Expeditions MSU -
Summer Outdoor Orientations 2019
$450 - Scholarships Available! 

Want to make new friends, build a community and explore the wild side of Montana?  Join the Outdoor Recreation Program on Expeditions MSU, a five-day, four-night journey to explore and engage with fellow incoming students as you experience the natural wonders of Montana. 

Student trip leaders will share some ways in which to maximize your MSU and Bozeman experience as you backpack in the Gallatin Range, explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, or retrace Lewis and Clark’s Canoe Journey on the Upper Missouri River.  You will learn skills to help navigate both the wilderness and the college environment through a fun and challenging group experience.  

This program is catered specifically to incoming first-year students and is designed to be an incredible community-building outdoor experience. Groups are purposely kept small, no more than ten students plus 2-3 Undergraduate trip leaders. No experience is necessary to participate, all you need is a positive attitude! Our goals for this program are simple: 

  • Learn about yourself and build connections with peers
  • Build a connection with MSU
  • Build/deepen a connection with Montana

Trips are scheduled before or after each summer orientation, the total cost is $450 which includes all food, transportation, and gear. Scholarships are available for all of these programs, scholarship applications are due by April 15, and applicants will be notified by May 1 at the latest.  Please submit an application via the following link and specify which block and trip(s) you are interested in:


 Will my student be able to stay in the dorms before or after their Expeditions MSU program?

  •  For the final Expeditions MSU session (Block 7, Aug 17-21), students will be able to move in early to their room for the Fall Semester starting at 9am on Saturday, August 17.  The cost of moving in early is included in your program cost.  
  • If you would like to have time to get settled into your room before your expedition, we recommend that you contact residential life to arrange an early move in. To move in the night before your expedition costs $25. You can arrange this either by calling residential life: 406-994-2661 or via their website at the following link: https://www.montana.edu/reslife/

Click here for a list of other frequently asked questions.  Click here for our packing lists, by program. 

 Your MSU journey begins here.

Registration is open for Summer 2019 Expeditions MSU programs!

2019 Expeditions are before and after Summer Orientations

Chose the block to sign up for Expeditions MSU Trips


Orientation Dates


Block 1 June 5th-9th

#1 June 10th - 12th

Block 2 June 12th-16th

Block 3 June 19th-23rd

#2 June 24th - 26th

Block 4 June 26th-30th

Block 5 July 10th-14th

#3 July 15th - 17th

Block 6 July 17th-21th

Block 7 Aug 17th-21st

#4 August 21st - 23rd


Expeditions MSU Options

All of our Expeditions MSU trips offer wholly immersive outdoor experiences.  On any trip, you can look forward to the opportunity to unplug from modern amenities including running water, electricity, and cell phone service. Please read descriptions for individual trips below for more information!


Each backpacking trip will have an amazing opportunity to work together as a team while traveling through remote areas of the Gallatin National Forest South of Bozeman. You can expect breathtaking views and plenty of time to connect with new friends as well as perfect your backcountry camping skills. Backpacking groups will be completely self-sufficient for five days, so participants should be prepared to carry a backpack of up to 50 pounds. You'll learn how to travel and camp responsibly in the backcountry and try for a summit attempts of one of the iconic local peaks in the region. You'll also have plenty of time for trail games and gourmet backcountry cooking!

Canoe Camping on the Upper Missouri River

Your group will head to the Upper Missouri River and follow in the footsteps and paddle strokes of the great explorers Lewis and Clark. Canoe camping allows you to access remote terrain without carrying everything for camp on your back! You'll eat well and enjoy lots of on and off water games and opportunities for reflection. Canoes also create a great opportunity to connect with someone over a long day of paddling together, and they demand some serious teamwork! You can expect to see lots of wildlife and there will be an opportunity for side hikes to stretch your legs during the day. You'll learn how to travel and camp responsibly in an important and historic river corridor.

Glacier National Park Basecamp Multi-Sport

Enjoy a sample of what Glacier National Park and the surrounding area has to offer with this multi-sport adventure. Each day, you will have the opportunity to see some of the most iconic areas in the park as well as explore some hidden gems. Day hikes will be the primary way to explore the park on this trip. Make sure to bring a bathing suit for some stand-up paddleboarding, too! You'll be camping at sites accessible by car, so look forward to plenty of hot drinks and breathtaking scenery.

Yellowstone National Park Basecamp Multi-Sport

Enjoy the best of what the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has to offer! Your days will be filled with hiking, rock climbing, and exploring the local area.  Your basecamp will be within striking distance of both Yellowstone National Park and the Absaroka Mountains, so you and your group will get to decide whether you want to explore the National Park's wonders or seek solitude in the rugged and picturesque Absorokas.  You'll be camping at sites accessible by car, so tasty meals and plenty of hot chocolate around the campfire await.

Whitewater Rafting

This will be a new offering for 2019, and we couldn't be more excited! This trip will be all about hunting whitewater.  The exact itinerary will be somewhat dependent on the flow of our local rivers, but you can count on spending some time on both the Stillwater and Yellowstone Rivers.  You'll learn the basics of whitewater raft guiding and get a chance to guide your peers.  On the final day, you will have an opportunity to put your skills to the test on the Yankee Jim section of themighty Yellowstone River.  You'll be camping at sites accessible by car, where you'll fall asleep to the sounds of the river and the smell of campfire smoke.  

See below for print coverage of the 2018 program. 

"MSU’s first-year outdoor orientation program blends backcountry with new beginnings"