hiking up to ~5 miles.

Intermediate: Some experience with moderately strenuous day hikes ~6-8 miles. Friendly to first-time overnight campers too.

Program Fee: $200


View of three people backpacking with their packs with mountains in the distance.


(2 trips: beginner & intermediate)

Adventure Bound backpacking features a smaller group experience and includes backpacking about 5-10 miles each day depending on experience level in Shenandoah National Park. Venture deeper into the Appalachia backcountry throughout the trip, with many beautiful mountain summits. You should anticipate carrying an internal frame pack with about 25 to 35 pounds of clothing, gear, and food. Gear can be provided for participants by request (backpacks, sleeping pads, etc).

Beginner: Friendly to first-time backpackers, but should be comfortable with moderately strenuous hiking. ~5-12 miles total

Intermediate: Should have backpacking experience or extensive hiking experience. ~12-20 miles total

  Program Fee: $150




of students agreed that they made a new friend on their Adventure Bound trip


of students agreed they gained skills that will help them be successful in college


of people can apply the Leave No Trace skills learned in AB to a future outdoor activity


Program Dates

Adventure Bound programs begin with a trip orientation and welcome dinner in the evening on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 and conclude in the afternoon on Saturday, August 19th 2023. GW students interested in attending Adventure Bound must move-in before 4:00 pm on Wednesday, August 16th.

Program Cost

Program fees are dependent on the trip and are outlined above. All program fees will be charged to your student account.

All trips include a welcome dinner on Friday evening, outdoor/program activities, use of shared outdoor gear, transportation, and meals on the trip.* 

We do not want program fees to be a barrier to participation. Fee waivers are available for those who express financial need. If you have questions about fee waivers, please reach out to the summer coordinating team.

For further support, contact GW TRAiLS advisor Sarah Birmingham.  


Apply for an Adventure Bound program beginning May 16th! Please rank your trip preferences.

Priority applications will be considered until June 16th. Selection for pre-orientation will be communicated no later than June 23rd, 2023. Applications received after June 16th will be considered on a rolling basis through early July. No applications will be considered past July 23rd.


Cancellation: If your plans change, you must cancel your registration so that we can open the spot for another incoming student.

Please note that you can only participate in one co-curricular program. SEAS students, Women’s Leadership Program (WLP), Civic House Scholars, and others with required programming on these program dates are not eligible to participate in Adventure Bound.

APPLY today!

Outdoor Gear

Adventure Bound participants will have the opportunity to borrow gear from GW's outdoor gear program. After registering for Adventure Bound participants will be sent a survey that will collect potential gear needs. We will try and match everyone with the gear needed, however, we may not be able to meet all needs. Students may borrow a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and/or an internal frame backpack. We will send out a detailed packing list for each trip later in the summer, but check out a sample packing list from 2019 for an example of items needed. 


Check out our FAQs below or email our summer coordinating team.

For further support, contact Sarah Birmingham (Staff Coordinator for GW Campus Recreation, GW TRAiLS Advisor).


Photo of a campfire in a fire ring.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who organizes and leads Adventure Bound?

Adventure Bound is planned by Campus Recreation in the Division for Student Affairs with assistance from our GW TRAiLS student coordinators. We have over 24 trained Trails Guides who lead each trip. Each trip will have guides certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and AED.

Are there any professional outfitters for Adventure Bound?

Yes, for activities such as kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and surfing we use professional outfitters.

How will I be contacted / updated throughout the summer?

You will be contacted through your GW email account. Please check this account periodically. Not only will we email you, but additional information for your upcoming year will be sent to you throughout the summer.

What if I’m concerned about financing the trip?

If you believe you may be in need of financial assistance to participate in Adventure Bound, we may have fee waivers available to students. For more information, please email the summer coordinating team to request.