Wilderness Adventure Session 1 - Pre-Orientation Skip Navigation

Wilderness Adventure Session 1

August 8–13, 2017
Perfect your kayak strokes and learn to pack your boat while enjoying the beauty of Adirondack lakes. Days can be challenging, but the bonds you forge are worth every minute. With experienced guides, climb some phenomenal formations in the Adirondacks. A bit of backpacking, a bit of canoeing: it's the best of both worlds. The Adirondack scenery never ceases to amaze. It isn't about the kayaking. It's about the people. Build community among your fellow travelers as you set up and break down camp each day. Nothing beats the outdoors. It will put you on top of the world. Find your way to where your feet alone can't take you. Once you've set up camp you will have some of your most important bonding experiences. Insert your own motivational poster saying here: ____________

Fees and Financial Aid

The fee for all trips is $475. Students may also borrow much of the required gear from Colgate at no charge. You may request gear after receiving your trip assignment.

Financial aid is available for those receiving aid from Colgate. We typically match 80-90% of the aid given by Colgate. For example, if you receive 80% aid from Colgate, you would receive 64-72% aid on your WA fee.

If interested in receiving aid, please indicate so when you register. You will be informed of your aid amount when you receive your trip assignment. If you have any questions about financial aid for WA, please contact us.

Available Trips

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, and meet new people. Nevertheless, some trips are more strenuous than others. Trips are sorted into levels based on how strenuous they are. Please contact us if you have any questions about finding the right trip for you.

Level 1

Low level of physical fitness needed

  • Local Adventure Sampler
    Students paddle boarding on a lakeExperience four varied and exciting adventure activities along with 12 of your classmates. You’ll swing from the trees on our high ropes course, hike along the scenic trails of central New York and the Southern Adirondacks, explore local waterways by canoe, and try your hand at rock climbing at a local crag. Each evening, you will return to Hamilton and spend the night at Colgate’s Beattie Reserve sleeping in our yurt*.

    This trip is designed to be a little less rustic and demanding than our typical options but still provides plenty of fun and adventure and the chance to try out several activities with a new group of friends.

    *What's a yurt? It is a 30' diameter circular tent made of wood and canvas. It has a permanent foundation, wood and propane stoves, couches, and bunk beds.


  • Backpacking 1
    Students goof around while sitting in an Adirondack lean-toWe will hike 3-6 miles per day over both flat and hilly terrain, arriving at camp by early afternoon with time to relax before dinner. We will have at least one layover day relaxing in camp or exploring the surrounding area — this may include hiking to the summit of a peak.


  • Canoeing
    Students paddle their canoes down a streamWe will paddle on flat water lakes and rivers with minimal portaging (carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways). We'll arrive at camp by early afternoon, with time to relax before dinner. On rest days we will cook in camp, swim, and go on day hikes.


  • Backpacking/Canoeing 1
    Students in canoes stop for a selfie on the waterWe will spend two days backpacking and two days canoeing, with 4-8 miles of travel daily. With minimal or no portaging (carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways), this trip is a great way to see the Adirondacks by land and water. A great introduction to backcountry travel, this trip also provides time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondacks.


Level 2

Moderate level of physical fitness needed

  • Backpacking 2
    Students laying on the ground outdoors in a circle smiling up at the cameraWe will hike 4-8 miles daily over terrain that is hilly and sometimes steep, arriving at camp by late afternoon. Days can be long and challenging, but there are trail breaks along the way. We move camp every day, with the exception of one layover day spent relaxing and exploring the surrounding area — perhaps hiking to the summit of a nearby peak.


  • Sea Kayaking
    Students take a group kayaking selfieWe will kayak 3-8 miles daily from campsite to campsite with a rest day in the middle. We will help you perfect your kayak strokes and learn to pack your boat while enjoying the beauty of Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. Free time is spent honing kayaking skills, learning to roll a kayak, swimming, and cooking in camp. There also are numerous day hiking opportunities.


  • Climbing/Bouldering/Day Hiking
    Female student starting to climb a rock face in the AdirondacksExperience a variety of climbing across Central New York and the Adirondacks. You’ll get to try your hand at roped climbing, bouldering, and maybe even hike a peak! This trip is a great introduction to rock climbing, and no previous experience is needed. You will not only challenge yourself while scaling the cliffs, but also enjoy beautiful scenery and have a great time with your group in this beautiful setting.


Level 2+

High level of physical fitness needed

  • Mountain Biking
    Student observes as a peer on a mountain bike clears an obstacle.We'll explore Central New York state parks and forests in high gear while jumping logs, riding bridges, and seeing parts of the forest in fast forward. We will spend nights in local cabins and/or yurts while playing games and cooking group meals. During the day we will teach you basic to intermediate riding, bike maintenance, local human and natural history, and about building or maintaining features on the Colgate bike trails.

    Participants must know how to ride a bike, but do not need any previous mountain biking experience. If you have your own mountain bike, please check with us before you bring it - it should have at least front suspension. Colgate has a limited number of mountain bikes available free of charge.


  • Lightweight Backpacking
    Lightweight backpackers hike along a streambed in the AdirondacksWith backpacks 50% lighter than typical packs, we’ll carry a minimum of equipment and compensate with specialized lightweight camping techniques. Lightweight backpacking combines the splendor of wilderness travel with the glory of a light load on your back. Some previous backpacking experience may be helpful but it is not required, we can teach you everything you need to know.

    We will hike 6-12+ miles daily over steep terrain, and we will hike over one or two peaks. Days are challenging but the light packs make the long days manageable.

    We change camp daily, with one layover day spent relaxing in camp and day hiking, possibly to the summit of a peak.


  • Backpacking/Canoeing 2+
    Students take a group selfie while canoeingWe will spend two days backpacking and two days canoeing, with 5-10 miles of travel daily. The trips will involve some portaging of canoes – carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways. It is a great introduction to backcountry travel, with time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondack high peaks and the Raquette River.



To register, look for deadlines and registration links on the Wilderness Adventure home page. > Registration information