SOAR offers everything from Indoor Climbing, Hiking, Whitewater Rafting, Indoor Skydiving, Paddling, Caving, delicious S’mores nights, and everything in between. We’ll teach you the skills you need to go on all of the explorations and make sure you have the equipment you need to explore the best of the Shenandoah Valley.
The SOAR program aims to introduce the campus community to a wide range of outdoor activities for all skill levels that promote self-awareness and self-esteem, cultivate personal growth, develop interpersonal and outdoor leadership skills and strengthen the SU community. Participants develop basic skills for safe and environmentally responsible exploration of natural resources in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. SOAR educates and inspires individuals to be responsible stewards of the natural world while engaging in adventure recreation and sustainability initiatives.
Follow us on Facebook, and tag your outdoor adventures on Instagram with @shenandoahoutdoors.
See a trip you like? Sign up on the links below!
Instructions for how to sign up for a trip are located below. Get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compton Peak Hike
Saturday, September 30: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Compton Peak Hike offers both a beautiful vista and a unique geological feature. On this 3. 4 mile hike that ascends approximately 760’ you will have the opportunity to see columnar jointing from a basaltic lava flow. We will travel up to the top from the less crowded Jenkins Gap Parking lot. Please remember to bring your own snacks & plenty of water.
Canoeing – RESCHEDULED from Saturday, September 23
Saturday, October 7: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Canoe down the Shenandoah River for approximately 6 miles. This stretch of the river is mostly flat water with a Class I rapid & several riffles. Wildlife abounds throughout- you may see various water birds, eagles and river bass. River birches, silver maples and sycamores line the shore. Bring your own lunch and drinking water as we meander down stream.
Saturday, October 21: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Enjoy the fall foliage as we go on a 1 hour trail ride in beautiful Fort Valley.
Saturday, October 28: 6:30 – 10 p.m.
Meet us at Hill High Farm as we attempt to figure out the corn maze together & then go on a moonlit hayride. Please note: there is no van transportation for this excursion; students will meet us at Hill High Farm at 6:30 p.m.
Old Rag Sunset Hike
Saturday, November 11: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Experienced hikers join us for this famous strenuous hike that includes rock scrambles. You will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the summit which we will reach at sunset. After enjoying a cold soak meal at the top we hike down in the dark using headlamps along the fire road. Experienced hikers only.
Saturday, November 18: 6:30 – 11 p.m.
There have been many ghostly happenings over the years in Harpers Ferry. Join us as we journey through this historic town and go on the oldest ghost tour in America.
Saturday, December 2: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Put on your coveralls, adjust your helmet and venture deep into the earth into a primitive cave. Emerge with a new appreciation of what goes on beneath the surface of the earth.
Saturday, December 9: 7- 9 p.m.
Celebrate the season as we walk through a winter wonderland of colorful lights in Clearbrook Park while enjoying some hot cocoa to keep us warm.
Please check back regularly for future trips. If you are a faculty or staff interested in attending a specific trip please email us at email@example.com to check and see if space is available. No prior skills are needed unless otherwise noted, all trips are designed with beginner-level participants in mind.
How To Register:
- Click on the Sign-Up link for the trip you wish to attend
- You will receive an email with your trip attendance status: Confirmed Trip Member or Waitlist
- The SOAR trip leaders will contact you via email for trip-specific details
- If you are on the waitlist the SOAR Leaders will contact you if a spot opens up
- If you wish to cancel your reservation or waitlist status please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If cancellation occurs within 72 hours of the trip, no refund will be issued. If a cancellation is requested more than 72 hours prior to a trip, the refund will be issued through Hornet Central. If a cancellation is requested and nothing is done within 2-weeks, please contact Hornet Central, email@example.com.
- Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Trips that require payments are not reserved until payment has been made at the SOAR Rental Center, located in Vaden Community Commons (formerly SCC), next to Buzzins’.
- No refunds will be issued within 48 hours of a trip. Please see the cancellation policy above
- No showing for a trip without communication in which you are a confirmed trip member is immediate grounds for removal of all other SOAR reservations
- No showing with communication twice in a semester is immediate grounds for removal of all other SOAR reservations
- Return times are estimates. Due to the nature of outdoor activities, the trip may return earlier or later than the listed times
ALL SOAR Trips require SOAR Trip Members to complete a Medical Form. For returning SOAR Regulars, new Medical Information forms are required each year. This is your ticket into the van. Please download the medical form below and bring it with you. Printed forms are available at the SOAR Rental Center. In case you forget, your SOAR trip leaders will have extras available on the day of the trip, just make sure to have your insurance information handy!
Contact us at
SOAR is pleased to be able to offer students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to rent outdoor equipment for their adventures.
The Shenandoah Outdoor and Adventure Recreation (SOAR) Rental Center is located in Vaden Campus Commons, next door to Buzzins’. It is available to help outfit you on your next adventure. We have a great selection of gear including sleeping bags, ground pads, backpacks, stoves, fire pits, stand-up paddle boards, and more! For rental equipment, reservations are available 30 days in advance and are recommended for busy weekends. For longer reservation timeframes, please contact SOAR management at firstname.lastname@example.org for arrangements. Reservations are not required; however, equipment is rented on a first-come, first-served basis. All rental fees are required at the time of the reservation.
To make a SOAR Rental Center Equipment Reservation use the following links:
SOAR Rental Center Hours(when classes are in session)
Mondays: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesdays – Fridays: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Closed Saturdays & Sundays
When classes are not in session the SOAR Rental Center will take reservations by emailing email@example.com.
On dates when Shenandoah University is closed the SOAR Rental Center will also be closed.
We will have limited hours over the Summer and Winter Breaks. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make reservations during this time.
|Camping Gear||Quantity in Stock||Daily (24 hr)||Weekend (Thurs/Fri-Mon)||Weekly (4-7 days)||Replacement Cost|
|Eno Hammocks (includes straps)*||16||$0/set*||$5/set||$10/set||$100|
|Gibbon Slacklines||2||$5 each||$10 each||$15 each||$90|
|Crazy Creek Camp Chair||16||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$50|
|Osprey Internal Frame Pack with Cover||2S/3M/4L||$5 each||$8 each||$12 each||$300|
|Lanterns||4||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$40|
|Headlamps||16||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$40|
|Fire Pit **||4||$20 each||$40 each||$60 each||$250|
|MSR Pocket Rocket***||2||$3 each||$6 each||$9 each||$60|
|MSR Windpro II Stove***||2||$4 each||$7 each||$10 each||$120|
|MSR Whisperlite***||2||$4 each||$7 each||$10 each||$150|
|Coleman 2-Burner Stove***||2||$6 each||$12 each||$16 each||$200|
|MSR 6-Liter Dromedary Bag||8||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$40|
|Mess Kit (Cup, Bowl, Plate, Fork, Knife, Spoon)||16||$1 each||$2 each||$4 each||$30|
|MSR Small Pot Set||3||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$60|
|MSR Large Pot Set||1||$3 each||$6 each||$9 each||$90|
|Kitchen Utensil Kit||3||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$60|
|2 Person Kitchen Kit (stove, small pot set, kitchen utensils, and 2 mess kits)||2||$8/set||$15/set||$20/set||$200|
|4 Person Kitchen Kit (stove, large pot set, kitchen utensils, and 4 mess kits)||2||$12/set||$20/set||$25/set||$300|
|Rubbermaid Cooler||3||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$50|
|Bear Vault/Bin||4||$2 each||$3 each||$5 each||$80|
|2-Person Backpacking Tent||4||$8 each||$15 each||$20 each||$300|
|3-Person Backpacking Tent||3||$10 each||$18 each||$23 each||$330|
|4-Person Camping Tent||3||$12 each||$20 each||$25 each||$500|
|Inflatable Sleeping Pad (Thermarest)||14||$3 each||$6 each||$9 each||$80|
|Sleeping Bag (includes liner)||14||$4 each||$7 each||$10 each||$35|
|Climbing /Caving Gear|
|Misty Mountain Bouldering Pads||2||$5 each||$10 each||$15 each||$220|
|Black Diamond Climbing Helmets||8 s/m 8 m/l||$3 each||$6 each||$9 each||$80|
|River Tubes (includes PFD)||10||$5 each||$10 each||$15 each||$50|
* Same-day hammock rentals are at no cost to Shenandoah University’s students, faculty, and staff. All hammock rentals will require a signed rental agreement form. Hammocks returned the next day will be charged the $5 overnight fee.
**Fire pit use is limited to Shenandoah University’s Winchester Campus. Firewood and fire starters are NOT included. Marshmallow Skewers are available upon request. The renter must have two full buckets of water on hand for emergency use from the time the fire is lit until it is out, buckets are provided. Ashes must be disposed of by placing them in a bag and throwing it into a trash can. WAIT UNTIL THE ASHES HAVE COOLED! Renter is subject to Physical Plant cleaning fines if ashes are disposed of improperly
***Fuel is not provided for backpacking stoves. The SOAR Rental Center staff will gladly show you where you can purchase fuel and what kind you will need.
