Home » Trip Schedule » Backpacking


Backpacking involves carrying all your food and equipment on your back and hiking to a site accessible only by foot. Usually there are many rewards for the hiker enroute to the campsite. Our trail groups are generally 8-12 people. Each trip is led by Outdoor Rec. Trip Coordinators who are experienced in backpacking. Group equipment, such as tents, stoves, cooking gear, is included in the trip price. Generally, no experience is necessary, only enthusiasm! 

Upcoming Trips

OCT. 16-19 Thursday – Sunday)
Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN
Cost: $112 

Sign-up by: Friday, Oct. 3
>Bring $56 cash, check, credit card or Vanderbilt Card to the ORC to register.

Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 10/8 at 5:00 pm

It’s a relatively long drive, but this park is worth it!  Plan on backpacking 5-7 miles-a-day of up, down, and around the beautiful, colorful, Smoky Mountains.  Specific trails have not yet been determined, but plan on car-camping Thursday night and then backpacking Friday – early Sunday.  Hiking boots are advised.  Estimated trip duration:  10 am Thurs. – 6 pm Sun.


NOV. 1-2  (Saturday – Sunday)
Savage Gulf, South Cumberland State Park, TN
Cost: $49 

Sign-up by: Friday, Oct. 24
>Bring $20 cash, check, credit card or Vanderbilt Card to the ORC to register.

Pre-Trip Meeting: Tuesday, 10/28 at 6:00 pm

Savage Gulf is a great place to go backpacking.  Specific trails are yet to be determined, but the rewards are similar no matter which way you hike:  waterfalls and panoramic overlooks!  Expect to hike 5 – 9 miles a day on moderately difficult trails.  This trip is designed for the experienced backpacker or the ambitious beginner.  The trails are rocky (and challenging) in places, and easy in other places.  Overall, the reward is well worth the effort.  Estimated trip duration:  7 am Sat. – 6 pm Sun.


Trip Information

Most trips are designed for a small group of people (10-12), and many of the trips require no previous experience. The fee for each trip covers the activity, transportation, in-camp food, camping fees, and group equipment. For more information, look for flyers around campus or stop by the Outdoor Recreation Center (at 2600 Children’s Way and behind the new Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center) during rental hours. This is also where trip sign-up takes place. Trips are open to all VU students, faculty, staff, and VRWC members. Alcohol is not permitted on any trip.