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Cornell University

FULL - 6 Day Backpacking in the Catskills

Located two hours from both Cornell’s campus and New York City, the Catskills strike a balance between the more rolling hills of the Finger Lakes and the steeper, higher peaks of the Adirondacks.  Home to iconic rivers and landscapes, the 700,000 acres and over 300 miles of maintained trails of the Catskills will provide beautiful views and a unique backpacking experience.  At night you get a chance to sleep under starry skies and enjoy the silence that accompanies one of the best kept secrets in New York. This trip is usually 4 days of travel backpacking and 1 day doing a day hike without moving camp.  However, this will vary depending on the trip.

Trip Dates

August 12, 2024: Arrive in Ithaca between 11am-1pm (Day 0)

August 13, 2024: Trip departs (Day 1)

August 18, 2024: Trip returns to Ithaca for Camp-o-rama (Day 6)

August 19, 2024: Move-in day (Day 7)

Trip Fee$545 (Financial Assistance available)
LocationCatskills Region, NY
Activity LevelA little bit more strenuous than the Finger Lakes, due to the mountains.  The trails are generally not super steep or difficult, but can have some significant uphills and rocky terrain. Most trips hike an average of 4-6 miles per day.
Access to showers or restroomsNo
Day 0Trip 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 2-5A normal day consists of 4-6 miles of hiking with a break for lunch. In the afternoon, you will help set up camp, make dinner, and sleep outside!
Day 6All 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.
Move-In DayTrip 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.


"Outdoor Odyssey provided an exciting and challenging start to my daughter’s Cornell experience. She loved being outside and making new friends – getting a jump start on freshman orientation. It was so meaningful that she went on to lead Outdoor Odyssey trips in subsequent years."