Summer Orientation Adventure Programs

Scenic Paddling Trips- $30

This is a great opportunity for new students or families to enjoy Montana's natural beauty, meet some new friends and escape the summer heat. We will paddle on the Madison River, which features stunning scenery and lots of wildlife. You'll learn everything you need to know to have a fun and relaxing day on the river, and can choose between a variety of watercraft. No experience is necessary, and all equipment is provided. These trips are scheduled the day after every orientation session over the summer.

Scenic Paddling Trip 6/14/2018

Scenic Paddling Trip 6/28/2018 

Scenic Paddling Trip 7/19/2018

Whitewater Rafting Trips- $45

At only a 90-minute drive from campus, the Yellowstone River provides astounding whitewater that is sure to give even the most seasoned rafters a thrill. The section of river we will be running flows through the Yankee Jim canyon which divides the Gardiner Basin from Paradise Valley. You'll learn everything you need to know to have a fun and challenging day on the river from our student trip leaders. Great option for students or families who are interested in exploring the recreational opportunities close to campus as part of an orientation experience.

Yellowstone River Whitewater Rafting Trip 6/10/2018 

Yellowstone River Whitewater Rafting Trip 6/24/2018 

Yellowstone River Whitewater Rafting Trip 7/15/2018 

FOOTsteps: First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips- $350

The Montana State University Outdoor Recreation Program is proud to announce a brand new offering for 2018, the First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOTsteps) program. This is catered specifically to incoming students and is designed to be an incredible community-building outdoor experience. Groups are purposely kept small: groups are made up of no more than eight plus 2-3 trip leaders. This is an amazing opportunity to meet fellow incoming students and interact with your new home! 

No experience is necessary to participate in a FOOTsteps trip. No matter what outdoor background you have, we encourage you to register. All you need is a positive attitude and a healthy level of fitness. Throughout the trip, you will be introduced to both wilderness travel and the approaching college environment, both within the context of a fun and challenging group experience. All FOOTsteps trip leaders are students too and they will share some ways in which to maximize your MSU and Bozeman experience. Every trip option includes all food, transportation, and gear. 

All FOOTsteps participants will arrive the morning of Friday, August 17 to move-in early into their residence halls. That afternoon we will head to Hyalite Canyon to camp together, and then on Saturday, each group will split off to begin their trip! We will come back together as a group to celebrate with all 40 participants and trip leaders at a closing BBQ on the evening of August 21st. We will then return to campus the morning of August 22 for all the regularly scheduled orientation activities. 

Scholarships are available for all of these programs, send an email to for a scholarship application.

Program Offerings

FOOTsteps Backpacking Aug 17-22

Each backpacking FOOTsteps trip (there will be two groups of 8) 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 four days, so participants should be prepared to carry a backpack of up to 50 lbs over uneven terrain. You'll learn how to travel and camp responsibly in the backcountry and try for some summit attempts of some of the iconic local peaks in the region. You'll have plenty of time for trail games and gourmet backcountry cooking!


FOOTsteps Canoe Camping on the Missouri Headwaters Aug 17-22

The FOOTsteps canoe camping trip will head to the Upper Missouri River and follow in the footsteps and paddlestrokes of 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.


FOOTsteps Glacier National Park Basecamp multi-sport Aug 17-22 

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. Activities will vary depending on weather and the interests of the group, but day hikes will be the primary way to explore the park.


FOOTsteps Yellowstone National Park Basecamp multi-sport Aug 17-22

Enjoy the best of what Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area has to offer with this multi-sport adventure. Your days will be filled with hiking, rock climbing, rafting on the Yellowstone River, and a day spent exploring the thermal pools around Mammoth Hot Spring. A true multi-sport experience! You'll be car-camping, so you'll have plenty of energy for the big adventure!