Making friends to start the next four years at Princeton is what the Outdoor Action (OA) Frosh Trips are all about. Princeton University invites you to join us in our 40th annual Frosh Trip Program. Each year more than half of the incoming freshmen class starts their Princeton experience with the Frosh Trip. With that many students, we will have an incredible cross-section of the diversity of the Class of 2017—students of all backgrounds from across the U.S. as well as international students from over 40 countries.
This diversity is one of the many things that makes OA trips so unique. Being in a small group with 8–10 of your new classmates that is led by 2–3 upperclass leaders provides a great atmosphere for developing group co-operation and close friendships. You will learn an incredible amount about this group of people by living and traveling with them each day. You will learn all about life at Princeton from your leaders and make a great new set of friends. The friends you'll make in your group are just the beginning. You'll meet other freshmen who went on Frosh Trip, their roommates and friends, your Leaders' friends and roommates, etc. All of this starts with a fantastic six–day outdoor trip. You don't need any previous outdoor experience to participate, which is why so many freshmen come on the trip. OA is a perfect first adventure in the outdoors.
What do Participants Say
"The OA trip was, by far, both the most relaxing and challenging way to begin meeting new people and making this new place our home…I didn't want it to end."
"Although I'm not an outdoor girl, I loved the trip. I loved the people. I loved the whole experience. Would I do it again? In a second."
Don't miss out. Join us for Frosh Trip 2013!
"I feel so ready to start Princeton with ten new friends, although the trip made me want to just continue to hike together rather than start work…"
"My OA trip was simply a fantastic way to meet people because it forced all of us to open up and be who we really are. The experience far surpassed my expectations."
"Going all those miles with a backpack on, reaching 2,060 ft., seeing heaven-like views, all give one a sense of awe and accomplishment. Before this trip I wouldn't have imagined that I could ever do all of this."
"I think it is a great program. I got to know my group really well—and the leaders were the best. It was the perfect way for me to start off Princeton life."
"I think the trip was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned more about myself and Princeton and got to know ten terrific people. It made the transition of coming to college a whole lot easier."
"Our leaders were very organized and knowledgeable. They became a part of the group rather than a separate entity and allowed us to accept a lot of responsibility. I learned a lot and enjoyed their advice about Princeton."
"I cannot tell you how glad I am that I participated in OA. I've made some really great friendships. It was a wonderful way to be introduced to Princeton and I would strongly recommend it to EVERYONE!!"
A Day on OA
Rolling out of your cozy sleeping bag into the crisp morning air, you leave the tarp that kept you warm and dry last night. After a hearty breakfast you pack up and head out. Each day brings new vistas along the trail or the river. Lunch might be a chance to talk about how you spent your summer or learn about what life is like at Princeton.
Several miles and a few rest stops later, you get to that night's campsite. Everyone helps set up camp and you can show off your culinary skills cooking dinner. After a relaxed evening discussion and games around the campfire as the stars shine overhead, you crawl into your sleeping bag for a good night's rest.
The Frosh Trip offers a range of different activities. We will place you on a trip appropriate to your physical fitness level.
