First year students in the Wilderness to Wake pre-orientation program climb at Pilot Mountain State Park.

About Wilderness to Wake

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 (’26)

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 by 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 8 other incoming students adventuring 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. 

You can choose from two different Options for your W2W experience:

  • “Expedition” offers the opportunity to backpack between 15-20 miles while camping on the Appalachian Trail and its surrounding regions. Then, enjoy a day doing a unique activity like whitewater rafting.
  • “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.

Scholarships and financial aid available.

  • Initial Acceptance Notifications Sent out July 1
  • Final payment and supplemental paperwork due: July 6