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

View our Adventure Bound trips below for fall 2021. Adventure Bound programs begin with an orientation and welcome dinner in the evening on Friday, August 20th, and conclude in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 24th. All of our trips are open to a variety of skill levels, including those new to outdoor activities. 

Two women in kayaks in the Potomac river.

DC Exploration + Service

Ready to explore your new city and experience the best of the outdoors locally? New students will stay in their own housing accommodations but gather during the day exploring DC, participating in three outdoor activities and an environmental service opportunity. Outdoor activities include indoor rock climbingkayaking or paddleboarding on the Potomac River, and hiking in Rock Creek Park. Explore your new home while building relationships with other students in your community. 

Program Fee: $165

August 20-24

Sample Itinerary 

Whitewater rafting on the river.


Make a splash in Pennsylvania as you rapidly get acquainted with other GW students. Enjoy traversing the thrill of the Youghiogheny River. After ripping through Class II & III+ rapids whitewater rafting on the Lower Yough, gather around a campfire to enjoy some s’mores and conversation with your new classmates before pitching your tent for the night. The next day take it easy and enjoy a fun trip down the middle Yough on inflatable duckies and shredders (similar to kayaks). You’ll be camping for three nights in the beautiful Ohiopyle State Park and explore the amazing waterfalls hiking before heading back to campus. 

Program Fee: $300

August 20-24

Sample Itinerary

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

Hiking + Camping

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 three nights camping in Mathews Arm Campground or Big Meadows Campground and four days exploring/hiking. Hiking mileage will be about 4 to 9 miles per day. Discover how spending time outdoors can foster personal growth and develop new relationships with your fellow GW students. 

Program Fee: $200

August 20-24

Sample Itinerary

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

Intermediate-Advanced Backpacking

Our backpacking trip features a smaller group experience and includes backpacking about 10 miles a day for four days and three nights in Shenandoah National Park. You will cover about 35 miles venturing into the backcountry throughout the trip, with many beautiful mountain summits. You will be carrying an internal frame pack with about 25 to 35 pounds of clothing, gear, and food. We ask that you have been on a backpacking trip before or have extensive hiking experience for the trip. 

Program Fee: $200

August 20-24

Sample Itinerary




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 an orientation and welcome dinner in the evening on Friday, August 20th, and conclude in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 24th. GW students interested in attending Adventure Bound must select an early housing move-in before 4:00 pm on Friday, August 20th. 

Program Cost

The program cost is dependent on the trip and outdoor activities and ranges from $165-$300. All program fees will be charged to your student account later in August.

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 Rebecca Burwell at [email protected].

*DC Exploration and Service includes a metro card with $10 of value loaded, three catered meals (including the welcome dinner), all outdoor/program activities, and the use of shared outdoor gear. All other meals for DC Exploration + Service will be held on campus with GWorld Vendors. Please note that as GW meal plans will be active during Orientation Week, students will use their GWorld to pay for meals that take place on or around campus. We will provide food for activities that are off-campus, away from GWorld vendors.


Adventure Bound is currently full and the waitlist is closed. If you are on the waitlist, movement from the waitlist will conclude by Friday, July 30. Please continue to check your GW email for updates. 

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.

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 Rebecca Burwell, Program Coordinator for Outdoor Leadership.

Photo of a campfire in a fire ring.


Frequently Asked Questions

Adventure Bound is planned by the staff in the Office of Student Life, including help from our student coordinator. We have over 30 trained Trails Guides, certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and AED use that lead Adventure Bound. 

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

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.

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 contact Rebecca Burwell, Program Coordinator for Outdoor Leadership.

No! Adventure Bound is open to beginners and those that have more experience in the outdoors. 

Our COVID-19 policies will align with the universities guidelines and will be released later in the summer. Everyone participating in Adventure Bound must have received their last vaccine at least 2 weeks before the program begins on August 20th, aligned with the university policy. Increased hand washing and sanitizing and other cleaning methods will be required. All of our outfitters have established COVID-19 policies. Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions