• students

TREK is made up of two themed programs that cater specific student interests: Wilderness and Service - each with a variety of specific trips students can register for. TREK also offers identity and transfer specific trips meant to provide space for more intentional community development prior to the start of the fall semester.  During the registration process, interested students will select ONE trip under these banners and complete specific activities around that trip throughout their week on TREK.

Trips are led by experienced and trained student leaders who support small groups of 6-10 new students during their week of service, connection, or wilderness adventures throughout Vermont and just over the lake in upstate New York.  In a typical year more than 300 TREKKIES will join us on an adventure across all of these trips.

Wilderness TREK

Wilderness TREK provides students the opportunity to build lasting friendships, initiate self-discovery, and explore the people and landscapes that are in our corner of New England. For more than 40 years Wilderness TREK has been creating adventurous beginnings for student development at UVM.

As a TREKKIE, you will spend fives days with your future classmates, hiking the rugged footpaths of our Green Mountain Long Trail, biking from the Canadian border to Burlington, canoeing the rivers and lakes of the Adirondacks, sea kayaking the islands and shoreline of Lake Champlain, and climbing in Vermont and New York.

What Will I Learn?

Students on Wilderness TREK are immersed 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, navigation 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! 

A Typical Day on Wilderness TREK

While Wilderness TREK programs differ in focus, the general day to day is similar. Meals are communally prepared and shared. Be sure to let us know your dietary restrictions so we can be sure to bring what you like! Breakfasts are typically oatmeal or granola; lunches could include self-made sandwiches or wraps (GF breads available) with nut or seed butters, jelly, hummus, cheese, pepperoni, mustard, or heck a combo of everything. Dinners are prepared on camping stoves and are simple, hot, nutritious, and (in our opinion) delicious!

Group travel itineraries are planned with success in mind, and they can also be  challenging. Canoe portages, rugged trails, long paddles and exciting bike rides can all be found on TREK trips. Completing these challenges alongside new peers helps to forge lasting bonds that TREKKIES remember years after their experience. While no experience is necessary for many of our trips, it's important for you to know that our more challenging trips will be much more enjoyable for those with previous experience in that activity. For example, we have three levels of backpacking. If you've never backpacked before, our 'mild' trips would be best for you! Be sure to check out the specifics of the trip you’re signing up for.

After you get a chance to settle in, unpack gear, construct your evening home and prepare a shared meal, discussion of the day’s activity, group games or relaxation time follows. For bed, you’ll be sleeping in a tent, under a tarp or out in the open if you choose. Whichever method of tenting, you’ll be sleeping on the ground.

And, it’s always important to note that some trips will be staying and traveling in areas where there are no bathrooms. This means you’ll splash in a river or a lake for a ‘shower’ and your leaders will teach you how to ‘use the facilities’ where there are no facilities. If the trip description doesn’t say “bathroom facilities available” it means that the above is probably true about the trip! (Though sometimes there are facilities built where there weren’t before)

As an early arrival 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.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions about what to expect on each of the trip types listed below.

Available Trips:

BACKPACKING

TREK backpacking journeys take you to some of the highest, most remote and oldest footpaths in the country - on Vermont’s Long Trail! Backpacking groups travel by foot each day to new campsites,  wandering through hardwood forests and over trickling streams while learning about the North Country’s rich, natural history. 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 site with your group. Sleeping out with the wind and the stars never felt so good!

Recommended Abilities: When you register you will have the opportunity to choose from three different backpacking experiences: Mild, Medium or Spicy.  For all of these experiences you’ll be carrying a backpack up to 40lbs uphill and down. In addition to personal belongings, you’ll carry a proportionate amount of group gear & food.

  • Mild:  No more than 6.5 miles of hiking each day, summiting one 3000+ft summit (about 2-5 hours of hiking a day depending on the trail and the groups pace), with more frequent stops to relax.
  • Medium:  Between  5 and 8 miles a day over rugged terrain, summiting  several 3000+ foot tall mountains  (about 3 to 7 hours of hiking time depending on the trail and groups pace).
  • Spicy: Some days are over 10 miles of hiking over rugged terrain, summiting several 3000+ foot tall mountains (up to 8 hours of hiking depending on the groups pace)

Number of Total Spots Available: 88
Cost: $775
Packing List: View Backpacking Packing List

BASE CAMP

Looking to do a little bit of everything? We’ve got two new trip opportunities in 2021 that we’re really excited about! Want to hike some of the tallest peaks in Vermont? Or maybe just do some lovely day hikes to some amazing waterfalls? What about a day hanging out by a lake with some kayaks to explore with? On our Basecamp multisport trips you have a few more of the creature comforts, staying at a state park campground with showers and bathrooms.

