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Cornell University

6 Day Farm Service and Backpacking in Ithaca Area

Pulling beets at the farm

Backpacking will occur on the Finger Lakes Trail in western NY, within 35 miles of Cornell - often in Shindagin Hollow State Forest, Robinson Hollow State Forest, and Texas Hollow State Forest. Farm service will occur at a number of farms in the local Ithaca area. This trip will give you the opportunity to give something back to the local Ithaca and Cornell farming community while getting a great introduction to the backpacking available in the Finger Lakes Region. This trip is the perfect way to combine interests in camping, volunteering, and agriculture. Guides will be in contact with farms in the area in order to set up volunteering opportunities. There will also be camping on Dilmun Hill, Cornell's student run organic vegetable farm. Some of the trips' food may even be provided by the farms! There may be an opportunity to visit other popular agriculture related spots such as the Ithaca Farmer's Market, Cornell Plantations, Orchards and Botanical Garden. Cornell Tradition members can earn community service hours on this trip. Expect 2-3 days of farm service, 3-4 days backpacking


Trip Dates

August 12-19, 2021

Trip Fee

$300 Financial Assistance available


Finger Lakes Region, NY

Activity Level

Service may involve moving earth, preparing land, harvesting, or other agriculture related activities. During the backpacking portion of the trip, expect to hike 3 to 5 miles per day on relatively easy terrain.


Yes, during non-backpacking part

Access to showers or restrooms



Note: The trip may vary each year depending on the service project

Day 0

August 12th: 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 1

The trip wakes up bright and early and heads off to the starting point of their backpacking trip.

Days 2-3

Backpacking in the Finger Lakes. Expect 3-5 miles per day on relatively flat terrain.

Days 4-5

Travel via bus to various farms to tour, learn, and volunteer. You will be base-camping during this portion of the trip.

Day 6

Spend time at a local farm in the morning. In the afternoon, All 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 Day

August 19th: Trip is shuttled back to Bartels Hall, where the participants return their rented gear as a group. Once all gear is returned, trip participants are free to register at Barton Hall and move into their dorms. Often times, guides will help their trip participants move in.


"I was really worried that my son was going to be so far away with no group of friends. He has transitioned to Cornell far better than I ever thought possible and this is due in large part to his participation in Outdoor Odyssey. This is a fabulous program and I wish more students would take advantage of the opportunity because it really makes the transition to Cornell so easy."