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College of Forestry and Conservation


Students viewing mountian lake

One of the best parts about living in Montana is our amazing location. We invite you to experience the splendor of Western Montana with an outdoor adventure.  Head out on a backpacking or river trip with other new freshman and you’ll start your experience at UM with an instant community, be able to ask your leaders, other UM students questions about what it is like to be a student at UM, plus, you’ll start your year knowing great places to get outside, close to Missoula. 


Group pictureLed by experienced and qualified UM students, for UM freshman only, the Freshman Wilderness Experience is for students who want to make friends, learn about Wilderness out their backdoor, and hit the ground running before the first day of class.


August 16-20, 4 days in the Wilderness of Western Montana's Rocky Mountains water-based trip or backpacking. Only $100. You can't afford not to do this!

Space is limited to only 60 freshman! Sign up soon! No prior experience in the outdoors necessary.


MAPAugust 16:  Arrive to UM Campus.  Meet the other students on your trip (10 per group, 2 leaders) and get your gear checked.   You’ll go through an icebreaker, get to know your leaders, and learn about where you are going and some basics of camping, hiking, and living in the wilds for the next few days.  That night, you’ll get a chance to mingle with the other students on the other trips and spend the night on campus.

August 17-20: Depart to the Wilderness!  The nights of the 17,18,19 will be out in the mountains or on a river. 

August 20:  Return to UM, share your experiences with the other participants from the other groups over a shared meal, and get ready to transition to UM orientation which begins on August 21. 


Please sign up by calling the University of Montana Outdoor Program at (406) 243-5172.

If you have questions about F W E, please contact the Wilderness Institute (406) 243-5361 or email

Indicate if you’d like to be on a mountain or river trip.