Recommended Abilities: When you register you will have the opportunity to choose from two different experiences: Medium or Spicy.  For all of these experiences you’ll be carrying a backpack up to 20lbs uphill and down. In addition to personal belongings, you’ll carry a proportionate amount of group gear & food. 

  • Medium:  Hiking between  5 and 8 miles a day over rugged terrain  (about 3 to 7 hours of hiking time depending on the trail and groups pace). Rock Climbing on short, low-angle cliffs that are typically frequented by families and summer camps.
  • Spicy: Hiking some days over  10  miles  of hiking over rugged terrain summiting several 3000+ foot tall mountains (up to 8 hours of hiking depending on the groups pace). Rock Climbing with a variety of difficulties. 

Number of Total Spots Available: 48
Cost: $850
Packing List: View Base Camp Packing List

BIKE TOURING

The Burlington area is home to amazing views and winding backroads. What that mean is Burlington is a destination for amazing Bike Touring! You’ll spend the day biking between 20 and 60 miles a day on the Champlain Islands, in Shelburne and around Burlington. All that’s required is knowing how to ride a bike and an eagerness to be in the saddle for much of the day, rain or shine! For riders who don’t have their own road (we recommend thicker tires than traditional thin road tires for this trip) or hybrid bike, bikes are available for rent upon registering. If you plan on bringing your own bike, you’ll want to make sure it’s been well serviced and is in sound, mechanical, working condition. 

Recommended Abilities: A typical riding day for Bike Touring Trek is anywhere from 3 to 7 hours every day. That’s a lot of time on a bike!  You should be comfortable riding in a variety of conditions but don’t necessarily need to be a seasoned biker. Bike Touring is a physically demanding sport, but also affords for some great opportunities for rest and relaxation along the way! 

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $800, + if needed, $TBD for bike rental*
Packing List: View Biking Packing List

*While bringing your own bike is not required, due to Covid's impact on the global supply chain, rental prices are very high this year.

CANOEING

On TREK canoeing journeys you’ll paddle and explore the expansive wilderness of the Adirondack Park, with an area larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined! Wonders of the natural world await you at every point on the Lakes or bend in the rivers. On occasional portages, you’ll carry boats (which weigh roughly 30lbs) and gear in teams - stopping late each afternoon at campsites en route, allowing time for group cooking, discussion and relaxation. If conditions are right, moonlit time by the lake affords 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!

Recommended Abilities: Traveling successfully on New York and New England waterways requires the ability to paddle multiple miles per day with all packs, gear and food in boats...sometimes into the wind. You may think that canoeing is all in the arms, but your leaders will coach you on using your abs more than your arms. You don’t need to have any upper body strength to have fun on a canoeing trip! And, if carrying a 30lb canoe seems impossible, don’t fret, there are really cool techniques to ‘work smarter, not harder!’ It is not a requirement to be able to swim to go canoeing! This TREK experience tends to be full of a good deal of rest & relaxation. Be sure to pack your hammock!

Number of Total Spots Available: 16
Cost: $800
Packing List: View Canoeing Packing List

LAKE CHAMPLAIN ROWING EXPEDITION

New this year in partnership with our friends at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, we are excited to offer an expedition on Lake Champlain by pilot gig! Together, you will be rowing two 32' traditional open-water rowing boats crewed by 6 rowers and a coxswain. Each day, you work as a crew to paddle some of the most beautiful spots on Lake Champlain, stoping each night to set up camp, cook and relax together. For those up for a new adventure, this trip is for you!

Recommended Abilities: Traveling successfully on Lake Champlain requires the ability to paddle multiple miles per day with all packs, gear and food in boats...at times into the wind. While being able to swim and being comfortable around water is helpful for this trip, it is not a requirement to be able to swim! This TREK experience tends to have a good deal of relaxation and downtime - make sure you bring your hammock!

Number of Total Spots Available: 11
Cost: $925
Packing List: View Rowing Packing List

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Mountain Bike (MTB) TREK provides you with a unique opportunity to explore the woods, hills and hollows of Vermont from the seat of a mountain bike. Whether an absolute beginner or a seasoned rider, MTB TREKkies will ride Vermont’s most iconic bike trail networks - many of which have been consistently voted some of the best in the country. Professional mountain bike guides and TREK leaders will provide fundamental skill development to ensure a safe, adventurous and fun week. Riding groups may be organized based on prior experience and ability to best accommodate your needs. Based out of one campsite for the whole week, you’ll return each evening for meals and community time. For TREK 2021, we are excited to be partnering with our friends at 4 Points Vermont in Stowe again for another round of dirt riding!

Recommended Abilities: A typical riding day for MTB TREK is anywhere from 3 to 5 hours every day. That’s a lot of time on a bike!  You should be comfortable riding in a variety of conditions but don’t necessarily need to be a seasoned mountain biker. Mountain biking is a physically demanding sport. Fitness and determination are strong attributes to bring to this trip and will get you through some incredibly fun days. For riders who don’t have their own mountain bike, bikes are available for rent upon registering. If you plan on bringing your own bike you’ll want to make sure it’s been well serviced and is in sound, mechanical, working condition. 

Number of Total Spots Available: 18
Cost: $950 + if needed, $295 for bike rental
Packing List: View Mountain Biking Packing List

*While bringing your own mountain bike is not required, due to Covid's impact on the global supply chain, rental prices are very high this year.

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 fellow TREKKIES below. On Rock Climbing TREK, your daily experience is defined by moments like these!

Whether you’ve never climbed before, have some experience or have significant climbing experience, you’ll learn volumes on this TREK. Your professional guide and student TREK leader climbing team will ensure you are well versed in the basics of rock climbing safety, equipment, rope skills, and climbing techniques. You will visit renowned rock climbing sites in Vermont and the Adirondacks, progressing your skills at a comfortable rate and accepting new challenges daily. These skills and interest in the vertical world will set you up well for participating in future climbing opportunities both in the fall and for climbing ice in winter!

Recommended Abilities: While climbing may seem like it’s only for those with upper body strength, full mobility, or an athletic build, anyone with the desire to try it of any body type can find success. Much of the skill of climbing isn’t in strength but in technique. Some even refer to the sport as rock dancing! Climbs are chosen with beginners in mind so that the fundamentals of balance and technique can be developed. And, cliffs vary in steepness, grip size and height, so it’s easy to adjust the level of challenge offered. If you are a more experienced climber, don’t fret! All of our climbing locations offer a wide variety of challenges so there is always something harder to do!

Number of Total Spots Available: 18
Cost: $800
Packing List: View Rock Climbing Packing List

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, our body of water is rich in ecosystem diversity and Native American cultural history. By day, TREKKIES collectively ply their paddling and navigation skills traveling in flotillas from campsite to campsite utilizing the  Champlain Sea Kayak trail. Each afternoon will be a new opportunity to pull the hatch covers off of your  boats to reveal shelter making materials  and a delicious dinner. Watching the sunset over the water is a sight not soon forgotten.

Recommended Abilities: Traveling successfully on Lake Champlain requires the ability to paddle multiple miles per day with all packs, gear and food in boats...at times into the wind. While being able to swim and being comfortable around water is helpful for this trip, it is not a requirement to be able to swim to go kayaking! This TREK experience tends to have a good deal of relaxation and downtime - make sure you bring your hammock!

Number of Total Spots Available: 20
Cost: $925
Packing List: View Sea Kayaking Packing List

TRANSFER TREK

Transfer TREK is a great opportunity for students who are transferring to UVM to meet other transfer students prior to the start of their new semester at the University.  This trip is part of the Wilderness TREK program, but is designed specifically for transfer students to help you familiarize yourself with the unique challenges you might face matriculating into UVM. Each transfer student comes to UVM with valuable educational and professional life experiences: TREK creates a wilderness-based community where those experiences can be shared with other transfer students also about to begin their UVM journey.

