May Trips

Get ready to wrap up your first year of college with an Adventure!

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Update 1/8/21: Trips are currently full, and we are accepting waitlist registrations. With all of the uncertainty this year, if trips are able to run as planned then we do anticipate a lot of movement from the waitlist, so please sign up if you want to go! 

What are May Trips?

May Trips are a FUN, relaxing, and celebratory way to finish your first year of college!

They are similar to our New Student Trips (NSTs) in that they are longer trips filled with adventure, new experiences, people you might not have had the chance to meet yet, and an opportunity to explore the PNW. One difference is that now you don’t have to worry about starting school afterwards, and instead you kick off SUMMER vacation in a fun way! Trip options (below) include camping, yurt trips, backpacking, rafting, and kayaking. College Outdoors provides all the leadership, gear, food, and planning for the trips, so all you have to do is show up and bring some excitement. All trips are designed for beginners, so no experience necessary!

Follow us for sneak peeks and trip insights!


Why go on a May Trip?

Multi-day trips are really rewarding, and offer a unique opportunity to deepen current friendships and make new friends too. We are lucky enough to call the Pacific Northwest our backyard, and we love sharing our favorite outdoor places!

Covid-19 has made this an especially difficult year to start college. May Trips are an exciting chance to do something really fun and celebrate your accomplishments after a year of such hard work!


May Trip Options

Backpack Badger Creek Wilderness

Badger Creek is a little-known wilderness area on the east side of Mt Hood. It contains a working fire lookout tower, streams and several lakes, and expanses of park-like, east side of the Cascades forests. The weather is always drier and sunnier here than the west side of the Cascade Mountains. Mid-May is the time of year you can find morel mushrooms in this wilderness, tiny wild orchids, and the vibrant green color of spring on each vine maple’s branches. Snow still lingers in the highest elevations of Badger Creek, and Mt. Hood rises leviathan-like nearby. Miles of trails, usually devoid of any other people, are found here. Each day we’ll hike through this remarkable landscape carrying everything we need on our backs, and sleep in tents at night. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Backpack Mt. St. Helens

This still-active volcano, less than 2 hours north of Portland, is spectacular in mid May. Snow still lingers at the mid and upper elevations, but the lower elevations are bursting with purple lupine flowers, wild rhododendron blooms, and a cacophony of emerald green. Waterfalls and bubbling springs are waiting to be discovered on this backpack trip, on trails traversing the mountain, toying with the snowline, and visiting some of the areas still recovering from the massive 1980 eruption. Each day we’ll hike through this remarkable landscape carrying everything we need on our backs, and sleep in tents at night. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Kayak & Hike Yurt Trip

Not far south of Portland lies Champoeg State Park, a gorgeous destination of forests, fields, and wetlands which make it the perfect place for days of kayaking and hiking.

We’ll explore some peaceful stretches of the Willamette river, where you can see great blue heron, rare Western Bluebirds, and even otter. There are no rapids on this stretch of river, so no kayaking experience is necessary - we’ll teach you everything you need to know! On land, we’ll explore the hiking trails, fascinating history of the park, and maybe even play a round of disk golf. One day we’ll take a day trip to visit the beaches and bluffs of the Oregon Coast! At night we’ll stay in cozy yurts or cabins, or you can choose to sleep solo in a tent. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Backpack Deschutes River Canyon

The invigorating smell of sagebrush and lyrical song of the Western meadowlark is the background for this trip. Only in May is the Deschutes River Canyon green and dotted with bright wildflowers. The canyon is a high desert ecosystem similar to the wide open spaces of Wyoming, but through the canyon flows the clean, clear Deschutes River, famous for whitewater rafting, trout, and steelhead fishing. You’ll be hiking on the traditional lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and in a few large side canyons, with careful searching, you can still find pictographs drawn by the original inhabitants of this wilderness. The route follows old railroad grades, cattle trails, and some eroded Jeep tracks, with lots of off-trail exploring inviting you to scramble up the canyon walls for views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams. Each day we’ll hike through this remarkable landscape carrying everything we need on our backs, and sleep in tents near the river at night. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Backpack Oregon’s Canyonlands

Visit a spectacular arid canyon as spring blossoms in the high desert. We’ll head east to the “rain shadow” of the Cascade mountains, where we can expect dry sunny weather and plenty of wildflowers. The canyon walls tower above your camp here, making it feel like you’re in a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. This proposed wilderness area features striking views, fragrant sage brush, and one of the largest natural springs in eastern Oregon. Each day we’ll hike through this remarkable landscape carrying everything we need on our backs, and sleep in tents at night. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Hike & Stand Up Paddleboard Camping Trip

Towards the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area you can experience the best of both Northwest ecosystems: arid deserts and lush forests with waterfalls! We’ll stay at a campground at Horesthief Lake, and spend time stand up paddleboarding (SUPing) and hiking nearby trails. You’ll see towering columnar basalt cliffs, striking waterfalls, and colorful wildflowers in full bloom! We’ll sleep in tents (solo or shared, your preference) and cook meals outdoors. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.

