Outdoor Program

At St. John’s College, students have numerous unique opportunities to explore the magnificent landscape of the Desert Southwest and Four Corners region. The St. John’s Outdoor Program facilitates off-campus trips throughout the semester to explore this area through adventure activities such as rock climbing, backpacking, rafting, and skiing.

Outdoor Program Trips

The St. John’s Outdoor Program offers a variety of trips for students. 

Day Hikes

There are many hiking opportunities in Santa Fe,.

Students can join the Outdoor Program for a quick day off campus to explore the unique wilderness and open areas around Santa Fe—from alpine peaks to desert cliff dwellings and everything in between. Participants need to bring a sturdy pair of shoes, clothing appropriate for that day’s weather, a small backpack, and a water bottle.


Santa Fe Backpacking Trip
Students take a break during sunset.

The Outdoor Program runs several overnight backpacking trips each year to locations such as the Pecos and Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, as well as occasionally to Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. While students may need to provide some personal items, the college also loans equipment. (Learn more about the Equipment Rental Program.)

Rock Climbing

Santa Fe Rock Climbing
A Santa Fe student climbs way up high.

These trips are perfect for climbers of all abilities. Staff will teach newcomers everything they need to know. Specialty climbing gear is provided. Students should wear comfortable clothing, and bring water and a small backpack.

River Trips

Santa Fe River Trip
Students take a kayaking trip over spring break.

River trips range from afternoon outings on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama in northern New Mexico, to multi-day expeditions to Utah and Texas when the rivers are running. Some trips use rafts, some use inflatable kayaks, and some use canoes.

Ski/Snowboard Trips

Santa Fe Students Skiing
Johnnies hit the slopes.

The Santa Fe campus sits at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains, so there are numerous opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. Students make several trips each year to resort destinations near (such as Taos) or far (such as Wolf Creek, Colorado). The Outdoor Program typically subsidizes a portion of the total trip cost, making this an affordable way for students to get out on the slopes. 

Search and Rescue

Atalaya Search and Rescue
The Atalaya Search and Rescue Team.

Search and Rescue efforts are led by the Atalaya Search and Rescue team in Santa Fe. The team specializes in technical rescue and is qualified in all aspects of wilderness search and rescue, including ground search and evacuation, winter operation and high-angle rescue. Interested Johnnies are welcome to join the Atalaya Search and Rescue Team.

Frequently Asked Questions