August 18-23, 2023

W2W footage by Imelda Donnelly (Class of ’24)
Interviews and video production by Ryan Simmons (Class of ’24)

Going to college is an adventure, so why not start it that way? Wilderness to Wake [W2W] is the perfect way to ensure you jump into college life with friends, mentors, and experience already on your side. Over 5 days, you’ll backpack, rock climb, canoe, camp and more while exploring North Carolina’s scenic wilderness. At the same time, you’ll form a tight-knit community with the eight other incoming students who will adventure alongside you.

Each group of first-year students is led by trained Outdoor Pursuits staff who are also students themselves. With their firsthand experience, they’ll guide you as you explore not only the mountains and rivers surrounding Wake Forest, but also the adjustment to life as a college student. 

“Wilderness to Wake was quite possibly the best thing I could have done to set myself up for success at WFU. Every day, whether I bump into one of my W2W group members, receive a text from my W2W leaders, or work out with a W2W friend, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to have done this program.”

Abby Deuter, Wilderness to Wake 2022 Alum

You can choose from two different models for your W2W experience.

“Expedition” offers participants the opportunity to backpack between 15-25 miles over 3-4 days while camping on the famous Appalachian Trail and its surrounding regions. Then, enjoy a day doing a unique activity like whitewater rafting or rock climbing.

“Base Camp” allows students to ease into the outdoors; you’ll stay in a front-country campground at night and enjoy different outdoor experiences each day like rock climbing, river canoeing, or caving. Participants at Base Camp will have access to running water and plumbing facilities.

No matter which model you choose, you will explore gorgeous backcountry areas, develop strong leadership skills, and gain confidence as you begin your Wake Forest experience. Expect to build lasting relationships with other incoming Freshmen, and gain early insight into Wake Forest life from your highly-trained student leaders. Don’t miss out on the adventure of a lifetime – join Outdoor Pursuits for Wilderness to Wake!

Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. Please contact Meghan Belanger ( for more information.

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