Transfer TREK will be led by a student leader who recently transferred to UVM, and who can share their own UVM experiences - from academics to social, residential, athletic, and extracurricular life at UVM. Trip attendees will hike on Vermont's Long Trail or the Adirondack High Peaks and experience the wonder of the Green Mountains. Your group of 8 students and 2 leaders will celebrate both the many opportunities available at UVM and the diversity you contribute to the larger UVM community. NOTE: All trips are open to Transfer Students as well. 

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Packing List: View Transfer Trek Packing List

 

Service TREK

Working in small groups of 8 TREKKIES and 2 TREK Leader Interns (experienced students), Service TREK participants engage in direct service in Vermont while learning about the value of community involvement, leadership skills, developing great friendships, and living and working as a team. 

You don't need any special skills to participate in Service TREK, just an open mind and a sense of adventure. TREK Leaders and site hosts provide all necessary training and special equipment.

Service TREK groups will enjoy sleeping and cooking in the great outdoors at some of our local campgrounds or State Parks! 

What Will I Learn?

Designed as a service and leadership learning experience, Service TREK gives you the opportunity to enhance self-awareness and further develop your understanding of service, leadership, social justice, and civic-mindedness. Working as an integral member of a group, you will develop important skills, including teamwork, leadership, and communication.

You will also meet and talk with the people who benefit from your service so that you understand the context in which your service occurs. Group journals, local trips, and evening discussions around the dinner table or under the stars give TREKKIES a chance to process their experiences. You will also learn about what it means to become part of the UVM community.

A Typical Day on Service TREK

  • Early breakfast (by 8 a.m.) and departure for the service site.
  • Full work day with a lunch break for relaxation and re-energizing.
  • Depending on the day and site, TREKKIES will be joined by other volunteers not affiliated with the TREK program.
  • Evenings include preparing dinner together, reflecting on the day, exploring Vermont and hanging out around the fire at your campsite. 
  • Evening activities help you get to know one another, learn about the local community, and understand the impact of your service on your host agency.

Available Trips:

BETTER BURLINGTON

Better Burlington allows the newest members of the UVM Community to explore and serve a variety of community service agencies in Burlington, Vermont. Past projects have included help with food distribution and storage, gardening, and building beautification at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the UVM Campus Kitchen, ReSource, the Nature Conservatory, the Intervale Center, CEDO, and other agencies.

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $750
Packing List: View Better Burlington Packing List

CATAMOUNT TRAIL

TREKKIES work with the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) on projects such as bridge construction, trail maintenance, or clearing a new section of the Catamount Trail, a 300-mile, cross-country ski trail that spans the state of Vermont. Students should have at least some outdoor experience in hiking and have a basic level of fitness. A usual day on the trail includes hiking 1-2 miles into the woods with gear for the day. 

The Catamount Trail Association (CTA) was incorporated in 1984 and is a member-supported, non-profit organization with the purpose of building, maintaining and protecting the Catamount Trail as a public resource, and furthering cross-country skiing in the state. The trail now starts in Readsboro on the Massachusetts border, winds its way through the heart of the Green Mountains, and ends in North Troy on the Canadian border.

Along the way, it offers a unique opportunity to ski or snowshoe in Vermont’s backwoods during the winter. TREKKIES will camp in the natural beauty of the Green Mountains where they will learn about the valuable natural resources and environmental concerns of Vermont’s wilderness.

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $750
Packing List: View Catamount Trail Packing List

CONSERVATION 

TREKkies will work with local community partners to understand the importance of conservation projects. Previous projects have focused on learning about the value of public land, valuable natural resources, and the environmental concerns and access to Vermont's wilderness.  

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $750
Packing List: View Conservation Packing List

FARM & FOOD SECURITY

TREKKIES will work with a variety of agencies throughout Central Vermont dedicated to promoting food security and feeding folks in need. This trip explores all aspects of the "food safety net" including work at feeding and food distribution sites, and at farms gleaning produce to serve folks in need. Past service sites have included the Vermont Food Bank and Salvation Farms.

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $750
Packing List: View Farm and Food Packing List

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat TREKKIES will help build a home for a family and work in the Habitat ReStore with Burlington’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, the Green Mountain chapter. Habitat for Humanity is an international organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing from the world and building decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. TREKKIES will work as a team with other students, community members, and a family to help construct a Habitat for Humanity house. Training will be provided, and an on-site construction manager will supervise the volunteers. Prior construction experience is not necessary.

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $750
Packing List: View Habitat for Humanity Packing List

Identity-Based TREK

Currently we hold one TREK trip for students wanting an affinity space to connect over their shared identities as LGTBQ+ students and one TREK trip for the same purpose for Black, Indigenous and Students of Color.  Our identity-based TREK programs are structured to allow a group of incoming students to aid in building community at UVM around common values, challenges, and experiences derived from the identities they hold.

Note: Students not interested in an identity specific TREK experience are welcome to apply to other programs available to all. Identity TREK was established based on the requests from LGBTQ+ students (Pride TREK) and Black, Indigenous and Students of Color (Mosaic TREK) for an affinity space option, in addition to the other trips available for anyone to enroll in.

Identity-based TREK trips are all multi-activity basecamp trips you’ll, go hiking, explore Lake Champlain, tour the Burlington Bike Path and even do a little service work. On these Basecamp trips you have even more of the creature comforts, with the option of staying in a cabin with showers and bathrooms.

This trip is great for anyone of any ability!

Available Trips:

Mosaic TREK (Room still Available!) NOW OPEN TO TRANSFERS AND RISING SOPHOMORES

Mosaic TREK is for students wanting an affinity space to connect over their shared identities as Black, Indigenous and Students of Color as they enter the UVM community. It is structured to allow a group of incoming students to build community at UVM around common values, challenges, and experiences derived from their shared social identities.

So, what will you being doing on Mosaic TREK, you ask?
Mosaic TREK is a 5 day, 4 night, multi-activity basecamp trip. You’ll, go hiking, explore Lake Champlain, tour the Burlington Bike Path and even do a little service work during the days. At night you’ll stay in rustic Cabins located at Lone Rock Point, with showers and bathrooms available. Though if you’re keen on sleeping in a tent, that is also an option!

But wait, who’s leading Mosaic TREK?
Sophie Tom & Jonah Stern, both BIPOC identifying UVM students. Here's a pre-recorded video of Jonah, who's also a leader for the student club: People of Color Outdoors (POCO), and Bev Colston, the Director of the Mosaic Center.

OK OK, that all sounds good, but...what does it cost?
Well, like any TREK trip we ask student to pay for the trip expenses AND we’re excited to able to say that for Mosaic TREK specifically, we’re asking you to pay only what you can. If you’re excited about this experience but just can’t make the finances work, just tell us what you can manage, even if that number is $0! The total cost for Mosaic TREK is $650, but when you register you can select financial aid and then you can let us know how much you’ll need in our financial aid request form.

Still unsure?
 If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Devin Farkas (Devin.Farkas@uvm.edu), the Assistant Director of Student Life for Outdoor Programs, or Megan Meinen (Megan.Meinen@uvm.edu), the Coordinator for Outdoor Programs in Student Life. We both identify as white, and are happy to connect you with folks who identify as BIPOC that are involved with Outdoor Programs and TREK, if you’d prefer.

Packing List: View Mosaic Packing List

Pride TREK

Pride TREK provides incoming UVM students who identify in the LGBTQ+ community a supportive and affirming space to explore both the natural landscape and service in Vermont. Pride TREK is an excellent opportunity for incoming students to build relationships with current UVM students and incoming UVM students in an affinity space. As a PRIDE TREKKIE, you’ll spend each day enjoying a different activity - a hike, a service project, a canoe trip, etc - and return to your “basecamp” at a local state park each night to enjoy a meal together, campfire chats and even a nice warm shower!

Number of Total Spots Available: 8
Cost: $650
Packing List: View Pride Packing List

Packing Lists

Trip costs pay for essential gear for your TREK experience (Canoes, Kayaks, food, etc.) - but there is a bunch of personal gear that you need to bring to ensure a safe adventure.  Review packing lists for the trips you're interested in to ensure you prepared to have (or purchase) the necessary equipment for your trip.

View Packing Lists