Wilderness Orientation

WO 2023 group on their way to Smith Peak

WO 2023 Photo Gallery

Wilderness Orientation 2024: June 18-25. Yosemite National Park.

Registration is now open.

Priority will be given to students completing their first years (frosh and transfers).

For almost 40 years, UCSC's Wilderness Orientation (WO) has proven time and again to be an invaluable experience for early-career college students. Throughout the trip students are introduced to both wilderness travel and the college environment, both within the context of a healthy group experience.

WO was founded in 1983 to deliver a life-changing, community-building outdoor experience.

WO trips are designed with four primary Intended Growth Outcomes:
1. Community and new friendships
2. Confidence to face challenges
3. Awareness of self, group and the environment
4. Transference to college life

These outcomes occur through the thoughtful facilitation of WO’s four primary Course Elements:
1. Wilderness travel
2. Peak ascent
3. Solo
4, “Evening O” (nightly circles involving laughter and reflections)

The beautiful, informal setting provides students with an excellent opportunity to form new friendships and discuss their hopes and fears for their UCSC experience.

As one recent student reflected after their WO expedition...

“I was able to form meaningful connections in only a week. We were there for each other through the highs and the lows. I laughed and smiled more in that week than I have in my whole life. I consider my WO companions my family.”

Leaders, transportation, group gear and food are included. Personal gear rentals are available at Rec Rental.

2024 Dates:

- June 18-25, 2024

- Tu, 6/18, 8am: Meet your Wilderness Orientation instructors outside the East Field House. Pack and depart.

- W-M, 6/19-6/24: Backpacking Expedition in Yosemite National Park.

- Tu, 6/25: Conclude the last day around 3pm at the East Field House.

Special Note: Wilderness Orientation can be a physically and emotionally demanding experience. If you are under the care of a doctor concerning your physical or emotional health, please consult them before registering for this program.

Our Instructors: The WO staff takes great pride in the program and strives to create meaningful experiences for all participants. Each group of 10-12 students is led by highly qualified instructor teams. All of our staff make safety their first priority. Each instructor is highly skilled in backpacking, rock climbing, and group facilitation, as well as wilderness medicine certified. Each leader works hard to encourage positive and supportive group dynamics. They are dedicated, energetic, and inspiring people.


Adventure Rec Office
(831) 459-2807