SOAR Gear Rental Policy
Equipment rental is available to Shenandoah University students, faculty, and staff. To rent equipment, you must be at least 18 years old and present appropriate forms of identification. Our equipment is rented on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of use. Contact us at email@example.com to reserve your equipment now.
We do not refund rental fees due to unexpected weather, non-use, or changes in the renter’s usage plans. Refunds will be given for reservations up to 48 hours in advance of the agreed-upon pick-up time for all general-use equipment.
Please contact the Rental Shop to cancel a reservation.
- More than 48 hours = Full Refund
- Less than 48 hours = customer forfeits all rental fees, no refund or store credit.
Holiday rentals will need to be reserved in advance. For extended weekends in which Shenandoah University is closed on the Monday following the weekend, weekend rates will apply. For reservations over the Thanksgiving Break and Holiday Break, weekly rates will apply. If the University is closed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, rentals will be due upon the first day the University is reopened, and no extra fees will apply.
Check Out and Pick up Procedures
The renter is responsible for inspecting all equipment carefully and bringing any missing or damaged equipment to a SOAR Rental Center staff member’s attention before 5:00 PM on the date that the item was rented. Make sure any discrepancies are noted on the rental agreement. Failure to note any discrepancies may result in a fee for damaged or missing equipment. If needed, please ask a SOAR staff member for assistance with inspection and/or instruction on how to properly set up the equipment.
Fire Pit: Firepit use is limited to Shenandoah University’s Winchester Campus. Firewood and fire starters are NOT included. Marshmallow Skewers are available upon request. The renter must have 2 full buckets of water and a fire extinguisher on hand for emergency use from the time the fire is lit until it is out, buckets are provided. Ashes must be disposed of by placing them in a bag and throwing it into a trash can. WAIT UNTIL ASHES HAVE COOLED! The renter is subject to cleaning fines if the fire pit is not cleaned and ashes are not disposed of properly.
Hammocks: Same-day hammock rentals are at no cost to Shenandoah University students, faculty, and staff. All hammock rentals will require a signed rental agreement form. Hammocks returned the next business day will be charged the $5 overnight fee.
Equipment must be returned to the SOAR Rental Center, located at Vaden Campus Commons (VCC) adjacent to Buzzins’. Renters will be responsible for up to the total retail cost of replacing such equipment that is returned dirty, damaged, or missing.
Fire Pit: Must be returned during SOAR Rental Center open hours, or contact SOAR to schedule an alternate time.
All equipment goes through a thorough inspection at the beginning of each semester by the SOAR Rental Center staff. After each use, each piece of equipment is then inspected for damage upon its return to the Rental Center after use. Renters are required to inspect each piece of equipment before use and report damages to the SOAR Rental Center.
A $1.00 per item, per day late fee is charged in addition to the daily rental fee. Late days accrue only on days when the SOAR Rental Center is in operation and equipment is not returned. Equipment that is kept by a renter for more than 14 days after the due date, without the prior agreement of the Director for Campus Recreation & Wellness will be assumed to be lost or stolen. The item(s) full replacement cost will be required from the renter who borrowed it. Any renter with an outstanding balance due will have their records flagged until payment is made.
Cleaning fees will be assessed if you return equipment that is deemed excessively wet or dirty by the rental attendants. Tents, packs, sleeping bags, etc. should be wiped clean and dry, but never laundered. Stoves should be free from all food and food traces; and pots, pans, and utensils should be scrubbed clean. Fire Pits must be cleaned and free from excess burned material. You have the option to clean the equipment before returning it. If the rental equipment is deemed excessively dirty there will be a $25.00 cleanup fee per item.
Lost or Destroyed Replacement Charges
If any equipment is lost, destroyed, or damaged to the point it is deemed ruined by the SOAR Rental Center staff, you will be charged the full replacement value of the item. You will be charged the current retail price of that equipment.