Whitewater Rafting Clinic Camping Trip

The Deschutes River basin is a desert environment covered with grasses, spring wildflowers, sagebrush, and stout juniper trees. It is inhabited by golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, deer, and other Eastern Oregon wildlife.

On this intro clinic you will learn the technical skills of maneuvering a raft and a crew of paddlers down the river, how to read whitewater, river safety and rescue skills (including raft flipping and swimming). If you’ve ever wanted to be a raft guide, this is the place to start! This trip takes place on the Maupin section of the Deschutes River, at Wapinitia, Box Car, and Oak Springs rapids. You will be camping riverside for the duration of this clinic. Although everyone wears a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), you should know how to swim and be comfortable in the water. Read the detailed trip description to learn more.


What about Covid-19?

We expect that we will still be managing the Covid-19 situation in May, so we are planning these trips to follow Oregon’s guidelines for Phase 1 of reopening. We’ll provide detailed plans, protocols, and expectations closer to the trip start date. Click here to learn more.

The good news is that the outdoors is less risky for Covid-19 transmission, and on these trips we’ll be able to have fun and build community in the fresh outdoor air!

If the situation with Covid-19 at LC or in Oregon is deemed unacceptably risky at the time of the trips, we may need to cancel. We would do this with as much notice as possible, but please be aware that if the the situation changes rapidly we may need to cancel trips with very little notice. It is also possible that some individual trips may be canceled due to location restrictions, particularly those that use facilities such as cabins or yurts. If this happens, we’ll offer you a full refund or do our best to place you on another trip (whichever you prefer).


Who can go on May Trips?

May Trips are exclusively for students who started at LC during the 2020-2021 academic year. Since we were not able to offer in-person New Student Trips (NSTs) in August 2020, these trips are a unique chance for you to participate in a longer College Outdoors trip with your peers!

As part of Covid-19 mitigation, these trips are only open to students who are taking classes on campus in person during Spring Term 2021, and are therefore already part of the “LC bubble”. 


Can I go with my friends?

Yes! In fact, we highly encourage you to sign up along with your “pod” so that you have some people on the trip from whom you are not required to physically distance. You can share a tent or cabin with your “pod.” If you’re “pod” changes or you need to make changes to what you listed in your registration form, please email us as soon as possible.


What is the Cost?

Thanks to ASLC, scholarships are applied on a need-based sliding scale. Trip cost will range from $50 to $395, depending on the trip you choose and your level of financial need as demonstrated on your FAFSA.

Trip fee includes all gear, transportation, food, and everything else needed for the trip. College Outdoors will provide all the gear you may need to borrow, such as a sleeping bag or hiking boots, at no additional cost. See your individual trip page for your packing list.


How do I pay? What if I need to cancel? 

You will receive a link to pay with your trip placement email. Since financial aid is awarded on a need-based sliding scale, you will not need to pay at the time of registration. Payments are due by March 1, 2021.

If you test positive for Covid-19, exhibit Covid-19 symptoms, or have to isolate due to your exposure to someone with Covid-19, you will not be able to attend the trip and you will be issued a full refund.

Cancellation up until April 1 does not carry a penalty, and the entire trip fee is refundable. If you know you cannot attend, please cancel your reservation as early as possible, so others on the waitlist may join. There is an administrative cancellation fee of $100 after April 1st, unless you provide information on extenuating circumstances.


When do Trips Start & End?

All trips will begin on Saturday, May 8th, and end on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Check back for more details about residence hall move-out procedures and information about where you can store your belongings during your May Trip.

On the last day of your trip, you will return to campus by 10am and be required to collect your belongings and depart from LC on that same day. No housing is available on campus after the end of your trip. 

If you are flying, we suggest that you plan a flight that departs after 2pm on Wednesday, May 12th. Airport shuttles will be provided. Please keep your travel plans flexible until at least April, when we hope to have a better idea of whether the Covid-19 situation will allow these trips to run.


How do I Sign Up?

Registration opens online (on this page) on December 1st, 2020. All registrations received Tuesday, Dec. 1st - Monday, Dec. 7th will be given equal priority for trip placement preference. After Monday, Dec. 7th, registrations are still welcome and encouraged, but trip placement will be first-come first-served based on remaining availability.

NOTE: payment is not due at the time of registration. Signing up early gives you the best chance of being placed on one of your top choice trips, but there is no financial commitment until payments are due on March 1st, 2021.


Interested in Leading a May Trip?

May Trips are student led, primarily by sophomores and juniors. Graduating seniors are also welcome, but keep in mind that May Trips are concurrent with Graduation day. Learn more and apply here.