Wilderness Adventure

Meet new friends, discover Colgate, and explore the outdoors. Wilderness Adventure is a great way to kick-start your Colgate experience!

About Wilderness Adventure

Each August, more than 25% of incoming students participate in Wilderness Adventure to make friends, learn about Colgate, and have an absolute blast! Living and traveling with a small group of new students and two or three highly trained leaders, you will hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness. 

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, and meet new people.


  • Start college with a group of great new friends and upperclassmen mentors.
  • Practice outdoor skills under the guidance of experienced student leaders.
  • Try something new, and maybe a little bit challenging — just like college.
  • Learn about classes, dorms, food, clubs, activities, and more from your leaders.
  • Jumpstart your entrance into community living and active citizenship.
  • Discover the Adirondack Park and Central New York – your new home.

Information on Wilderness Adventure & COVID-19

Thank you for your interest in Wilderness Adventure! Like you, we are hoping to be out exploring the Adirondacks by foot, canoe, kayak, and bike this August. At this time, we are waiting on decisions at the local, state, and federal level to determine if we’ll be able to run our usual slate of WA trips.

The short answer is yes! While we can't say for sure what form WA will take, we can say for sure that we are committed to offering an amazing assortment of pre-orientation options for the Class of 2024!

As you have probably seen by now, President Casey has announced that Colgate will make a final determination about the fall semester by June 30th, and we plan to announce our plans quickly after that date. To stay up-to-date on University communications, please refer to the Guidance for Prospective & Admitted Students page as well as the Updates & Messages page.

Outdoor Education will provide additional communications about WA as information becomes available, and do everything we can to provide early notice about any changes that are necessary.

Yes, you can register for Wilderness Adventure now, to make sure you are "in line" for the session and trip you are most excited for.

You can register using the coupon code "WAFreeRegistration" to sign-up while waiving the $100 registration fee. Once we know the plan, we'll be in touch with information about how to make final payment.

If you already signed up for WA, you don't need to do anything now, we have your registration and will be sending out information to you about all of our plans, and any changes, as soon as we are able. The deposit you have paid will be applied to the trip fee once we have determined exactly what our trips will look like this year.

If you would like to cancel your registration and refund of your deposit, please reach out to us via email, and we can take care of that ASAP. Due to the uncertainties surrounding this year's program, we are waiving our normal policy on deposit refunds/cancellations, and will issue a refund of the deposit for anyone who wants or needs one.

If you previously signed up for WA, and paid the deposit, and would like to get a refund but stay signed up for WA (now that we've made registration free), please reach out to us directly at wildernessadv@colgate.edu. It's a little tricky due to the way our online registration system works, but we're committed to making it work.

Risk management is an important part of all Wilderness Adventure trips, and is one of the core components of the Outdoor Education Leadership Training curriculum, which includes a seven-day wilderness medicine certification course. Please know that we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the health of every participant and leader, as well as the residents of the small communities throughout the Adirondack State Park, where we run our trips. We will only run trips if we are certain we can do so responsibly and in a way that meets our high programmatic standards for risk management.

If we are able to run trips, we will take appropriate steps and make necessary modifications to minimize the risk of exposure during trips. We also acknowledge that there may be a scenario where students are on campus this fall, but wilderness trips are not appropriate if the risk cannot be managed to our high standards.

While we strongly believe that Wilderness Adventure is the best way to start your Colgate career, we also know that connecting with a group of your new peers, meeting two or three awesome upper class-leaders, learning all about Colgate, and even having an adventure, are all possible even without the wilderness.

In the event that our usual WA trips aren’t possible this August, we are already putting together an alternate set of plans so that you can still have an awesome pre-orientation experience. More information about our alternate plans will be made available if and when it is needed. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email if you have any questions or concerns.

We've already updated our Registration page with new dates for trip assignments, balance payments, and form submission dates.

As we learn more in the days, weeks, and even months ahead, we will continue to update the Registration page as decisions are made about the fall semester. We will also be sending emails out to everyone who is already registered for a WA, and posting updates into the Class of 2024 Facebook Group.

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out via email.

Trips and Dates

We offer two sessions of Wilderness Adventure in August, each with a unique variety of available trips, from hiking to sea kayaking.

Trips & Dates

Registration Deadlines

More information

Fees and Financial Aid

More information

Contact Us

We are here to help with any questions about the Wilderness Adventure experience.

Mailing Address

13 Oak Dr.
Hamilton, NY 13346