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.



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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! 

White Water Kayaking Weekend: 

Join us for a weekend of kayaking. On Saturday we’ll start in the SBC pool, fitting you in a white water kayak, teaching you how to wet exit, T-rescue and necessary strokes to successfully maneuver your watercraft! On Sunday we’ll take our skills to the river! The James River. Participants will gain experience reading the water and identifying water features. We’ll practice ferrying, and peeling in and out of eddies. Before the day ends you’ll navigate your way down Balcony Falls! This is a beginner friendly trip. We’ll provide you with all the gear you’ll need! 


Day Hike:

We will be hiking to the beautiful McAfee's Knob and exploring the amazing area around us. The Outdoor Program instructors will lead the hike, and lunch will be provided. Make sure you attend the Mandatory Informational Meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at 7 pm in the Outdoor Program's office. 

Reading Days Outdoor Rock Climbing Trip:

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! The Mandatory Informational Meeting is on Monday, September 28 at 7 pm. 


Canoe and Kayak River Run:

This trip is designed as a practice for people who want to compete in the race the following week, or anyone who is looking for more river time! We will be paddling a section of the Roanoke River, and participants may choose to canoe or kayak. Participants on this trip must have paddled on a river with us before or demonstrated proficiency in the pool or lake. This trip will be a lot of fun on a new river!


Into the Darkness Night Trail Run:

Strap on a headlamp, grab a flashlight. On your mark, get set, go run 4 miles at night! Join the OP and Cross Country club on our trip to the Into the Darkness Trail Run in Explore Park. While this event is close to Halloween, it is not intended to be spooky at all! The OP can provide headlamps and flashlights, all you need is your sneakers and enthusiasm!



Have you ever thought about how much "stuff" you really need to keep yourself happy and comfortable? Join us for our backpacking trip to have a great time with only as much stuff as you can carry on your back! Backpacking is physically challenging, but TONS of fun! We'll have great views, good food, supporting community, and make countless memories on this trip.





Wanna channel your Indiana Jones? Come caving with us and explore the depths of the earth. Outdoor Program instructors, with the help of an experienced caver, 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 Outdoor 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 any time and get away for however long you need! Take a friend with you or spend some alone time in nature! The certification process will being on Saturday, October 24, at 3 pm. 




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