Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP)

ACA National Championships 2016
Whitewater racers capture second at Collegiate Race Series National Championships

If you enjoy the outdoors, with some adventure thrown in, then the Hollins Outdoor Program—or HOP—is for you. HOP combines adventure, education, self-awareness, and leadership all into one fun, exciting program.

Hiking, Camping, Climbing, Skiing, Caving, and More

  • Hollins is a 10-minute drive from the Appalachian Trail, with endless opportunities for hiking and camping.
  • Students canoe and fish on the nearby James River.
  • Two hours away, the New River Gorge is home to some of the best rock climbing and white-water paddling on the East Coast.
  • The many caves of the Appalachian region provide exploring opportunities year-round.
  • Students ski on the slopes of the Homestead, Wintergreen, and Snowshoe resorts.
  • HOP hosts the annual National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow, featuring thrilling footage of white-water canoeing and kayaking.

Responsible and Safe Practices

HOP bases all trips on the Leave No Trace Center’s Seven Principals of Outdoor Ethics. Climbing trips adhere to the stringent standards of the American Mountain Guides Association.

HOP director


Jon Guy Owens has directed HOP since 2001. He was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina, and got his start in adventure recreation as a river guide on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, while earning his undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation. He is certified as: instructor/trainer from the Wilderness Education Association; wilderness first responder; and single pitch instructor from the American Mountain Guiding Association. He lives on campus with his wife, Anna Copplestone ’06, and son, Henry.

Trips for every interest and skill level

Staff members and trained student instructors lead you safely on a wide range of adventures. We offer exciting trips every month that accommodate both beginners and experienced participants.

Spring 2017 trips:
  • February 5: Day hike to the Cascades ($10)
  • February 11: Tawney’s Cave  ($15)
  • February 17: College Climb Night at River Rock ($5)
  • March 4: Day hike to Roaring Run ($10)
  • March 5: Rock climbing at Goshen Pass ($15)
  • March 17: College Climb Night at River Rock ($5)
  • March 19 – 25: Spring Break with Paddling team (TBD)
  • April 8: Yoga in the wilderness with Gwen Fernandez ’06 ($10)
  • April 20: College Climb Night at River Rock ($5)
  • April 21: National Paddling Film Festival at Hollins
  • April 28: Tree Walk and Tree Campus USA recognition (Free)
  • April 30: Mountain biking with Roanoke Mountain Adventures ($35)
  • May 6: Canoeing on the James River ($15)
  • May 10: Stand up paddling ($10)

Special Programs

Wilderness Orientation Program

Before you begin your official Hollins adventure, first-year students can have a five-day outdoor adventure with HOP.

Hollins Outdoor Leadership Certificate

This two-year program provides training for women leaders in adventure recreation.