Outdoor Orientation

The purpose of this program is to provide students a unique, challenging, and enjoyable transition to life at Denison by forming bonds and friendships with other entering first-years — all while on the trail.

Now entering its 18th year, Denison Outdoor Orientation (DOO) offers an opportunity for up to 48 members of the Class of 2023 and 15 faculty/staff and student leaders to backpack for three days in the Red River Gorge Geological Area in Kentucky. After a day on campus preparing for the trip, participants will journey to the Red River Gorge Geological Area in Kentucky, where they will spend three days hiking, camping and relaxing.

Denison Outdoor Orientation offers an opportunity to learn new skills, face new challenges, and make new friends. This unique and amazing experience requires active involvement. A rewarding trip is the result of the combined efforts of the participants. To get the most out of the program, you must be ready to work cooperatively, contribute to group discussions, and take responsibility for our choices. Prior backpacking experience is not necessary—just a desire to meet classmates and faculty while exploring the great outdoors.

Join DOO this fall! Please complete the application. The deadline is Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

Safety & Experience

Prior hiking experience is not necessary. Participants’ experience ranges from those who had previously hiked for weeks at a time to students who had never set foot on a trail or in a tent. Anyone with a moderate level of fitness and an interest in trying something new is encouraged to apply.

To maintain the quality of this small group experience and to minimize the risks, we ask that you abide by the following policies: non-prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are not permitted on the trip. In addition, please do not use MP3 players, portable radios, cell phones, or other electronic devices on the trip.

Denison University is an equal opportunity provider and employer and a Permit Holder of the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

The Schedule

Arriving at Denison on Monday, August 19th, you will spend the day moving into your dorm, learning or reviewing the basics of backpacking, checking gear, and getting to know other hikers. On Tuesday the 20th, six groups of eight First-Year students and two leaders will travel to the Red River Gorge Geological Area in Kentucky. This region of natural beauty features moderately strenuous trails and a diversity of terrain. You will return to campus on Friday, August 23rd for August Orientation which begins on Sunday, August 25th

What equipment do I need?

Having all of your own equipment is not required.

Participants will need:

  • A pair of waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support
  • Rain gear
  • A flashlight
  • Hikers are encouraged to bring any additional equipment they have such as: a sleeping bag, tent, backpack, etc, but the university will provide necessary gear not brought by students.

A complete packing list will be provided to accepted participants.


The cost of DOO is $250. Pell Grant recipients who wish to participate may have their fees waived.

Additional Details

You will move into your fall dorm assignment upon arriving on campus. Athletes in some fall sports might not be able to participate in DOO because of early practices. Check with your coach and be sure to check your email over the summer for forms to complete and additional information.

For more information, contact:


More From Denison
Academic Majors
Academic Majors
Living at Denison
Living at Denison
Study Abroad
Study Abroad
Study Abroad
Career Exploration
Career Exploration