Nature FAQ

Should I pre-register for Nature trips?

Yes. Don’t wait until you arrive at SUUSI to sign up for Nature trips. Reservations at venues, equipment rentals, and transportation needs are based on advance registrations. Trips with low pre-registration numbers may be canceled.

From where do Nature trips depart?

Youth and Middler Nature trips will depart from the youth program area. All other trips will depart from outside of the Nature Tent. It will be marked on the SUUSI map you will receive when you arrive and check in during registration.

Even if the trip takes place on campus, please go to the Nature Tent area first to check in.

When do trips depart? What if I’m late?

Please meet 15 minutes early to check in with your trip leader. Trips leave at the time stated in the catalog, or earlier if everyone has arrived. If you are not present when departure is nearing and others are waiting on standby, your spot may be forfeited.

What do I need to bring? What happens if I do not have all the required equipment?

Some equipment may be provided by SUUSI. Read all the information on your trip type and the description for each of your trips carefully. The trip requirements are real. If the equipment or supplies are listed as required then this is what you must provide. Before the trip departs the trip leader is required to make sure all participants have the proper equipment. If you don’t show up on time with the right gear you won’t be allowed to go. At least a quart of water and rain gear are required for nearly all Nature trips. If you have questions about trip requirements, drop by the Nature Tent/Office, ask a Nature staffer, or get in touch with the directors at nature@suusi.org.

Are Nature trips ever canceled (if it’s raining, for example)? Do locations ever change?

The Nature program will cancel a trip only if conditions are unsafe. Locations may be changed to assure safety, to improve the experience if site conditions are not good, or if the site is no longer available.

Are waivers required to go on a Nature trip?

Yes. A few trips require two waivers: one for SUUSI and one for the owner of the property we will be visiting. Parents or guardians must co-sign an assumption of responsibility form for minors under their supervision. Nature trip leaders will warn you about common risks and hazards, but they cannot protect you against all hazards.

What guidelines should I use when choosing a Nature trip?

Check the difficulty rating for your trip below each description and in the legend at the beginning of each Nature program section. Trip difficulty ratings are there for your safety, and the Nature staff have devoted a great deal of time, expertise, and attention to evaluating each trip’s requirements to afford every participant the best experience possible. Some of our trips are very physically challenging. Please consider the level of difficulty and evaluate your current capabilities before registering for any Nature trip. Nature activities are group experiences as well as personal explorations. We want participants to be able to stretch themselves without intruding on the experience of others.

We ask that you prepare for your own well-being. If the day is not a good day for you to carry out the activity safely, either physically or mentally, please don’t go on the trip. Always stay with the group, follow the leader’s instructions, stay focused on safety, and use common sense in deciding what to bring with you in addition to the required items. For example, a sunburn or poison ivy can spoil your day, or maybe even your week.

What if I have physical limitations or need assistance?

If you have specific physical limitations or need more information to determine whether you possess the abilities needed for an activity before SUUSI, please contact Nature staff at nature@suusi.org. At SUUSI, visit the Nature table at check-in or the Nature Tent during the week. Anyone under a physician’s care should consult with their physician before pre-registering for an activity. Please notify your trip leader of any limitations before leaving the Nature Tent.  If you need one-on-one assistance to participate, your support person is welcome to come along as long as they also are registered for the trip.

One of the goals of SUUSI Nature programming is to provide opportunities for participants to challenge themselves and stretch beyond their typical comfort zone. However, the safety and well-being of trip participants always remain the first priority of Nature Staff, who are authorized to refuse to take a person they consider inappropriately prepared on a trip. Thank you for joining in helping to make Nature programming as safe, accessible, adventurous, and enjoyable as possible. 

My child wants to go on a Nature trip. What do I need to know?

Look for FF (Family-Friendly) after the title to find trips that are open to children 13 and younger. An adult must register for the trip and accompany each child under 14 years old, except on Nature trips run through the Youth and Middler programs. The accompanying adult is responsible for the child’s safety and behavior during the activity and must maintain direct supervision of the child at all times.

Please note that VA law requires children under 8 to use an age-, weight- and size-appropriate car seat or booster seat. Parents or guardians must bring a seat to the Nature Tent 15 minutes before the trip departs.

What can I do if the trip I want is full?

If the trip you want is full when you register, don’t despair. Sometimes people drop trips and spaces open up. You can add your name to a watch list in your registration by selecting the trip you want and selecting that option. Nature staff will do their best to monitor the list to let you know if space has become available - and you can check in SOLIS later, too. If space hasn't become available prior to the close of online registration, you may be able to add a trip at check-in on Sunday, or at the SUUSI office and Nature Tent during SUUSI.

