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Wilderness Orientation

Friendships. Adventure. Challenge. Course Credit

Every summer, over one hundred incoming students begin their Calvin journey and take their first class for credit by signing up for an eight-day Wilderness Orientation. New students share this time with a small group of other first-year students that become “friends for four.” This courageous decision allows them to explore themselves, get to know God, and meet new friends in an iconic wilderness location.

Regardless of outdoor experience, fitness, or ability level, all students will develop a network of new friends; enjoy fun, caring, safe, and well-trained leaders; hone outdoor and college-life skills; and reflect on the transition to the next step of their lives.

Seize this opportunity to live in community, forge friendships, stretch yourself, and share a once-in-a-lifetime epic adventure.

Reserve your spot early; trips will fill up quickly!

NOTE: If you are traveling to Canada for your Wilderness Orientation trip, please see this important information »

2022 Wilderness Trips

  • Student riding a zip-line
    Base Camp Adventure (July 17–22)
    11 of 24 spots filled
    • Sign up for this amazing trip if you love the outdoors, the comforts of home, and incredible activities. Based on Stony Lake, this trip is the best of both worlds: a wilderness adventure with the comforts of home (toilets, beds, and homecooked food) waiting for you at the end of the day. Day trips will include paddling on the White River, biking on the Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail, a day at Lake Michigan, a day at camp tree walking high ropes and ziplining, and so much more. During this journey, you will build lasting relationships with your Calvin classmates. Cost $499
    • Add this trip to my calendar »
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park backpackers
    Pictured Rocks Backpacking (August 7–13)
    5 of 11 spots filled
    • Students that select this course will backpack the entire Pictured Rocks coastline from Munising Falls to the AuSable Light Station. Packs will be light, and the hiking distances will be manageable. Reserved backcountry campsites feature wildly scenic cliff top overlooks! At Pictured Rocks, students will enjoy seeing the staggering cliffs, constant views of Lake Superior, multiple waterfalls, ancestral dunes, and diverse wildlife. This course may include one or more of the following: climbing/rappelling, rock jumping, river canoeing, or sea kayaking. Cost $599
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park backpackers
    Pictured Rocks Backpacking (August 18–25)
    14 of 18 spots filled
    • Students that select this course will backpack the entire Pictured Rocks coastline from Munising Falls to the AuSable Light Station. Packs will be light, and the hiking distances will be manageable. Reserved backcountry campsites feature wildly scenic cliff top overlooks! At Pictured Rocks, students will enjoy seeing the staggering cliffs, constant views of Lake Superior, multiple waterfalls, ancestral dunes, and diverse wildlife. This course may include one or more of the following: climbing/rappelling, rock jumping, river canoeing, or sea kayaking. Cost $599
    • Add this trip to my calendar »
  • North Channel Sea Kayaking and Climbing Phase One
    North Channel Sea Kayaking & Climbing (August 18–25)
    10 of 18 spots filled
    • During this course, students will embark on a self-supported sea kayak paddle expedition through the historic North Channel of Lake Huron. Although the route is 50 miles, students will enjoy manageable paddling distances and time for island exploration. Along the way, students will camp on granite islands and peninsulas, climb and rappel a rock face that drops 60 feet to the water below, and gain the skills needed to safely travel and live out of their sea kayak for a week. A North Channel sea kayaking expedition is an incredible opportunity for Calvin students. A passport or enhanced driver’s license is required. Cost $599
    • Add this trip to my calendar »
    • NOTE: This trip requires Canadian entrance procedues which must be done ahead of travel. Please see this important information »

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore Multi-Element Expedition (August 18–25)
    Trip Filled
    • Students that select this course will river canoe, backpack, and road cycle. Students will begin with a full day on the Pine River, Michigan’s finest and fastest Wild and Scenic River. After that, students will gear up for and complete a four- to five-day lightweight backpacking circumnavigation of North Manitou Island in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This island expedition features a scenic ferry ride out of historic Leland across the Manitou Passage. Students will experience dunes, coastal trails, beautiful beaches, and manageable daily hiking distances. The adventure concludes with two nights of camping at Wilderness State Park on the straits of Mackinaw. Students will complete a 50-60-mile road cycle route along the Northern Lake Michigan Coast through the Tunnel of Trees. This route is one of the top 10 most beautiful road cycling routes in the United States. Cost $599
    • Add this trip to my calendar »
  • Lake Superior Provincial Trail
    Lake Superior Provincial Trail Backpacking Expedition (August 18–25)
    14 of 18 spots filled
    • Considered a backpacking paradise, the “Coastal Trail” is one of the most scenic stretches of backpacking east of the Rockies. The trail moves through diverse boreal forests, white sand beaches, rocky points, rock gardens, and high vistas. Groups will camp on beaches, in coves, and on the banks of stunning rivers. Students should anticipate moderate to challenging hiking. They will master lightweight backcountry living and travel skills, and once-in-a-lifetime camping on this weeklong adventure. Passport or enhanced driver’s license required. Cost $599
    • Add this trip to my calendar »
 

See what it’s like

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Helpful links and documents

Wilderness Orientation Health Questions

Outdoor Recreation Health Form (PDF)

Base Camp Packing List (PDF)

Wilderness Orientation Packing List (PDF)

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