Backpacking trips will hike anywhere from 6–10 miles a day (~5–8 hours). You will hike in one of a number of wilderness areas such as: the plateaus of central Pennsylvania, the crags of the Catskills in New York, the scenic Appalachian Trail in Connecticut, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, or the summits of the Green Mountains in Massachusetts and Vermont. Most Frosh Trips are all-backpacking. (~50 trips)
Backpacking & Canoeing trips combine three days of hiking and three days of canoeing. You will cover anywhere from 6–10 miles hiking a day (~5–8 hours) or 8–15 miles canoeing per day (~4–8 hours). The trips explore the quiet flatwater or easy whitewater on the Delaware River in New York and New Jersey and backpack on the Appalachian Trail. (5 trips)
Base Camp & Community Service trips are an option if you prefer to experience the outdoors while staying in one location. Groups camp out in a state park campground for the week. You will spend several days exploring the park through easy day hikes and two days working on an environmental service project in the park. Bathrooms are available at the campground. (5-10 trips)
Base Camp & Outdoor Adventure are an option for those who prefer to experience the outdoors while staying in one location. You can try out a range of outdoor activities while staying at a rustic summer camp in northern New Jersey. Your group will get to try different outdoor experiences on the camp property and the nearby Appalachian Trail including day hikes, rappelling, high ropes course, and a trail restoration service project. Participants camp outside and cook outdoors. Bathrooms are available at the camp. (5 trips)
Backpacking & Rock Climbing trips trips combine backpacking and one or two days of rock climbing. You will hike from 6–10 miles a day (~5–8 hours) on the Appalachian Trail. 1–2 days will be spent at a climbing site learning basic rock climbing techniques. (6 trips)
Canoeing trips travel anywhere from 8–20 miles per day (~4–8 hours) and range from quiet water canoeing on the lower Delaware River in New Jersey to easy whitewater canoeing on the upper Delaware in New York. Each night you will camp along the river in state parks or private campgrounds. (2 trips)
Bike Touring trips will explore back roads on the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage–recreational bike paths in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Participants will bike 30-50 miles per day (~4–8 hours). Each night you will camp along the trail in state parks or private campgrounds. Bikes provided by OA. (2-4 trips)
Sustainable Farming trips will spend the week at a local organic farm and help with daily work while learning about the importance of local food. From picking vegetables, to baking bread, to planting new crops, you'll experience first-hand the life of a small organic farmer, and learn about how growing and eating locally enhances the environmental health of a community. (2-4 trips)
Nature & Spirituality trips bring students of all backgrounds together on easy backpacking trips which explore human interaction with the natural world and how nature is reflected in different spiritual traditions. Students will explore how different religious traditions connect with nature through discussion, nature exploration, meditation and yoga. (1-2 trips)
Wilderness & Civilization explore the complex ways humans interact with, impact, and preserve fierce and delicate wilderness areas. As we hike through some of the most extraordinary landscapes of the Northeast, we'll learn about conservation and natural history in the wild. Participants will have the opportunity to become Leave No Trace Trainers and develop the skills to teach others about Leave No Trace techniques and principles. (1-2 trips)
Frosh Trip FAQ
Q: Who participates?
A: Anyone and everyone. Last year over 60 percent of the incoming class (825 students) participated on 98 different trips. This included students from across the United States and around the world. The OA Frosh Trip is the oldest and largest preorientation program at Princeton and the single largest outdoor orientation program in the U.S.
Q: What if I have never been camping before?
A: Don't worry, most of our participants haven't camped before and soon discover that they really enjoy the experience of hiking and camping as a group. Your trip leaders will teach you all the basic skills you will need to be comfortable in the outdoors.
Q: What about Financial Aid?
A: If you are receiving need-based University scholarship funds your cost for the Outdoor Action trip is fully subsidized. The trip fee is covered by funding from the Office of Financial Aid.
Q: Do I need any special equipment?
A: OA provides all the group camping equipment and can provide backpacks and sleeping bags to those who need them. You will need to bring personal clothing and lightweight hiking boots. A detailed equipment list is on the OA Web site and will be mailed to you in July.
Q: What kind of shape do I need to be in?
A: OA offers trips at many different fitness levels from easy, to moderate, to strenuous. You tell us what you would be most comfortable with and we will place you in the most appropriate trip for you based on the information in your application form. We encourage everyone to engage in some type of regular physical activity in preparation for the trip.
Q: What kind of training do OA Leaders have?
A: All OA leaders complete a rigorous training program that includes backpacking skills, wilderness first aid, leadership, and group dynamics. The OA Leader Training Program is one of the most extensive and emulated of any college outdoor program. The OA Leader Handbook, The Backpacker's Field Manual, published by Random House has sold more than 150,000 copies worldwide.
Outdoor Action Program