University of Vermont

Wilderness TREK

Wilderness TREK

What is Wilderness TREK?

This extraordinary wilderness orientation program provides students the opportunity to build lasting friendships, initiate self-discovery, and explore the people and landscapes that are Vermont. For more than 30 years Wilderness TREK has been creating adventurous beginnings for student development at UVM. As a TREKKIE, you will spend six days with your future classmates, hiking the rugged footpaths of our Green Mountain Long Trail, canoeing the rivers and lakes of the Adirondacks, sea kayaking the islands and unspoiled shoreline of Lake Champlain, climbing in Vermont and the Adirondacks. Biking TREKKIES can now experience the beauty of the Champlain Valley from a bicycle. While white water kayakers travel to the lengendary "Forks" of Maine.

What Will I Learn?

Students on Wilderness TrekImmersed in the beauty of Northern New England’s diverse wilderness environments, TREKKIES develop a number of group and independent living skills including: meal preparation, stove operation and maintenance, shelter construction, basic first-aid, navigating with map and compass, problem-solving, low impact camping ethics and cooperative learning. Traveling in small groups you will subsist on a daily diet of wondrous surroundings, engaging peers and lots of trail mix! While group travel itineraries are planned with success in mind, they are always challenging. Canoe portages, long hikes, kayak paddles and bike rides are always the special of the day. Upon completing TREK, participants are usually quick to reflect on the importance of physical conditioning prior to their TREK experience.

Who are Wilderness TREK Interns?

Most TREK Interns began developing interest in wilderness leadership as TREKKIES! Wilderness TREK Interns are UVM students like you, each with diverse interests, academic pursuits, identities, and life stories to share with their group. Most Wilderness TREK Interns have honed group leadership skills through participation in one of the UVM Outing Club's leadership development programs. TREK Interns are simply wilderness loving, adventurering, UVM Students!

TREK Interns are chosen based on demonstrated ability to create a physically and emotionally safe learning experience for TREKKIES. Leaders practice sound judgment and decision-making in support of their group and the safety of all activities. Wilderness TREK Interns are required to have American Red Cross Adult CPR and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certifications to insure the safety of participants.

A Day in the Life of Wilderness TREK

While Wilderness TREK programs differ in focus, daily activities are logistically similar. Days begin early with a nutritious breakfast followed by the ritual break down of camp. Leaders meet with TREKKIES, discuss route plans, and develop travel goals for the day. Next they’re off into the wild blue yonder to explore. Lunches are simple and prepared in the field. Energetic afternoons of continued travel and teamwork culminate with arrival at the campsite. After TREKKIES settle, unpack gear, construct their evening home and prepare a shared meal, discussion of the day’s activity, group games or relaxation time follows. As an orientation program, leaders will provide structured time for TREKKIES to ask questions about student life and experiences at UVM. No two days are ever alike on Wilderness TREK!

What Types of Trips are Available?

Rock Climbing

Picture yourself sunning on a beautiful granite outcropping looking across Lake Champlain to the Adirondack Peaks beyond…your brow is sweaty, arms tired, veins coursing with adrenaline and chest filled with pride. You’re at the top of your climb, charged with excitement, awed by the support and grateful for encouragement shouted from Trekkies below. You begin to lower, reliving the climb mentally. You pass the challenging points, ready to give advice to the next climber… and on to your next climb! On Rock Climbing TREK, your daily experience is defined by moments like these!

Whether you are an absolute beginner, have climbed in gyms or have significant “sport” or “trad” climbing experience, you will learn volumes while on Rock Climbing TREK. Your professional guide and student TREK leader climbing team, will ensure you are well versed in the basics of rock climbing safety, equipment, belay technique, climbing technique and top roped anchor systems. You will visit legendary rock climbing sites in Vermont and the Adirondacks, progressing your skills at a comfortable rate and accepting new challenges daily…returning ready for life at UVM and participation in future Outing Club climbing opportunities!


Wilderness TREK hiking journeys take you to some of the highest, most remote and oldest footpaths in the country, on the long trail and in the Adirondacks! Hiking groups will experience the “dog days” of summer on jaunts of up to eight miles per day, wandering through hardwood, over trickling streams and learning of the North Country’s rich, natural history along the way. With your pack on your back and a kick in your step, you’ll pull into camp ready for a hot meal, relaxation and an evening sharing tales of the day at your shelter or lean-to.


On TREK canoeing journeys you’ll paddle and explore the expansive wilderness of the Adirondack National Park, the largest East of the Mississippi! Wonders of the natural world await you at every point on the Lakes or bend in the rivers. Occasional portages require TREKKIES to carry boats and gear in teams. You’ll stop late each afternoon at campsites en route, allowing time for group cooking, discussion and relaxation. If conditions are right, moonlit paddles afford the chance to experience the secrets of nocturnal activity. Loons blaring their distinctive call or the cacophony of energetic peepers are not uncommon while canoeing on TREK!

Sea Kayaking

Navigating the bays, points and islands of Lake Champlain will tune you into the beauty and serenity of open water travel. Considered to be our nation’s sixth “Great Lake” by Vermonters, it is rich in ecosystem diversity and Native American cultural history. By day, TREKKIES collectively ply their paddling and navigation skills, traveling in flotillas. Pulling into designated wilderness camp sites along the champlain sea kayak trail late each afternoon, TREKKIES will pull the hatch covers on their boats to reveal shelter makings and a delicious dinner. On your last day of TREK, all bearings will point to the shore of Burlington’s bustling waterfront and the beginning of your journey as a UVM student!

White Water Kayaking

Exploring the creeks & rivers of the Kennebec River in Maine provides students interested in whitewater kayaking, the opportunity to improve existing skills or develop basic paddling skills on moving water.  Student instructors and leaders are active UVM Kayak Club leaders and are American Canoe & Kayak Club (ACA) and Swift Water rescue certified. Your group will spend days on the water and evenings camping riverside.  With experienced UVM Kayak Club leaders guiding your way, WW Trekkies can expect to learn a ton about paddling kayaks, river hydrology & safety and life at UVM.


You may think of Vermont as the ski capital of the East. Did you know that Vermont is also the bike touring capital of the East? Your world will be framed by the Green Mountains to the East and Adirondacks to the West as you travel the Lake Champlain valley, nestled tightly in between. You’ll pass working dairy farms, visit traditional Vermont villages and swim in pristine lakes and rivers. Biking TREKKIES will cover roughly 30 road miles each day. In the evening you’ll make camp in Vermont State Parks, some of the most beautiful and best kept in the country. POMG (Peace of Mind Guaranteed) Bike Tours will lead the tour with UVM TREK Interns. POMG will provide professional guides, support vehicles, rental bikes if needed, and a fun environment to experience the joy of becoming a safe and experienced cyclist.

When does TREK take place?

  • Check-in is the morning of Saturday August 20th at Dudley H. Davis Center. If you need to arrive earlier you must make accomodations to do so in the area - we are unfortunately unable to provide on-campus housing options to students prior to TREK.

    Students (and any accompanying family) will have a short period of time between check-in and departure to quickly move belongings into the student's residence hall.

  • TREK finishes on Thursday, August 25th with an all-TREKre-entry barbeque at the Davis Center.

  • Students will be able to stay in their residence hall room Thursday night after the barbeque.

  • Friday, August 26th, 2016 is the "regular" campus move-in day for all new first-year students.

How do I sign up for Wilderness TREK?

Registration for will be open starting early May 2016 - when open, registration for specific TREK trips can be done can be completed online. For more information on what this process looks like as well as more information on cancellation policies please visit our TREK Registration page.

Please Note: Spaces in TREK are limited and tend to fill quickly. Registration will be conducted on a first come, first served basis. We recommend you register as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.

Financial Support

A limited amount of Financial Support is available for those in need of financial assistance in order to participate. We offer a limited number of financial support fee reductions for the TREK experience. Our ultimate goal is to work with ALL interested first year students to make participation in TREK a reality! TREKKIES who are awarded Financial Support or Scholarships may request to borrow UVM Outing Club equipment which includes backpacks, sleeping bags, and rain gear.

Learn More about Financial Support for TREK ➝

Got Questions?

For more information about the TREK Programs, Costs, and financial support options, please contact us:
Phone: 802-656-2060
Wilderness & Transfer E-mail:
Service TREK E-mail:

Last modified February 08 2016 10:52 AM