Skip to main content

Cornell University

4 Day Outdoor Service and Backpacking in the Finger Lakes

Students making trail repairs

Soak up the great outdoors while getting acquainted with the beautiful Ithaca area. Give back to fellow hikers by working with your fellow trippers on a trail project, and enjoy backpacking on the awesome Finger Lakes Trail while forming lasting friendships! Possible projects include designing and creating a new trail, switchback construction, erosion control, clearing overgrown trails, and building bridges, waterbars and steps Also covers environmental aspects of trails and trail construction. Cornell Tradition members may earn up to 30 hours of service on this trip. Usually 2 days of outdoor service work and 2 days of backpacking


Trip Dates

TBA for 2024

Trip Fee

$100    Financial Assistance available


Finger Lakes Region, NY

Activity Level

Hiking ranges from about 2 to 5 miles a day when backpacking over relatively flat terrain.



Access to showers or restrooms



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

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 1

The trip wakes up bright and early and heads off to the starting point of their backpacking trip. Spend the first day on the trail!

Day 2

Hike out to Robert Treman State Park and get brought via bus to the location of your service project. Maybe even take a swim if there's time!

Day 3

Spend the day working on your service project in the morning and relaxing after lunch. Lots of time for hammocking, swimming, and enjoying the outdoors!

Day 4

Finish up work on your service project in the morning. 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.

Day 5 (Move-In Day)

Trip is shuttled back to Bartels Hall on the morning of 8/14, 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.


"Thanks for such a tremendous experience. My son started Cornell with a fantastic bonding experience. This gave him immediate good friends and helped to calm those Freshman nerves. Thanks!!"