Release of Liability Statement
I agree that the equipment that is being checked out to me is in useable condition and I will be financially responsible for any loss or damage while it is in my possession. I understand that I have a responsibility and the opportunity to inspect the equipment for damage or missing parts at the SOAR Rental Center. I agree that if the equipment is lost or destroyed while in my possession, I will pay the full retail replacement value and not the depreciated value. I agree to pay any and all late fines for equipment not returned within the designated check-out period on my rental agreement. I agree to pay any and all cleaning charges for equipment that is deemed excessively dirty by the SOAR Rental Center staff. By signing this rental agreement, I represent I am qualified and familiar with the proper and safe use, transportation, and care of the rented equipment.
Awareness and Assumption of Risk
I am aware of the risks associated with using the equipment I am renting from Shenandoah University. I understand that using the equipment may expose me to dangers and hazards, including but not limited to: falls, fractures, concussions, dangerous weather, overexertion, overheating, severe injuries, strains, sprains, drowning, broken bones, paraplegia, hypothermia, hostile or aggressive wildlife, equipment failures, losing control or crashing boat or bike, water hazards, road/trail hazards, negligence of others and even death. I represent that I will take reasonable steps to protect myself from these risks, including by using protective equipment such as a personal floatation device or a bike helmet. I hereby freely assume the above-mentioned risks, as well as other risks not listed that are part of using this rental equipment, and any harm, injury, or loss that may occur to me or my/your property as a result of renting this equipment.
Release of Liability
Shenandoah University shall not be liable for injuries sustained by the renter while using, transporting, or handling rented equipment. In consideration for being able to use Shenandoah Outdoor and Adventure Recreation’s Rental Center equipment, the renter assumes these risks and indemnifies and holds harmless Shenandoah University, its trustees, officers, employees, agents from any claim, damage, liability, injury, expense, or loss, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising from the use of Shenandoah University’s recreational equipment, including, without limitation, any claims that renter’s heirs may have in case of renter’s death.
ALL RENTALS WILL REQUIRE THE RENTER TO SIGN AND DATE THEIR RENTAL CONTRACT, VERIFYING THEY HAVE READ, UNDERSTAND, AND AGREE TO THE ABOVE EQUIPMENT RELEASE OF LIABILITY STATEMENT.
Want to take your residents, club members, co-workers, or other campus groups on an outdoor trip, but don’t know where to start?
SOAR can help! We offer a free student guide service to members of the SU community.
Steps to Booking a Trip
- To book a trip, email firstname.lastname@example.org four weeks prior to your trip. We will not accommodate any trip made last minute.
- You will be matched with at least two student guides. If no guides are available, we will work with you to find an alternative date.
- You will meet your SOAR Guides to determine what it is you want to do.
- SOAR Guides will plan your trip and help you make bookings for any services your group wants to use.
- SOAR Guides will accompany you on the trip and help you to have the best experience possible!
- Please be advised that groups will be responsible for all expenses associated with this service, including reservations, transportation, food, and staff wages.
SOAR Trip Staff
Looking for a way to build leadership, and marketable job skills, all while spending more time outdoors? SOAR is always looking for students to become trip leaders. All that needed is a desire to educate and a love of adventure.
Interested in becoming one of SOAR’s trip staff? Send us an email! We’re always looking for new student employees. No prior experience is needed.
Not able to fit a SOAR trip into your busy schedule? Grab a friend and go on your own time.
Welcome to Shenandoah University’s SOAR Program!
At SOAR, we strive to get students outside to experience the great outdoors. We have trips planned for every semester that are open to the student public, but just in case you miss one or can’t attend, here’s a list of things to do in preparation of your
Step 1: Trip Planning
What would you like to do? Is it backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or something else?
In this planning process, it is vital that you have a set plan as to what you would like to do, and how you plan on doing it. Check the toggle below for ideas.
Step 2: Organization
Trips should always be conducted in a safe manner. Organizing them beforehand can help! This step includes fulfilling all of the means necessary to ensure that your trip is safe and successful. Under construction. More to come!
Step 3: Finalization
Trips should be fun! Completing the planning process and finalizing your plans gives you the chance to look forward to your trip. This step reminds you of a few things to do before leaving for your trip.
Click here for a list of some materials you need to go backpacking.
Click here for a list of some materials you should have in your first aid kit.
Click here for a list of some materials you need for a day hike.
The Shenandoah Valley has many opportunities for you to get outside that are all within easy driving distance of Winchester. Check out these local outdoor adventure activities and locations!
Need new boots, a water bottle, or a backpack? Check out Mountain Trails here in Winchester.
Remember to plan your adventures responsibly.
The links above are for informational purposes. SOAR and Shenandoah University are not responsible for non-University-sanctioned trips.