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

APRIL 2-3  (Saturday – Sunday)
The Great Stone Door, S.C.S.P., TN
Cost: $56
Sign-up by: Friday, March 25


1. You must be part of VU and have an @vanderbilt.edu email address.

2.  Click HERE to sign up and pay on-line!

Pre-Trip Meeting:  Tuesday, 3/29 at 5:00 pm at the Outdoor Rec. Center, 2600 Children’s Way.

Savage Gulf, home to the Great Stone Door, is a great place to go backpacking.  On Saturday, we will hike to and through the door enroute to a trail on the bottom of the gorge, camping at the Alum Gap campsite.  On Sunday a side hike to a pair of waterfalls and panoramic overlooks is a great way to start the day!  Expect to hike 5 – 6 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.


MAY 6 – 9 (Friday – Monday)
Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN
Cost: $122
Sign-up by:  Friday, April 15


1.You must be part of VU and have an @vanderbilt.edu email address.

2. Click HERE to sign up and pay on-line!

Pre-Trip Meetings:  # 1 Monday, 4/18 at 5:00 pm at the Outdoor Rec. Center, 2600 Children’s Way.
# 2 Thursday, 4/21 at 6:00 pm at the Outdoor Rec. Center, 2600 Children’s Way.

Springtime in the Smokies:  a perfect way to round off another semester at Vanderbilt!  We plan on hiking three 5-8 mile days up, down, and around the Smokies.  Specific trails are still to be determined.  Beginners are welcome, but you need to be in shape, as the terrain will be challenging!  Be prepared for all types of weather.  We will have two one-hour important Pre-Trip Meetings for this trip.  Please plan to attend both.   Est. trip duration:  8 am Fri.  – 8 pm Mon.


Spring Break 2016: March 5-13, 2016 (Saturday – Sunday)


Zion National Park, UT
Cost= $550 + your own airfare to Las Vegas
Sign-up by:  Friday, Jan. 15


1. You must be part of VU and have an @vanderbilt.edu email address.

2.  Sorry, this trip is FULL.


Pre-Trip Meeting: Tuesday, Jan. 19 5:00 pm in the ORC.

This year, we will try something new for spring break.  We will meet at the Las Vegas airport and then drive up to Zion National Park for a week of backpacking and hiking.  Zion is an incredible park with impressive sandstone mountains, canyons, and towers.  It also features a dry, southwest desert, kind of like that which is in the Grand Canyon.  Due to the high elevations and chance of snow, we will not be going to certain parts of the park.  However, we have planned two backpack trips:  an overnight in the southwest part of the park and a 3-4 day trip in the southeast part of the park.  Both trails will lead to beautiful and spectacular sights!   Weather permitting; we hope to hike up the famous Angels Landing trail in between the two trips.  Total hiking for the week will be around 56 miles, but we will not have our backpack on for all of this.    Designed for the experienced backpacker, we will allow enthusiastic beginners on this trip.

Everyone who goes must be in good physical shape by the time we leave.

Participants are expected to attend one of two all day sessions on a Saturday in 2016.  This will involve a Pre-Zion Training Hike and a meeting following the hike.  Expected duration:  7:30 am to 5:00 pm, but specific dates are yet to be determined.  For your flight to LAS, arrive no later than 2 pm on 3/5 and leave no earlier than 8:30 am on 3/13.

Cost includes van transportation to/from Las Vegas, in-Zion food, hotel on both ends of the trip, group equipment, permits, camping and entrance fees.

Space is limited to the first 10 people that sign up, so don’t delay!

Click here:  Zion SB for web.3.15 for a colorful pdf

>Please contact Linda Rosenkranz, VU ORP Director, at (615) 343-7898 or via email atoutdoorrec@vanderbilt.edu if you have any questions regarding this trip.


Date:  May 21 – 29 (Saturday – Sunday)
Location:  Yosemite National Park, CA
Pre-Trip Meeting:  6 pm Wed. March 23 at the ORC.

Cost: $595 + your airfare to and from Sacramento, CA
Registration Fee: $200 can be paid on-line, the rest can be paid in later months.

Sign-up by: 6 pm Wed. March 23


1. You must be part of VU and have an @vanderbilt.edu email address.


Sign up by:  6 pm on Wed. March 23

The Summer adventures continue with the Outdoor Recreation Program and this years trip to Yosemite National Park, located in the high sierras of central California. Home to some of the most famous and captivating scenery in the world, we will have a chance to see and explore the impressive granite cliffs and domes, rushing waterfalls, alpine lakes and giant sequoia trees. This trip will include a 4-day backpacking trip and 2.5 days of day hiking. The elevation in the park ranges from around 3,000 feet to 13,000 feet so participants need to be in good shape for this trip. We will mostly be hiking from around 4,000 feet to 7,000 feet in elevation and 6 – 11 miles per day. This will be a trip to remember!

Cost includes:   Van transportation (from / to Sacramento Airport), wilderness permits, camping, entrance and other fees, in-camp food, and group equipment.

Click on this:  Yosemite web for a colorful PDF with more info!


For more information regarding this trip please contact Linda Rosenkranz, VU ORP Director, at (615) 343-7898 or via email at outdoorrec@vanderbilt.edu


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 ORC rental hours. This is also where the Pre-Trip Meeting takes place. Trips are open to all VU students, faculty, staff, and VRWC members. Alcohol is not permitted on any trip.