Wilderness Welcome


Form connections and let the ADVENTURE begin

Get into the wild and university life. For ten straight 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: Sunday Aug 17th - Friday Aug 22nd.  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 between three unique adventures:

San Juan River Rafting

An breath-taking float through geological formations and human history...Read more

Sunday, August 17 to Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Days: six
  • Price: $675
  • 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

Check out why climbers come to N. Arizona from all over the world...Read more

Sunday, August 17 to Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Days: six
  • Price: $575
  • 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

Don't just snap a photo, immerse yourself in the beauty of the Southwest...Read more

Sunday, August 17 to Friday, August 22, 2014

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

Enjoy hiking and exploring the renowned canyons in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the mysterious Goblin Valley 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.


See what participants have to say about their experiences as part of the Wilderness Welcome.

Read more

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.”