Wilderness Welcome

Wilderness Welcome

These programs are offered only in Fall Semester

Let the Adventure Begin

Get into the wild and university life. For over ten years, Outdoor Adventures has welcomed first-year students to NAU with an adventure designed to connect students to each other and the pristine wilderness in our "backyard."  Meet other adventurous first-year students, be a part of a memorable wilderness trip, and make a bold start to your university experience.  Wilderness Welcome occurs the week before move-in: Saturday, Aug 22nd - Thursday, Aug 27th.  During the trip, we'll securely store your room gear and after the trip, we'll help you move-in!  Each program is led by a professional outdoor educator, with the support of outstanding student-leaders whose goal is to help make your transition to NAU smooth and fun.

We will be at freshman orientation. Attend our presentation to learn more about these exciting trips!

Choose from Three Unique Adventures

Our physical challenge scale provides you with guidance on how much physical exertion you can expect in the trip or class, with one being the lowest level of exertion and five being the highest. 

San Juan River Rafting

Fall 2016

  • Days: six
  • Price: $675 (academic credits included)
  • Physical Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
  • Activities: hiking, rafting
  • Credit: two - Parks and Recreation Management (PRM)

Relax and connect with other students as you take in the incredible landscape that surrounds you while floating down the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado River in southern Utah. A few rapids will keep you on your toes and as you wind through desert petroglyphs and ancient cliff dwellings that provide a powerful glimpse into human history. Set off from Sand Island and travel 26 river miles to Mexican Hat, discover more about the desert and create great friendships on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Northern Arizona Rock Climbing

Fall 2016

  • Days: six
  • Price: $575 (academic credits included)
  • Physical Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
  • Activities: hiking, rock climbing
  • Credit: two - PRM

Northern Arizona is a rock-climber’s haven, with hundreds of routes for both beginner and advanced climbers.   Offered through a partnership with the skilled staff at Flagstaff Climbing Center, this trip is perfect for anyone interested in connecting to Flagstaff's climbing community while meeting other student climbers.  Connect to this unique sport that helps build strength, relieve stress, and develop problem-solving skills.

Canyon Country Hiking Adventure

Fall 2016

  • Days: six
  • Price: $550 (academic credits included)
  • Physical Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
  • Activities: hiking, backpacking
  • Credit: two - PRM

Enjoy hiking and exploring the renowned canyons in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in southern Utah. The Canyon Country hiking adventure brings you to colorful landscapes eroded into countless canyons, striking mesas, and jutting buttes. This trip is perfect for students new to the outdoors, as camping always occurs at established campgrounds, typically with basic "front country" conveniences.  Options also exist for the more seasoned outdoors person to get out and explore these impressive destinations. Hiking distances are dependent upon group's interests.

  1. 50% deposit due by August, 1st. Once you pay the full balance (due August 8th), you are committed to the trip. Save your spot today before the trips fill to capacity!     
  2. To sign up for a class, visit the Northern Arizona University Recreation Center front desk, located inside the Health and Learning Center or call 928-523-1733.


What participants have to say about their Wilderness Welcome experiences

Amy G., Arizona

“Can words actually symbolize the gratitude and fun I experienced during the Wilderness Welcome program? I was able to find myself throughout the rafting adventure, which was unexpected.” 

Travis B., Idaho

“Before this course, I was anxious and a bit worried about my upcoming college career, but through it I was able to start college with an open mind, ready for everything from homework to dorm life to the Student Union to a positive social life. I’m very happy I went through this program.”

Brooke N., Hawaii

“Not only did this experience increase my appreciation for the outdoors, it made my transition into college extremely smooth. Because Wilderness Welcome created such a tight knit environment for students, it was inevitable that we would eventually become close to one another.”

Noah R., Alaska

“When I heard about the Wilderness Welcome program I was excited about the opportunity to meet other incoming college students before the start of school. I decided to attend the San Juan River trip. The decision to attend this trip was one of the best I have ever made. It gave me the chance to meet new friends and helped feel comfortable when school did start…Today I am still great friends with a number of people from the Wilderness Welcome. My main group of friends is from the trip. My best friends here all attended the Wilderness Welcome.”

Alysa F., Arizona

“This summer, I made the best decision imaginable before beginning my semester here at Northern Arizona University. Attending Wilderness Welcome not only eased my anxiety about beginning college, it helped me meet new people and open doors for many possibilities in my future.”

Sarah R., New Mexico

“Not many people get the opportunity to go on a trip that sets them up for the next four years of their life. I can attest to the fact that I have entered Northern Arizona University more prepared and confident than I would have otherwise, had I not gone on the Wilderness Welcome trip down the San Juan River. The trip was not only a fun retreat; it also fostered a great sense of community, introduced me to good friends, and allowed me to feel confident before entering college.”