Apply for Pre-Orientations in your Admitted Student Portal.

Take part in a unique and challenging backpack hike through the wilds of the Otter Creek Wilderness Area of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Students will gather in groups of eight, each led by a faculty-student staff team, as they explore a beautiful and inspiring landscape of hills and forests. Spending time together during the three-day hike is a great opportunity to make new friends, learn more about Denison, and have a lot of fun.

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 cell phones or other electronic devices on the trip.

The Schedule

Pre-O Welcome Day is Saturday, August 19, 2023. Participants coming from abroad will move-in on August 16 or 17, and participants from the United States will move in between 9am and 1pm on August 19. On Sunday, August 20, participants will travel by bus to Otter Creek Wilderness Area. Participants will return to campus on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. Induction Day for Pre-O participants and all other first-year students will take place on Thursday, August 24, 2023, and August Orientation (Aug-O) will begin on Friday, August 25, 2023.

What equipment do I need?

Participants will be sent a packing list with their acceptance packet in the summer. Any necessary camping equipment not owned by the participant will be provided by Denison. A pair of waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support are required.


The cost of DOO is $300. Questbridge Scholars, Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars, and students with eligible financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid who are accepted into the program will have their fees waived.

For more information, contact: