First-Year Trips

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Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips, also known as Freshman Trips or just Trips, is a first-year student outdoor orientation program at Dartmouth College. Trips student-directed program in the Dartmouth Outing Club. In 2010, 95% of the incoming class of 2014 went on a Trip, making Trips the largest outdoor orientation program in the country.[1] Trips takes place between the summer and fall terms at Dartmouth, and usually lasts about two and a half weeks. Trips are led by current Dartmouth students, called Leaders, and incoming students are often referred to as Trippees.


Trips was founded in 1935. The program has been student-directed and staffed since its inception. The program began as a niche activity for 'outdoorsy' incoming students, but in the late 1980's the Outing Club made the decision to encourage all incoming students to go on a Trip. To this day, Trips has a goal of 100% participation among the incoming class.

Current Participation

Trips is open to all incoming students, as well as transfer students and exchange students. Exchange students, transfer students, and international students are often placed on the same trip, to facilitate bonding among trippees from similar backgrounds.

Types of Trips

Incoming students express preferences for several types of trips. Since some trip types are more popular than others, some students do not get their first choice.

Bike and Hike

Bike and Hike Trips involve a few miles' bike through our neighboring Town of Norwich to your first campsite. From there, your group can choose from a variety of hiking and/or biking options, exploring outwards from your base camp! Bike and Hike is rated a 'moderate' Trip, as there is a bit of uphill pedaling involved.

Cabin Camping

Cabin camping involves a limited amount of hiking to one of the DOC's cabins and staying there both nights in the wilderness. Light day hikes are optional, but encouraged. Cabin camping is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the New England wilderness regardless of outdoors experience and physical ability.


Canoeing Trips are flatwater trips led by experienced members of the Dartmouth Outing Club. Canoes, life jackets, and paddles will be provided. Students will be expected to bring their own packs or duffel bags. Waterproof equipment is desirable. Canoers will be required to take a swim test upon their arrival in Hanover.


Climbing Trips involve both some tough hiking and introductory climbing. On the first day, this trip will go on a challenging 8 mile hike. After camping out in shelters or under tarps, the trip will spend one day learning to rock climb. This trip is ideal for good hikers (or other folks who are fit) who wish to be introduced to the world of rock climbing.

Community Service

Community Service will spend the first day of trips in the woods on a hike like any hiking trip. On the second day, this trip will visit the local Glen Cliff Elderly home, be introduced to the home by staff, and provide companionship to elderly residents with Alzheimer's for part of the day. The third day will be spent hiking once again. Students should be ready to give their time to help out the community as well as be prepared to do some moderate hiking. This trip will stay in one of Dartmouth's beautiful cabins at the base of Mt. Moosilauke.

Farm Livin

Trips will go to a working animal/vegetable farm in nearby Vermont, where incoming students will participate in chores, help out with ongoing projects, and learn about daily life on a Vermont family farm. Trippees should be excited to work hard and to learn about a different lifestyle. There will also be plenty of time for taking walks around the property, going for a swim in the pond, or just hanging out and enjoying the scenery.


Fishing Trips spend the first two and a half days in the Dartmouth College Grant, a 27,000 acre wilderness area in northern New Hampshire. Due to the uncooperative nature of the fish, many students come away disappointed by their fruitless attempts to catch fish. The Grant does, however, provide ample opportunity for hiking and nature study in addition to open-reel fishing. We urge you to consider this activity in your choice of trip options. If you don't have your own rod, we can lend you one! You will be required to purchase a short-term fishing license for the state of New Hampshire (information on acquiring a license online provided below).

Hike and Yoga

Hike and Yoga trips will mostly function like less difficult hiking trips or a cabin camping trip, except that you'll have a yoga guru as one of your student leaders. Along with daily mileage, trippees should be prepared for fun and informal yoga sessions on beautiful sections of trail. Yoga trips will be based out of a beautiful DOC cabin and there will be plenty of time to take a break from meditation and just hang out.

Hiking 1 - Least Difficult

Hiking 1 trips are ideal for getting an outdoor challenge without invoking an extreme amount of struggle upon an impossible mountain slope. You will be hiking on the DOC trail system and staying in shelters or cabins. You can expect to hike five miles or more per day, but since you are in a less mountainous region of New Hampshire, the trail will not be too rugged. There are some fine views along the way and you might expect to earn a few blisters in getting to them! Elevation gain: 0 to 1500 feet.

Hiking 2 - Moderate

Moderate hiking trips involve some hiking and provide fine views of the White Mountains. You should be prepared to hike five to ten miles a day over moderately difficult terrain. These are great trips for those who are willing to accept a challenge, but don't care to unduly punish their bodies. You will stay in shelters or under tarps. Elevation gain: 500 to 2500 feet.

Hiking 3 - Harder

Harder hiking trips involve 2,000 to 5,000 foot elevation gains. Much of the hiking will be above treeline involving distances of up to ten miles. These trips are designed to provide similar views to those of the psycho hiking trips but without all of the physical strain.

Hiking 4 - Most Difficult

Hiking 4 trips are for experienced hikers only. This type of trip involves some of the most rugged hiking conditions in the East. Most of the peaks you will climb will be above treeline and must be reached by steep ascents. Distances average ten miles a day. You will spend the night in shelters or under tarps supplied by the DOC. Be prepared to sweat a few quarts and be familiar with the application of moleskin for blisters! These are tough trips but those who have hiked them in previous years insist that the spectacular scenery makes them well worth the effort.

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding Trips take advantage of Dartmouth's beautiful riding facilities at the 180-acre Morton Farm. Intended for riders with some experience, riding trips feature long trail rides and a chance to enjoy all aspects of English riding. Horseback riders will camp on a remote portion of the farm property, and rise early to tend and tack the horses. Sturdy boots are a must for this trip, but all other riding equipment (including horses) will be provided.

Kayaking Flatwater

Flatwater Kayaking Trips take sea kayaks along the tranquil Connecticut River. You will get to see the scenic Upper Valley and learn basic sea kayaking skills. No hiking equipment is required and warm, non-cotton clothing is strongly encouraged. The trip helps students get acquainted with the countryside nearby Hanover! Kayakers will be required to take a swim test upon their arrival in Hanover.

Kayaking Whitewater

Whitewater Kayaking Trips begin with instruction in the basics of how to kayak, including strokes and basic boat movement. From there prepare for a taste of whitewater as you practice on real (small) rapids. No kayaking experience is necessary or expected, but you must be a strong swimmer. We provide all kayaking equipment, but you should bring warm clothes and long underwear which you don't mind getting wet (no cotton!). Kayakers will be required to take a swim test upon their arrival in Hanover.

Natural History

Nature appreciation will explore New England's landscape by taking walks in the woods. Trippees will stay in a cabin next to a beautiful lake. Leaders will be able to identify native flora and fauna, and will be familiar with how New Englanders have used land in the past and present. A local naturalist will accompany the trip for a day to co-lead exploration.

Nature Photography

Nature photography trips provide a great opportunity for students with an interest in photography to explore and photograph New Hampshire's White Mountains. You will stay in a cabin both nights and you will take day hikes into the mountains guided by student-leaders with a background in photography. The difficulty of the hikes will be easy to moderate. If you don't have much hiking experience and enjoy photography, this is the trip for you!

Nature Writing and Painting

Nature Writing/Painting trips are led by students with a backgrounds in writing and/or painting. You'll stay in one of the DOC's cabins, and explore the area through day hikes and pleasure walks. Then you'll be invited to use your surroundings as inspiration for creative creation. You can write, paint, share, and discuss as much or as little as you want.

Organic Farming

Organic Farming Trips involve a leisurely canoe followed by a two day stay at Dartmouth's very own Organic Farm. At the farm you will learn the basics of organic farming while helping out during the peak of harvest season. The farm's location on the bank of the Connecticut River makes it an ideal location for swimming and enjoying the river. Organic farmers are guaranteed to have a good time and eat like royalty.


Trailwork Trips this year will be spent on and around Mt. Moosilauke. Your time is spent building new trails and repairing/clearing old ones. Not only is this a great adventure in a beautiful place, but it is an opportunity to give back to the DOC. We teach you everything you need to know about trailwork, and these trips provide an excellent introduction to some of the work that is done by the Cabin and Trail division of the Outing Club. And keep in mind that after a hard day's work, you will definitely feel accomplished (and maybe even a little burly!)


Trips is a student-run program, with students handling almost all of the work associated with making Trips happen. The Outdoor Programs Office provides advice and administrative support.

Trips Director

The Trips Director is a current or recent student at Dartmouth College. The Director is responsible for all volunteer coordination, logistics and planning, and operational details during Trips itself. The Director is hired in the late fall, and works through the fall of the next year. The Director is hired by the DOC President and the Outdoor Programs Office. The Director and the Assistant Director|Assistant Director are the only students who receive any compensation for their work for the Trips program.

The Director is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the recruitment and hiring of all other program volunteers.

Assistant Director

The Assistant Director is hired by the Director, and works for the Director at his or her discretion. Traditionally the Director and Assistant Director split the workload and work closely throughout planning and Trips itself. The AD and the Director are the only two paid members of the Trips program.


Five support crews, knows as Croos, work during trip to provide logistical support, medical support, and entertainment to trips.

  • Hanover Croo (or H Croo) is based in Hanover, NH. H Croo is responsible for medical care in Hanover for departing and returning trips, food and equipment for trips, and facilitating activities and logistics for trips on their first night.
  • Vox! Croo is based in Orford, NH. Vox! is responsible for medical care in the field and evacuations, and has the highest number of high medical certifications (WFR, EMT) of any croo. Vox! also does non-urgent logistical support, such as water drops and resupplies.
  • Lodj Croo is based at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren, NH. Lodj Croo is responsible for collecting equipment from trips, medical care at the lodge, and managing activities and logistics for trips on their last night.
  • Grant Croo is based in the Second College Grant. Grant is responsible for logistics and support for all trips in the Grant, as well as skills training and safety management for the water trips.
  • Klimbing Kroo is based at the Dartmouth Skiway. Klimbing Kroo is responsible for safety, logistics, skills traning, and activities for all Climbing trips.

Each croo is lead by one or two croo chiefs.

Trip Leaders

Each trip has two leaders, traditionally one male and one female leader. Trip leaders usually lead only one five-day trip a year. Trip leaders are trained by the Trip Leader Trainers, who are hired directly by the Director work throughout the year to train and equip Trip Leaders.