group of students jumping with mountains in background

Outdoor Experience

Begin your Westminster experience with the Outdoor Program, learning outdoor skills while meeting fellow first-year students and exploring Utah's landscape. Outdoor Experience is a pre-orientation program that complements the first-year student orientation. Trips are inclusive and open to individuals of all skill levels, including students with no prior experience. 

The Outdoor Program also works with honors students, international students, and some student-athletes to ensure everyone can participate in an outdoor experience in addition to their respective orientations. This program is for incoming first-year students only and space is limited.

About the Experience

Westminster's Outdoor Experience program is designed to facilitate a more positive transition to college life by:

  • Building a community and meaningful relationships in a dynamic and fun setting
  • Challenging students with experiences that promote opportunities for leadership, reflection of personal strengths and challenges, responsibility, communication, respect for differences, and self-confidence
  • Providing a forum for students to discuss and process their thoughts and feelings about entering college with peers and mentors
  • Drawing parallels and comparisons from the trip to the college setting, ultimately helping students learn more about themselves and how they might cope with challenging situations in the future
  • Developing an appreciation for the outdoors and providing students with a connection to the Outdoor Program

Take a look at the post "How to Get the Most Out of Outdoor Orientation" on the Outdoor Program's Facebook page. And, while you're at it, like the page so you can stay in the loop about what's happening in the Outdoor Program.

Trip Details (August 10–13, 2020)

This trip is for incoming first-year students only. No experience necessary! Hike, rock climb, paddle, explore, return to camp, and repeat. 

The Uinta Mountains are a stunning alpine playground less than 80 miles from Westminster’s campus. Participants will be base camping in a central location in the Uintas for the duration of the trip. A robust COVID-19 risk management plan involving distancing, personal protective equipment, and increased standards of cleanliness and sanitization will be in place during this experience. Email the Outdoor Program ( for more information on the risk management plan.

This trip can accommodate students who need to return to campus for Honors or International Orientations beginning on August 14.

Equipment Needed: Equipment List

Cost: $305 (includes transportation, equipment, food, camping, and instruction). If the cost is a barrier to your participation, talk to the Outdoor Program about the Participation Fund!

Registration Deadline: July 10, 2020 

Register Now

Minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in the Westminster community and keeping individuals healthy are among the top priorities for the 2020 Outdoor Experience. The Outdoor Program's plan for managing COVID-19 relies on individuals to take responsibility for their actions to protect their own and others’ health and safety. Fortunately, research is increasingly showing that spreading COVID-19 outdoors is rare, and the risk is even lower when social distancing, face coverings, sanitization and hand hygiene are in place.

No one with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may participate in the trip until they are tested and receive a negative result for COVID-19.

Enforced Management Principles and Practices

Preventative Behaviors

Everyone involved with the 2020 Outdoor Experience must engage in self-quarantine behaviors for the 14 days leading up to being together. The Outdoor Program understands that a true quarantine may not be possible with travel, moving, etc., however certain precautions must be in place during that time:

  • Minimize or avoid being in the presence of people who are not in your household.
  • Maintain a physical distance of 6 or more feet when contact with others can’t be avoided.
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose when physical distance isn’t possible.
  • Frequently wash your hands when in contact with surfaces that others have touched.

The same concepts with physical distance and face coverings will be in place on campus and during the trip.

Accommodating Shared Spaces

Camp kitchens, shelters, vehicles, and activities will all be managed to accommodate for distance and/or face coverings.

COVID-19 Health Checks

Everyone will complete signs and symptoms checks twice per day—it’ll become routine, like brushing your teeth! 

Flu Shots Recommended

Flu shots are strongly recommended for everyone—signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can sometimes look very similar to the flu. Having a flu shot helps you understand that signs and symptoms are not likely to be the flu, increasing the need to get tested for COVID-19.


Increased standards of sanitization and hygiene will be in place. Hand washing stations will be ample and opportunities to wash will be frequent. Hand sanitizer will be available for times when washing isn’t possible. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently and contact with those surfaces will be minimized.

Residence Hall Check-in

  • Outdoor Experience participants can check-in/move-in and spend the night in their rooms on August 9.
  • Outdoor Program staff will be available from 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. to help get participants checked in. If you need to check in outside of this time frame, email the program ( so you can be accommodated. There will be no residence hall check-in on August 10.
  • When you get to campus, come to the Outdoor Program in the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center. There is an exterior entrance on the northwest corner of the building.
  • If you do not already have your student ID, you will first do that. Then, you will receive your keys and staff will take you to your residence hall.

View Campus Map

Airport Shuttles

  • The Outdoor Program will provide airport shuttles periodically throughout the day on August 9. If you need a shuttle, email your flight number and arrival time to the program (
  • The shuttle arrives every hour beginning at 10:45 a.m. and is planned to run until 6:45 p.m. If you anticipate needing a shuttle outside of this time frame, just let the Outdoor Program know! The shuttle is a Westminster van and will be at passenger pick up #4 at the specified time.
  • To get to the passenger pick up lane, exit the airport after baggage claim, walk outside and cross to the farthest lane (right before the parking garage). You will see large numbers overhead—go to 4.
  • If your flight is delayed or getting your bags takes a while, don’t worry, the shuttle will wait for about 15 minutes after the pickup time, or you can catch the next shuttle. If at all possible, call the program (801.832.2866) to let someone know about the delay.

Outdoor Experience Begins!

  • Outdoor Experience officially starts at 9 a.m. on August 10. Come to the Outdoor Program in the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center with all of your trip gear packed and ready to go. You can come directly to the Outdoor Program door, which is on the northwest corner of the building. You’ll leave your gear with the program and head over to the welcome and breakfast in the Jewett Center.
  • Trips will divide into groups, meet, and take care of equipment needs. If you are borrowing equipment from the Outdoor Program for the trip, this is when you’ll get the gear.
  • Backpackers will spend a some time re-packing, and all trips will load up and depart around noon.
  • Box lunches are provided as you depart.

View Campus Map

Cancellations & Evacuations

  • If you cancel before the registration deadline (July 10) you can receive a full refund. If you cancel after July 10, but before July 24, you will be refunded 50% of the trip cost. The 50% the Outdoor Program keeps may be applied as a credit toward future trips. After July 24, no refunds will be given but 50% of the trip fee can be applied to future trips.
  • If a participant needs to leave the trip for a policy violation either on or off campus, that participant is responsible for the cost of evacuation. If a participant needs to be evacuated for other reasons, responsibility for the cost of evacuation will be assigned on a case-by-case basis depending on location, logistics, and cost.
  • Each trip has emergency communication that they can use to access help should they need it. Most trips will be out of cellular phone coverage and will not be able to receive incoming messages or calls.

Important Cancellation Information

Cancelling Before July 10, 2020: You will receive a full refund. 

Cancelling After July 10, 2020 and Before July 24, 2020: You will be refunded 50% of the trip cost. The 50% kept by the Outdoor Program may be applied as credit toward future trips. 

Cancelling After July 24, 2020: No refunds will be given, however, 50% of the trip cost can be applied toward future trips.