TRAiLS FAQs

Listed below are some questions that we get asked pretty frequently. If you have any other specific questions, email trailstrips@gmail.com.

Why does TRAiLS charge for outings - is TRAiLS a business?

TRAiLS is not a business and does not make any profit on the outings it organizes.  Trip costs for activities without an outfitter, such as a day hike, covers transportation to and from the location. For activities with an outfitter, our costs are usually lower than they would be if you were to do it on your own, because our costs are shared among participants and we are able to recieve favorable group rates. We do not profit off of any of our payments.

Can my friends and I drive our own cars and meet up with you at the trip site? 

Unfortunately, no.  For liability purposes all participants on an "official" university-sanctioned trip must travel together in the "official" university-sanctioned transportation.  All TRAiLS trips that require transportation in the DC area and outlying vicinity (i.e., within driving distance of campus) must utilize vans either owned or rented by the university.  Trip participants who are 21 can come on a trip for half-price if they drive one of our vehicles. Email us for more information on becoming a TRAiLS driver.

If I decide not to go on a trip after I've signed up, can I get a refund?

In order to receive a full refund, you must contact us on or before the trip cancellation date, which is typically 4 days before the trip date.

How does the waiting list work?

Some trips have waiting lists, which open up once the trip is already full.  When adding your name to a waiting list, you do not have to pay for the trip unless (and until) a spot opens up.  If a place becomes available, you will be contacted; if we are unable to confirm your interest and payment for the trip, we will move down to the next name on the waiting list. 

What if I sleep in and arrive late for my trip?

TRAiLS trips run a tight schedule and we typically cannot wait for participants to arrive late.  It is important that you plan ahead and prepare to arrive on time. Your trip leaves at the time noted in the registration.  Waiting for one participant to arrive compromises the experience of the entire group. If you oversleep or show up too late to join the trip, you are not eligible for a refund.

If I don't have my own gear, can I rent it from TRAiLS?

Yes, we can rent gear to students, alumni and University affiliates. We have everything necessary for camping a backpacking trips: tents, tarps sleeping bags and pads, backpacks, MSR stoves, pots and pans, etc. Rental fees are nominal and we require a deposit for gear rentals. Email gear@gwtrails.com for rental inquiries.

How safe are TRAiLS trips?  Are outdoor adventure activities really risky and "extreme?" 

TRAiLS operates strictly within University lines on risk management. All of our activities are approved by the University for their safety. Guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. We are prepared with first-aid supplies, information about the nearest medical facilities, and trained extensively in emergency safety procedures. One of the first tenets of safe outdoor recreateion is "preparation", so we do everything in our power to be prepared in the face of any incident. It is imperitive that participants fill out their relevant medical conditions in the registration form so that we are prepared with information about your needs.

If the weather is bad, will my trip get cancelled?

 We do not cancel trips for rain, unless conditions are unsafe. If we decide that the risk of dangerous (not just rainy or cold) weather in the area is too great, we will notify all participants as soon as possible. If we cancel, everyone will receive a full refund.  If you don't show up because the weather appeared "uncomfortable," you will not be refunded.

If I am a not affiliated with GW in any way, can I still come on the TRAiLS trips?

Yes. Even if you are not a GW community member (student, staff or faculty) you can still participate in all our TRAiLS activities and trips. To join us on a trip you need to sign an additional form. Students, staff and faculty are all encouraged to bring their family members, spouses and friends. The more the merrier!

Is it true that if I am at least 21 years old I can drive a van for TRAiLS trips and pay ½ price?

Yes, that is exactly right. If you are a minimum 21 years old you can help TRAiLS rent a van and drive for the trip of your choice. As a thank you TRAiLS will discount your trip 50% no matter how much the trip costs. We are always in need of more drivers, so please let us know you are interested. Thanks!

What are Adventure Breaks?

On extended academic-year breaks, such as Winter holiday and Spring Break, we plan extended trips called Adventure Breaks. In the past, we have led winter trips to Costa Rica, and spring trips to the Grand Canyon and the Appalacian Trail. Stay tuned for more information on which adventure breaks we have up our sleeves.

Appalacian Trail in Shenandoah, Spring 2014

Grand Canyon, Spring 2014