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Cornell University

Place Based Adventures during COVID-19

A path in the woods

COE's Guide to Place Based Adventures during COVID-19

Cornell Outdoor Education wants you to stay home as much as possible. Yes, as outdoor educators we want you to stay indoors! However, we understand that indoor virtual learning and remote work can be emotionally taxing. With proper social distancing practices and some basic hiking safety precautions, you can take a break from indoor spaces and get out and enjoy the outdoors. Studies show time spent in nature decreases stress and anxiety and contributes to overall well-being.

We encourage and recommend limiting your time outdoors to brief, local outings and close-to-home adventures. This is the reason we call this a place-based adventure guide. When planning your outings, please consider opting for less visited sites and trails as many popular outdoor locations and facilities have recently been overrun with visitors, defeating the purpose of social distancing and putting at risk the health of employees who oversee and manage these natural areas. Lastly, remember to always maintain compliance with federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines.

Whether you are on the Cornell campus, in NY state, or your home state or country, the following ideas will give you options to go outside a few hours a week for a safe and healthy time in the outdoors.

Hiking and Trail Running

Cornell Botanic Gardens - Check out the trails and natural areas right here on campus, and around the county, managed by Cornell Botanic Gardens

Nature Rx @Cornell - A dynamic and growing movement exploring ways in which the natural beauty of our campus can positively impact every person's well-being.

Ithaca Trails - Explore some of the trails that make Ithaca one of the top hiking destinations in NY state

Finger Lakes Land Trust - Explore over 35 nature preserves conserved in the Finger Lakes region

NY State Park Trail Finder - NY State has waived entrance fees for state parks in an effort to promote responsible enjoyment of the outdoors. Find trail maps for your local NY state park and take a hike!

The Hiking Project - International Directory of trails and associated app

Road and Mountain Biking

Ithaca Cycling Routes - A collection of favorite local routes

Ithaca Trails - Biking - Ithaca Trails filtered for Biking

Ithaca Trails - Mountain Biking - Ithaca Trails filtered for Mountain Biking

Ride With GPS - Create a free, basic account, then use the Route Planner to create your own routes with mileage, elevation and turn by turn directions. Use the Find function to search routes others have created in your area.

Mountain Biking Project - International Directory of trails and associated app

Trail Forks - Biking, Hiking, Running and Skiing Trail Links galore and associated app

Rails to Trails Conservancy - Nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors


Slacklining 101 with Cornell Outdoor Education - A fun and portable activity that is a challenge for your brain and your body!

Rock Climbing

Mountain Project - International directory of bouldering, sport, and trad climbing opportunities and associated app

Paddling - International directory of kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddling locations and associated app