The Sweet Briar Outdoor Program





The Sweet Briar Outdoor Program (SBC Outdoors) strives to create outdoor recreational opportunities that foster personal growth, responsibility, leadership and environmental sensitivity through experiential learning in small group settings. Check out the trail map and all the activities on campus as well as those trips off campus.

The Sweet Briar Outdoor Program strives to:

  • Create opportunities for students to have meaningful interactions among peers, staff and faculty
  • Make meaningful curriculum connections through relevant experiences outside of the classroom
  • Offer programs and activities that encourge morally and ethically responsible behavior, sportsmanship and cooperation
  • Educate students in the value of leisure time through development of lifetime skills, leadership and the practice of wellness
  • Teach value and conservation of the environment through Leave No Trace Wilderness Ethics


Every Wednesday, come Indoor Rock Climbing or Kayaking in the pool with us!

Indoor Rock Climbing: 


Rise Up Climbing Gym offers several routes that cater to everyone from beginner to advanced. Come and build your skills as you challenge yourself to the next level. Want to try a different challenge? Rise Up also has several bouldering walls. The Outdoor Program instructors are there to teach, encourage, and guide you as you climb on. There isn't a mandatory informational meeting for this trip, but there is a refundable $5 fee to hold your place on the trip, which will be returned to you when you show up for the trip.


Kayaking Pool Sessions: 


Whether you are interested in kayaking for the first time or perfecting your hand roll, this is the place for you! Bring a swimsuit or clothes that can get wet. The Outdoor Program will provide you with all the necessary gear. Just show up to the pool at 7:30 and get ready to have fun!


Here are some of our unique trips this Fall! 

Outdoor Rock Climbing:


What’s better than indoor climbing? Outdoor Climbing! Come with us to Goshen Pass next to the Maury River, where we will be setting up climbs for every skill level to enjoy. We will be setting up on rocks that have a beginners 5.5 climb to a complicated 5.9 climb. For those who are interested, there will be a trip to the top for you to see how our ropes are set up and a gorgeous view of the valley. The food is good, the company is great, and the climbs are better. There’s nothing like getting in touch with nature by climbing on some rocks!



Reflective Retreat: 




1. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security.
a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study

This trip began as a day hike, then turn into an overnight, and each year participants have asked for more! This year, join John Casteen, Creative Writing Professor, and Outdoor Program Instructors on a three-day, two night retreat in Shenandoah National Park. We will be staying in beautiful cabin nestled in the woods where we'll make stew together and spend our days hiking, connecting to place, reflecting and writing. This trip is open to writers and non-writers. Don't miss out, the trip fills up fast, so make sure you reserve your spot by signing up in the Outdoor Program Office and attending the Mandatory Informational Meeting!


Summit Hikes:


There are 3 hikes in the Summit Series. If you choose to accept the challenge and join us for all three hikes you'll
1. See 3 spectacular views
2. Meet amazing people
3. Get great exercise outdoors
4. Get a FREE, and very cool, T-shirt that will brag about your awesome accomplishment!

If you missed the first Summit Hike, don't worry! There are ways to make up missed hikes. Stop by the Outdoor Program's office to find out details. We hope you join us.




Wanna channel your Indiana Jones? Come caving with us and explore the depths of the Earth. Outdoor Program Instructors and Mike Hayslett, resident Master Naturalist, will lead participants into and through the depths of the earth. We wil explore cave formations, ecology and maybe even get a close look at a bat! Absolutely no experience is necessary for this beginner trip. Just a sense of adventure. Make sure you sign up in the Outdoors Program Office and attend the Mandatory Informational Meeting!


Outing Cabin Certification:

 Want to get away for the weekend, but don't have a car?? Hike to the Outing Cabin!!! Once you are certified by the Outdoor Program, you will be able to rent the cabin at anytime and get away for however long you need! Take a friend with you or spend some alone time in nature! 



White Water Rafting:


Looking for something fun to do over reading days? The Outdoor Program will be heading to Eastern Tennessee for white water rafting on the Ocoee River, with a company that is owned by Sweet Briar alumna, Juliet! We'll leave campus Thursday, stay in a cabin and on Friday we'll spend the day on the river. Get ready for some serious white water and boatloads of fun. We will return to campus on Saturday with plenty of time for homework and to get settled before classes resume. It's the perfect way to catch a break in the middle of the semester. This trip is a favorite among Outdoor Program Instructors. Don't take our word for it - Come see for yourself!


Go to our Trip Schedule in order to check out all of our trips and their dates!