Even if a trip remains full as you're checking throughout the week of SUUSI, you are welcome to come to the Nature Tent 15 minutes before the start time and check in as a standby. If there is a “no show” you can go in their place. This is especially likely late in the week after some folks have expended their energy. Remember to be prepared with the required equipment (clothes, shoes, water, etc.) and fees.

Does SUUSI give refunds for Nature trips?

If the SUUSI Nature program cancels a trip the fee will be refunded to you, or you may donate the fee to SUUSI. Refunds are not given to people who don’t show up, arrive at the Nature Lounge late, or arrive without their required equipment. If you cancel your Nature trip at least 24 hours in advance, a credit can be issued to be used for another Nature trip, workshop, or activity during the current SUUSI.

  • Unlimited

  • 501: Under the Wisdom Tree: Caves of Virginia (Family Friendly)Limit 99

    Yup, there are holes in the ground here with raindrops flowing, bats flying through, and spelunkers exploring. We even have one cavern filled with natural gas (no smoking, please).

  • 502: Under the Wisdom Tree: Who Was Here First? Native Americans of SWVA (Family Friendly)Limit 99

    When you hear a land acknowledgment here…who are we acknowledging? When did they get here – and does any culture date back 10,000 years?

  • 503: Under the Wisdom Tree: If I Were a Fish, or a Mussel… (Family Friendly)Limit 99

    Southwest Virginia is a world-class biodiversity hotspot. You won’t find Aquaman or a mermaid in our rivers, but we've got some really special critters breathing underwater.

  • 504: Under the Wisdom Tree: Birds and Flutter-bys (Family Friendly)Limit 99

    Superman would have to eat a double Big Mac in order to fuel up and match the migrations of the birds and butterflies we see all around us at SUUSI. New River Valley is good enough to attract critters from South America and Central Mexico to spend the summer.

  • 560: Monday Forest Bathing Limit 14

    Start the week with an early morning reverent immersion in the forest. Enjoy the silent mindfulness practice of Forest Bathing. It’s the perfect opportunity to center yourself and begin your SUUSI week energized by the coolness of the early morning in slow movement, silent meditation, and acute observation of the forest flora and fauna. Drive Time: 20 mins.

  • 561: Forest Bathing ThursdayLimit 14

    Refresh in the middle of the week with a deep, sensory immersion in the forest. Enjoy the outdoor mindfulness practice of Forest Bathing on a relatively flat trail where we can commune with the living earth. Learn how to walk like a fox, listen like a deer, and see like an owl. We will spend the morning in slow movement, silent meditation, and acute observation of the forest flora and fauna. Drive Time: 25 mins.

  • 562: Fossil Hunt (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    Get ready for a fossil-hunting adventure! Explore the ancient world as you search for well-preserved specimens. Roll up your sleeves, embrace the dirt, and don't forget to bring a bag to collect your treasures. It's time to unearth some prehistoric fun! 30 minute drive time.

  • 563: Exploring Wildwood Park (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    Wildwood Park is a city park located along a stream which flows through a limestone gorge. We will walk through the park on a paved path and we will follow some of the steep natural side trails on the gorge sides. The flora is very different on each side. The park was once the source of water for Radford and the site of an open-air swimming pool. The limestone walls contain sinkholes, small caves, and springs making this a very rich natural area. 10 minute drive time.

  • 564: Herb Farm Tour and Herbal Lunch Limit 14

    Join us for this perennial favorite. Just over an hour's drive from campus is Beagle Ridge Garden and Herb Farm in Wytheville, with 14 theme display gardens showcasing herb and perennial collections. We will stroll through the gardens, eat lunch, watch the hummingbirds feast on the flowers, and visit the “Flying Flowers” butterfly conservatory. Time permitting, individuals may walk one of the many trails on the property or visit the fish pond. The shop contains herbal soaps, lotions, bath gels, and plants. Required: sturdy shoes and drinking water. Lunch and butterfly admission fee included in price. Recommended: extra money for the store. 75 minute one way drive time.

  • 565: Mushroom ForayLimit 14

    Join us for a hunt! We will start with on campus with a short informational session on fungi facts and then we will foray into the wild to learn about the areas most hospitable for their growth. It is likely we will locate and harvest some edible ones. 20 minute drive time.

  • 566: Hahn GardenLimit 14

    The Hahn Horticulture Garden at Va Tech, spanning nearly six acres, combines numerous smaller gardens and features. Constructed mainly by Robert McDuffie's Landscape Construction classes, it includes pergolas, arbors, decks, walls, and bridges. Display beds are created and planted by students, volunteers, faculty, and staff. The garden showcases hundreds of plant species from around the world in various features, such as a shade garden, perennial border, mixed border, xerophytic garden, water features including the Jane Andrews Memorial Stream Garden, Pavilion tent lawn and folly, meadow garden, and the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion, serving as a special event facility and staff offices. 30 minute drive time.

