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 2018 trips:
  • February 10: Day hike to the Cascades ($5)
  • February 11: College night at River Rock Climbing Gym ($5)
  • February 24: Caving at Tawney’s ($10)
  • February 25: Kayak roll sessions (Free)
  • March 3: Rock climbing at Bozoo ($15)
  • March 11: Kayak roll sessions (Free)
  • March 15: College night at River Rock Climbing Gym ($5)
  • March 18 – 24: Spring break trip with Paddling team
  • March 31: Day hike to Rock Castle Gorge ($5)
  • April 6: National Paddling Film Festival with Laura Farrell
  • April 8: Canoeing on the James River ($15)
  • April 19: College night at River Rock Climbing Gym ($5)
  • April 27 – 28: Overnight at Fulhardt’s Knob  ($10)
  • April 29: Day hikes to Harkening Hill ($5)
  • May 9: Reading Day trail ride (TBD)

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 (HOLC)

The Hollins Outdoor Leadership Certificate is designed for women at Hollins who are interested in outdoor leadership. The goal of the program is to provide training for women leaders in adventure recreation. The certification process includes components of the Wilderness Education Association’s National Standards Program, Leave No Trace trainer certification, Wilderness First Aid, leadership hours completed with the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP) and course work.

This is a two-year process wherein each woman will have the capability to learn and develop her decision making, technical skills, and personal outlook through hands-on experience. Each woman who completes the HOLC program will graduate with at least two nationally recognized certifications and necessary experience if she wishes to pursue an education or career in outdoor leadership.