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Cornell University

4 Day Backpacking in the Finger Lakes

Backpacking group

Come explore what will soon be your backyard during your time at Cornell! Throughout the Finger Lakes Region of Tompkins County, you’ll find gentle farmland and rolling hillsides, cut by spectacular lakes and gorges. The Finger Lakes National Forest is home to a variety of trails that meander through the hills near Ithaca. We will explore miles of diverse forests and enjoy spellbound waterfalls and spectacular views while carrying everything you need for your trip on your back! We’ll be sleeping in lean-to structures, under tarps or under the stars on this popular summertime trail. After an Odyssey trip in the Finger Lakes you'll be familiar with some of the special spots surrounding the Ithaca area, and you'll have the opportunity to get to know a diverse group of incoming students just like yourself. Come learn about all the beauty that Central New York has to offer!

Trip Dates

August 14, 2024: Arrive in Ithaca between 11am-1pm (Day 0)

August 15, 2024: Trip departs (Day 1)

August 18, 2024: Trip returns to Ithaca for Camp-o-rama (Day 4)

August 19, 2024: Move-in day (Day 5)

Trip Fee$425 (Financial Assistance available)
LocationFinger Lakes Region, NY
Activity LevelGeneral terrain is rolling hills with the occasional steep slope, but most with lovely views at the top. Most trips hike an average of 3-6 miles per day with a 30 pound pack.
Access to showers or restroomsNo
Day 0 Trip participants arrive between 11:00AM and 1:00PM at Cornell, trip participants and their guides meet and begin to get to know each other, prepare their belongings for the trip and have a trip dinner (usually at one of the restaurants in Collegetown). Trip participants and their guides sleep on the Arts Quad.
Day 1The trip wakes up bright and early and heads off to the starting point of their backpacking trip. 
Days 2-3A normal day consists of 3-6 miles of hiking with a break for lunch. In the afternoon, you will help set up camp, make dinner, and sleep outside!
Day 4All trips return to Ithaca for Camp-O-Rama, a closing ceremony and celebration of the Outdoor Odyssey trips. Trip participants clean their gear, share a meal with other trips, and get the chance to meet some of the ~200 other participants.
Day 5 (Move-In Day)Trip is shuttled back to Bartels Hall on the morning of move-in, where the participants return their rented gear as a group. Once all gear is returned, trip participants are free to register at Bartels Hall and move into their dorms. Oftentimes, guides will help their trip participants move in.


"Both of my students went on 4 day backpacking trips and both loved their experiences and the groups they were with. I remember when my daughter was moving in, several people came up to her because she had an Outdoor Odyssey shirt on and asked her about her trip and where she was from. This happened all weekend long. She instantly had a group of friends to hang out with and felt welcomed on campus as everyone just seemed so friendly. Students she met on her trip popped into her dorm room to say hi and texted her about gatherings during O week."