GW TRAiLS is the George Washington University’s outdoor adventure and leadership program that is committed to connecting the GW community to the outdoors. Join GW TRAiLS on one of our weekend trips or on an extended break for a longer immersive outdoor experience.
Join us for trips including hikes in Shenandoah National Park, bike rides through DC, ice skating at the Georgetown waterfront, and whitewater rafting in West Virginia! Trips are updated weekly.
TRAiLS Guide volunteers train for, plan, and lead all the outings, organize the logistics, and provide support to ensure a safe, educational, and fun-filled adventure. We are Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified.
TRAiLS General Body Meetings offers bi-weekly meetings and activity-based events that are open to all members of the GW community, regardless of outdoor-related experience.
GW TRAiLS lends gear to all GW community members for FREE! You can learn more by contacting us via email.
Interested in receiving weekly updates from us on upcoming trips and events on campus? Subscribe to our newsletter: The Trailblaze.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why does TRAiLS charge for outings?
TRAiLS is not a business and does not make any profit on the outings it organizes. Trip costs for activities without an outfitter, such as a day hike, cover transportation to and from the location. For activities with an outfitter, our costs are usually lower than they would be if you were to do it on your own because our costs are shared among participants and we are able to receive favorable group rates. We do not profit off of any of our payments.
- Can my friends and I drive our own cars and meet up with you at the trip site?
Unfortunately, no. For liability purposes, all participants on an official university-sanctioned trip must travel together in the official university-sanctioned transportation. All TRAiLS trips that require transportation in the D.C. area and outlying vicinity (i.e. within driving distance of campus) must utilize vans either owned or rented by the university.
- If I decide not to go on a trip after I've signed up, can I get a refund?
In order to receive a full refund, you must contact us on or before the trip cancellation date, which is typically 3-4 days before the trip date and is listed on the registration page.
- How does the waitlist work?
Some trips have waiting lists, which open up once the trip is already full. When adding your name to a waiting list, you do not have to pay for the trip unless (and until) a spot opens up. If a place becomes available, you will be contacted; if we are unable to confirm your interest and payment for the trip, we will move down to the next name on the waiting list.
- What if I oversleep and arrive late for my trip?
TRAiLS trips run a tight schedule and we typically cannot wait for participants to arrive late. It is important that you plan ahead and prepare to arrive on time. Your trip leaves at the time noted in the registration and communicated to you from the Lead Guide. Waiting for one participant to arrive compromises the experience of the entire group. If you oversleep or show up too late to join the trip, you are not eligible for a refund.
- If I don't have my own gear, can I rent it from TRAiLS?
Yes, we can lend FREE gear to students, alumni, and University affiliates. We have everything necessary for camping and backpacking trips: tents, tarps, sleeping bags and pads, backpacks, MSR stoves, pots, and pans, etc at no upfront cost. Email [email protected] for rental inquiries.
- How safe are TRAiLS trips? Are outdoor adventure activities really risky?
TRAiLS operates strictly within University lines on risk management. All of our activities are approved by the University for safety. Guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. We are prepared with first-aid supplies, information about the nearest medical facilities, and trained extensively in emergency safety procedures. One of the first tenets of safe outdoor recreation is "preparation", so we do everything in our power to be prepared in the face of any incident. It is imperative that participants communicate any allergies, dietary restrictions, medical conditions, and other accommodation needs in the registration process so that we are prepared with information about your needs.
- If the weather is bad, will my trip get canceled?
We do not cancel trips for rain unless conditions are unsafe. If we decide that the risk of dangerous (not just rainy or cold) weather in the area is too great, we will notify all participants as soon as possible. If we cancel, everyone will receive a full refund. If you don't show up because the weather appeared "uncomfortable," you will not be refunded.
- If I am not affiliated with GW in any way, can I still come on the TRAiLS trips?
We may offer space to non-student participants on trips on an as-requested basis. Please email us if you're interested.
- What are Adventure Breaks?
On extended academic-year breaks, such as spring break, we plan extended trips called Adventure Breaks. In the past, we have led winter trips to Costa Rica, and spring trips to the Grand Canyon and the Appalachian Trail. Stay tuned to our upcoming trips page for more information.