Outdoor Pre-Orientation

Outdoors Pre Orientation 2022

Since 1997, the Office of Experiential Education has been offering the Outdoor Pre-Orientation (Pre-O) for First-year students. The Outdoor Pre-O mission is to offer meaningful and exciting wilderness experiences that allow incoming students to explore the outdoors, engage with other students to establish a supportive network of peers, and facilitate a successful transition to better prepare students for life at Johns Hopkins University.

The Experiential Education program offers various week-long Pre-Orientation outdoor experiences for incoming students facilitated by upperclassmen in the Experiential Education program. Our instructors have technical outdoor skills and interpersonal leadership skills developed through their continued training. Instructors are certified as Wilderness First Responders and CPR providers as well as completed a 10- day Outdoor Leadership course. Participants will learn valuable outdoor skills, overcome new challenges, and learn about student life at Johns Hopkins University. Throughout each of the outdoor experiences, including Backpacking, Climbing, White Water Kayaking, Canoeing and Hiking, and Multi-Element, the groups of incoming students will have the opportunity to create meaningful friendships before moving on campus. You may even pick up a few back-country skills that will help you survive college. None of the trips require previous outdoor experience!

Outdoor Pre-Orientation Trip Descriptions

Appalachian Backpacking

On this trip, we will spend the week covering about 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail through Maryland’s beautiful and rugged section. Your group will camp in shelters maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. When the shelters are full of thru-hikers, we will set up tarps or sleep under the stars!

This trip is a great introduction to all things backpacking; including Leave No Trace outdoor principles, backcountry cooking, and the ins and outs of life on the trail.

This trip is one of the more physically demanding trips.

Canoeing and Hiking

Postponed for Summer of 2022

On Canoeing and Hiking Pre-O, the week is split between land and water. We will spend three days backpacking on the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail, and then we will switch into canoes and paddle and camp along the Potomac River!

For the days on the river, you will learn the basics of canoeing, including paddle strokes and water features. While you paddle and float down the Potomac enjoying the sun the final day you will run some exciting rapids.

For the backpacking portion, your group will camp in shelters maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. When the shelters are full with thru-hikers, we will set up tarps or sleep under the stars!

This trip is a great introduction to all things backpacking and canoeing; including Leave No Trace outdoor principles, backcountry cooking, and the ins and outs of life on the trail.

Climbing

On the Climbing Pre-O trip take your outdoor experience to new heights!

Spend the week rock climbing at various crags in Maryland and Virginia. This trip is geared towards beginner climbers, but experienced climbers are can be challenged too. Our Instructors set up and pick climbs tailored to your experience levels.

Participants will learn all the basics from knot tying and belaying to rappelling and rope systems. Each night you will return to camp to unwind, cook dinner and hand out with your new climbing partners.

Multi Element

If you are the kind of person who likes a little bit of everything, then Multi Pre-O is for you!

Each day you will get to try your hand at a new activity including, canoeing, backpacking, biking, and whitewater rafting. Every night, each of the five individual multi groups returns to base camp at Ohiopyle State Park in PA. This allows for you to mingle with people outside of your small group, to hang out and play games around the fire, and meet new friends!

This trip is well suited for those looking for daily adventure with the ability to return to camp and relax

Whitewater Kayaking

On our Whitewater Kayaking Pre-O trip, we will get you started in your own kayak and in no time you will be on a whitewater adventure. We will paddle numerous rivers in the Maryland and West Virginia area.

Throughout the week we will paddle class I to class III rapids, and then camp out each night. You will learn all about the sport of whitewater kayaking while working up to running more challenging rivers as the week progresses.

No experience is necessary, but participants should be comfortable with frequent submersion and have good swimming skills.

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Other Pre-Orientation Options

There are also other great Pre-Orientation options if you are looking for something different or shorter. To find out more about these programs, check out the Pre-Orientation program page.