Wilderness Welcome Orientation Trips

Stay healthy and get out in the Alaska wilderness. A big part of enjoying life in Fairbanks is embracing an active, outdoor lifestyle. UAF Outdoor Adventures offers Wilderness Welcome Orientation before the traditional New Student Orientation. Start your time at UAF right by participating in a pre-orientation wilderness experience.

New for fall 2024- We will be offering both a fully immersive wilderness experience that includes camping out in the wilderness as well as a campus based adventure orientation during which you will get to experience awesome adventure and wilderness in interior AK , but get to sleep and eat supper in the comfort of the campus residence halls each night.  This campus based adventure orientation is designed for folks who might be intimidated by 4 days of sleeping and going to the bathroom in the backcountry as well as ESL international students who a language barrier might make communication for a backcountry trip cumbersome.  

During Wilderness Welcome students from all over the U.S. and the world get to know each other while they explore Alaska's vast wilderness. No experience is required, but all students will be challenged. 


Trip options to choose from
Wilderness Based Denali Backpacking

Strap boots to your feet and a pack to your back, because you will be walking the beautiful Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park. This open ridge hike is above tree line and overlooks the 6000m Denali and the rest of the Central Alaska Range. This is an amazing wilderness trip that has four days of awesome views and challenging hiking, and you might even see a bear!


Wilderness Based Multi-sport (camping, glacier hike, canoeing, rock climbing)

We will head to the Eastern Alaska Range and set up camp.  From our base camp, we will do a day-hike up onto the awesome Gulkana Glacier.  We will also take a trip to Fielding Lake to canoe, and hike in the surrounding hills.   We will be deep in the wilderness exploring this little visited part of Alaska.  We will also do a second day-hike out the Red Rock Canyon road to get some great views of the Canwell Glacier and the rest of the Eastern Alaska Range. Additionally, we will spend an afternoon rock climbing at Bear Creek.

   gulkana glacier

Campus Based Adventure Orientation

We will spend four days exploring and adventuring in Interior Alaska.  Each day a new adventure awaits including berry picking on a scenic dome,  rock climbing at our local crag, a day hike in the alpine tundra above treeline, and a raft trip on a glacial river.  In the evenings you will get to eat and relax back on campus to help get you fresh for the next days adventure.

Tanana River

Schedule of Events for Wilderness Based Trips

Day 0
Friday, August 16, 2024

Students should arrive in Fairbanks on this day. Transportation from the airport can be arranged. Students who plan to live on campus can move into their residence hall that day. Students living off-campus will need to provide their own housing.  Anyone arriving before 8.16.2024 will need to provide their own housing before this day.

Day 1
Saturday, August 17, 2024

Wilderness Welcome begins @ 10am! This day will consist of pre-trip meetings, brief tours of campus and Fairbanks as well as taking care of new student business like the Polar Express cards and the campus post office. It will also serve as a day to allow students to get over any jet-lag. Personal errands should be taken care of prior to meeting at 10:00 a.m. this day. Once the program begins, students will be very busy and will need to be there for the day's activities. We will provide lunch and dinner for this day! 

Day 2-5
August 18-21, 2024

Students will depart for the field on one of our different four-day adventures. The morning will be spent driving, but students will be hiking by lunchtime. On Wednesday, students will return from their trips in the late afternoon. Students will be back to participate in the opening BBQ for the traditional New Student Orientation.  All meals will be covered during Wilderness Welcome.

Day 6
Thursday, August 22, 2024

This is the first day of traditional Orientation.

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Schedule of Events for the Campus Based Adventure Trips

Day 0
Saturday, August 17, 2024

Students should arrive in Fairbanks on this day. Transportation from the airport can be arranged. Students who plan to live on campus can move into their residence hall that day. The price of early move-in is included in the program.  Students living off-campus will need to provide their own housing.  Anyone arriving before 8.17.2024 will need to provide their own housing before this day.

Day 1
Sunday, August 18, 2024

Campus Based Adventure Orientation begins @ 10am! This day will begin with a pre-trip meeting and a get to know each other activities.  At noon we will head out to one of our local berry picking hot spots on one of our scenic local domes. We will provide a picnic lunch and make sure to get you back to campus in time to grab dinner at the campus dining facilities.  (breakfast and dinner not included) 

Day 2
Monday, August 19, 2024

Students will meet at 8am to get geared up to head out on a day of rock climbing.  We will head to Grapefruit rocks and spend the day toprope climbing a wide variety of routes at our local crag.  No climbing experience is necessary to enjoy this day of climbing and all of the gear and expertise are supplied.   On our way back to campus we will stop at the local grocery store so that folks can pick up dinner items.  A picnic lunch is supplied for this day out.  (breakfast and dinner not included) 

Day 3

Tuesday, August 20, 2024

Students will meet at 7am and head out into the heart of the White Mountains for a day hike.  We will head out to Eagle Summit and the beautiful and stark alpine environment above treeline.  We will do an out and back hike on the Pinnell Mtn trail.  Lunch is provided on this long day out.  To cap off this awesome day of hiking we will stop at a local restaurant and eat dinner together before returning to campus. (Student will need $20-25 for their dinner out)

Day 4

Wednesday, August 21, 2024

Students will meet at 8am and get geared up for a raft trip on the Tanana River.  We will float from Tanana Lakes to Perkins Landing. We will stop for lunch on a gravel bar where we can also explore the unique environment of a large glacial river.  After this great float folks will get back to campus in time to get cleaned up and join the rest of the traditional new student orientation students at the welcome BBQ.

Day 5
Thursday, August 22, 2024

This is the first day of traditional Orientation.

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Wilderness Based Trip cost is $395 for Fall 2024.

Campus Based Trip cost is $295 for Fall 2024

The price includes transportation, food, equipment, instructors.

This price also includes early move in to campus housing. Early move in starts on August 16th or 17th depending on which trip.

For the Wilderness Based Trips, meals are provided starting with lunch on August 17th through Rev It Up BBQ on August 21nd.

For the Campus Based Trips, lunch is provided each day but students need to provide their own breakfast, dinners and snacks during the program.

Students must provide footwear, clothing and personal items. All other equipment for the trips is provided if needed. A complete packing list will be mailed after we receive your registration.

Sign up

To register,  fill out the Google registration form to reserve your spot. 

We will contact you to make a down payment of $50 to finalize your registration. (This $50 is subtracted from the final trip cost) 

Email  uaf-oa-staff@alaska.edu with any questions! 

Space is limited, so don't hesitate to register. Registration closes 8.7.2024.!

Fall 2024 Sign Up Here

UAFAA support logoThank you to the UAF Alumni Association

It is through continued support from the UAF Alumni Association (UAFAA) that Wilderness Welcome and other Outdoor Adventures trips can include equipment use with trip fees. UAFAA support helped in OA's purchase of a raft and backpacks.