GW Trails

GW Trails is the George Washington University’s outdoor adventure and leadership program that is committed to connecting the GW community to the outdoors. Join GW Trails on one of our weekend trips or on an extended break for a longer immersive outdoor experience. 

 

Students posing for a photo at a Utah state park

Trails Trips

Sign up to explore the outdoors on our weekend or extended break trips. New trips are posed monthly. 

 

Students posing for a photo while backpacking

Trails Guides

Trails Guide volunteers devise and plan all the outings, organize the logistics, and provide support to ensure a safe, educational, and fun-filled adventure.

Landscape photo of a meadow with students hiking through a field

Trails Den

The Trails Den offers monthly meetings and activity-based events that are open to all members of the GW community, regardless of outdoor related experience.

GW students posing for a photo at the top of a mountain at a lookout point.

Outdoor Gear Rental

GW Trails rents gear to all GW affiliates who are interested. You can learn more by contacting us via email.

Stay Connected!

Interested in receiving weekly updates from us on upcoming trips and events on campus? Subscribe to our newsletter: The Trailblaze.

 

Subscribe to the Trailblaze!

Follow GW Trails on Instagram.

Trails Students in Hawaii after hiking, view of mountains and ocean in the background.

 

Trails guides at a celebrate for welcoming new student guides. A woman pictured hugging a person in a bear suit.

 

Students on a Trails trip in canoes at a lake.

 

View of the mountains with two students backpacking.

 

Three guides on top of Marys Rock, with mountains in the background.

 

Trails trip participant riding a horse on a farm.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Trails is not a business and does not make any profit on the outings it organizes. Trip costs for activities without an outfitter, such as a day hike, covers transportation to and from the location. For activities with an outfitter, our costs are usually lower than they would be if you were to do it on your own, because our costs are shared among participants and we are able to receive favorable group rates. We do not profit off of any of our payments.

Unfortunately, no. For liability purposes, all participants on an "official" university-sanctioned trip must travel together in the "official" university-sanctioned transportation.  All Trails trips that require transportation in the D.C. area and outlying vicinity (i.e., within driving distance of campus) must utilize vans either owned or rented by the university.  Trip participants who are 20 can come on a trip for half-price if they drive one of our vehicles. Email us for more information on becoming a Trails driver.

In order to receive a full refund, you must contact us on or before the trip cancellation date, which is typically 4 days before the trip date.

Some trips have waiting lists, which open up once the trip is already full.  When adding your name to a waiting list, you do not have to pay for the trip unless (and until) a spot opens up.  If a place becomes available, you will be contacted; if we are unable to confirm your interest and payment for the trip, we will move down to the next name on the waiting list. 

Trails trips run a tight schedule and we typically cannot wait for participants to arrive late.  It is important that you plan ahead and prepare to arrive on time. Your trip leaves at the time noted in the registration.  Waiting for one participant to arrive compromises the experience of the entire group. If you oversleep or show up too late to join the trip, you are not eligible for a refund.

Yes, we can rent gear to students, alumni, and University affiliates. We have everything necessary for camping and backpacking trips: tents, tarps, sleeping bags and pads, backpacks, MSR stoves, pots, and pans, etc. Rental fees are nominal and we require a deposit for gear rentals. Email [email protected] for rental inquiries.

Trails operates strictly within University lines on risk management. All of our activities are approved by the University for safety. Guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. We are prepared with first-aid supplies, information about the nearest medical facilities, and trained extensively in emergency safety procedures. One of the first tenets of safe outdoor recreation is "preparation", so we do everything in our power to be prepared in the face of any incident. It is imperative that participants fill out their relevant medical conditions in the registration form so that we are prepared with information about your needs.

 We do not cancel trips for rain, unless conditions are unsafe. If we decide that the risk of dangerous (not just rainy or cold) weather in the area is too great, we will notify all participants as soon as possible. If we cancel, everyone will receive a full refund.  If you don't show up because the weather appeared "uncomfortable," you will not be refunded.

Unfortunately, this year due to COVID-19 guidelines, programs are only open to current GW students, staff, and faculty. 

Yes, that is exactly right. If you are a minimum of 20 years old you can help Trails rent a van and drive for the trip of your choice. As a thank you, Trails will discount your trip 50% no matter how much the trip costs. We are always in need of more drivers, so please email us you are interested. Thanks!

On extended academic-year breaks, such as Winter holiday and Spring Break, we plan extended trips called Adventure Breaks. In the past, we have led winter trips to Costa Rica, and spring trips to the Grand Canyon and the Appalachian Trail. Stay tuned on our upcoming trips page for more information.