Hollins Outdoor Program


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.

HOP and Hollins: A natural fit
  • Located in a valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the university is a ten-minute drive from the Appalachian Trail, with endless opportunities for hiking and camping. Visit www.roanokeoutside.comto learn more about outdoor activities in the Roanoke area.
  • The James River, just 20 minutes from campus, offers a wide variety of paddling and fishing opportunities.
  • The New River Gorge, home to some of the best rock climbing and white-water paddling on the East Coast, is just two hours from the university.
  • The many caves of the Appalachian region provide exploring opportunities year-round.
  • During ski season, the slopes of the Homestead, Wintergreen, and Snowshoe ski resorts beckon Hollins students, faculty and staff.
  • HOP annually hosts the National Paddling Film Festival Roadshow. The festival features "best-of" videos from NPFF’s festivals in which amateur and professional videographers capture thrilling footage of whitewater canoeing and kayaking adventures.


The outdoor program boasts an indoor climbing wall and a full-service outing center, with maps and all kinds of equipment for rent. Staff members and trained student instructors lead you safely on a wide range of adventures, from rock climbing excursions to caving expeditions, from hikes to white-water rafting.

Trips for every interest and skill level

We offer exciting trips every month that are designed to accommodate both beginners and experienced participants. These trips range from backpacking and canoeing to caving, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting.

HOP Mission Statement

The Hollins Outdoor Program aspires to improve the quality of student life by providing opportunities to try alternate forms of recreation and increase respect for the local resources and the natural environment. HOP also assists members of the Hollins community accomplish individual and group goals through adventure programming.

Wilderness Orientation Program

Before you begin your official Hollins adventure, first-year students can have an outdoor adventure with HOP. Led by HOP director Jon Guy Owens and three experienced Hollins students, the five-day wilderness orientation program will take you scaling the high ropes course at Camp Roanoke and canoeing down the James River. You’ll even get to run the rapids of Balcony Falls. You’ll also receive instruction in basic outdoor living skills. Best of all, you’ll meet other students who just might turn out to be some of your best Hollins friends.


Charlotte Fox Climbing Wall

Named for renowned mountain climber and Hollins alumna Charlotte Fox, the climbing wall is located in the upper gymnasium. The climbing wall is free to members of the Hollins community and requires no experience or equipment. Students can bring one guest free of charge. The cost for additional guests and outside participants not accompanied by a Hollins student or employee is $7.


Hollins Outdoor Leadership Certificate

Hollins also offers the The Hollins Outdoor Leadership Certificate (HOLC) and the Wilderness Education Association’s National Standards Course. More information...

American Canoe Association Downriver Racing Canoe Team

A dedicated group of Hollins women compete in the Collegiate Canoe & Kayak National Championshipswhich is a series of whitewater races conducted by the American Canoe Association. We travel to a variety of rivers in the Southeast to meet up with other universities and compete with like-minded students who love paddle sports. In 2009-10, the Hollins team racked up many top-10 finishes and a first place in women’s kayaking.


Outdoor Women's Leadership School (OWLS)

OWLS is a collaborative program run with Sweet Briar Outdoors at Sweet Briar College.  The two week long expedition style course focuses on teaching leadership skills to women interested in leading adventure recreation trips. 

Participants focus on leadership development and group dynamics, while learning the technical skills needed to facilitate adventure activities. Utilizing the principle of Leave No Trace, all lessons are taught under the umbrella of environmental stewardship to ensure that trips are run with the intent of preserving the areas for future users. The emphasis being, to develop trip leaders of adventure education activities for the outdoor program that provide an open and welcoming experience for members of the university community that are environmentally sound. 


HOP is also affiliated with the following organizations:

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide. All of the trips offered by the Hollins Outdoor Program are run based upon the Seven Principals of Outdoor Ethics.

American Mountain Guides Association The AMGA is the premier source for training, credentials, and services for professional mountain guides and climbing instructors in the United States. Since 2003, Hollins has been running its climbing trips to the stringent standards set forth but the AMGA.

American Canoe Association Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national non-profit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

Coastal Canoeists Virginia's largest canoeing and kayaking club.  Coastal Canoeists is a family-oriented club dedicated to the enjoyment and advancement of paddlesports and consists of canoeists, kayakers, and others from the southeastern United States, but primarily Virginia.  Activities of the club include an active club volunteer-coordinated trip roster with trips for members at all skill levels.

Spring 2020 Trips


15th – Day hike to Mt Pleasant..........Free

20th – College Night........................$7

29th – Caving at Starnes..................$10 


14th – Day hike to Sharp Top...........Free

19th – College Night.......................$7 


16th - College Night........................$7

17th – National Padding Film Fest......Free

19th – SUP on the Cove...................$5

25th -  Day hike to Sharp Top...........Free 


3rd – Greenway Bike Ride...............TBD

10th – Intro to Kayaking.................$15



Left to Right – Olivia Foskey, Katherine Kirkpatrick, Abby Parks, Kaitlyn Taylor, Emily Blankenship, Jessica Michael

The Hollins University downriver racing team bested teams from Penn State, Brevard College, and Bellarmine University to take second place overall in the American Canoe Association Collegiate Downriver National Championships, held October 15 on the Roanoke River.

2016 Hollins University Downriver Paddling Team

Olivia Foskey ’17 finished first in K1 Short (Short Kayak) and third in OC1 (Open Canoe Solo). “K1 was the most competitive category at the entire event and Olivia’s first-place finish was an extremely impressive showing,” said Owens.

 Jessica Michael ’17 took second in OC2 (Open Canoe Tandem) and ninth in K1 Short.

 Emily Blankenship ’18 was fourth in K1 Long and seventh in K1 Short.

 Kaitlyn Taylor ’17 and Jessica Michael ’17 captured second in OC2.

 In their first competition, Cate Kirkpatrick ’19 and Abby Parks ’19 finished sixth in OC2.




Jon Guy Owens
HOP Director
Hollins University
Box 9553
Roanoke, VA 24020
(540) 362-6456
Fax: (540) 362-6553