  • 567: Historic Smithfield (Family Friendly, DEI)Limit 14

    Smithfield is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Virginia Landmarks Register, and is a member of The New River Heritage Coalition. Today, Historic Smithfield uses the complex histories of the region's indigenous peoples, the Preston Family, and the enslaved community to inform their present and future, seeking to inspire a new generation of Americans through the stories and values of the Preston Family and all those who lived at Smithfield. These values are liberty, courage, leadership, education, and justice. We will have a guided tour of the historic grounds and some of the buildings. Admission is provided by SUUSI as a DE&I education effort. Bring money for the gift shop if you would like souvenirs. 30 minute drive.

  • 568: The Berry Patch (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    We’re going berry-pickin! This trip takes us to 3 Birds Berry Farm in Blacksburg, featuring “local, unsprayed goodness” in the form of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The farm is owned and operated by a family that describes itself as passionate about berries. The experience is sure to be friendly, fun, and down-to-earth. We’ll take a short tour of the farm and then pick all the raspberries and blackberries you and your SUUSI friends can eat! Prices are $3/pint or $20/gallon, prices may vary (pint containers are provided and gallon containers are available for purchase). Enjoy the fruits of summer - and bring the kids! This is one of the few nature trips featuring a “comfort station” on site, but they suggest you bring what comforts you while picking, such as water, hats, bug spray, etc. 20 minute drive time.

  • 569: Dixie Caverns Wednesday (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    A caving trip easy enough for everyone. This is your opportunity to see a cave while avoiding all the mud and hard work of wild cave trips. The cavern is well-lit and has comfortable walkways with many small steps. It’s cool inside; you may wish to bring a light jacket. Great for families or those wanting to explore in comfort. Children must be accompanied by an adult and must register for this trip. Caving equipment is not needed, but sturdy, slip-resistant shoes are required. The environment is moist and surfaces are slippery. The drive is 35 minutes one way. Required: car seat or booster seat for children under 8.

  • 570: Dixie Caverns Thursday (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    A caving trip, easy enough for everyone. This is your opportunity to see a cave while avoiding all the mud and hard work of wild cave trips. The cavern is well-lit and has comfortable walkways with many small steps. It’s cool inside; you may wish to bring a light jacket. Great for families or those wanting to explore in comfort. Children must be accompanied by an adult and must register for this trip. Caving equipment is not needed, but sturdy, slip-resistant shoes are required. The environment is moist and surfaces are slippery. The drive is 35 minutes one way. Required: car seat or booster seat for children under 8.

  • 571: A Natural HighLimit 14

    The woods are known for eliciting a sense of awe and ecstasy in those who open themselves to the energies of these pristine natural settings. This guided meditation is especially appropriate for outdoor lovers who are open to the possibilities of a heightened connection with nature. The leader, Phoenix Putney, recommends the following book as being complementary to the spirit of this experience: "The Isle of Is: A Guide to Awakening" by Caroline Cottom and Thom Cronkite, published byThe Center Within, Koro Island, Fiji. Drive Time: 30 min one-way.

  • 573: Downtown Delights: Museums Galore in Roanoke!Limit 14

    Explore downtown Roanoke's vibrant museum scene! Take your pick from three exciting options conveniently located within walking distance, including the Museum of Transportation, Taubman Museum of Art, and the O. Winston Link Museum. After immersing yourself in history and culture, indulge in some retail therapy at nearby shops. It's a day filled with discovery and fun! Museum admission is included in the trip cost. 45 minute drive time.

  • 574: Claytor Lake Family AdventureLimit 14

    Sunning and Soaking - for everyone. This is a great outing for families with small children, persons with physical limitations, and anyone who just wants to relax, soak up the sun, and swim in lovely Claytor Lake. All children must be accompanied by an adult(s), and parents/guardians are responsible for the safety of their children. Recommended: swimsuit. Required: dry change of clothes, towel; car seat or booster seat for children under 8. 20 minute drive time.

  • 575: Horseback Ride MondayLimit 7

    Ride on breathtaking trails where you will pass through landscapes of dense forest to windswept ridge tops. Just 5 minutes from campus, Winterfrost Farms is a non-profit horse rescue that offers a 500-acre home to 60 horses. The horses are fostered at Winterfrost until they can be adopted out to a forever home. The Ride-A-Rescue horseback riding program was started to help support the rescue horses, as part of their rehabilitation. Ride-a-Rescue trail rides use only healthy rescue horses eager and ready to work. All proceeds go to the care of the horses. 10 minute drive time.

  • 576: Sunset Horseback RideLimit 7

    We'll Ride into the Sunset! Join us for a twilight experience. See description 575.

  • 577: Last Horseback RideLimit 7

    see description for 575

  • 578: Mabry Mill History and Chocolate Factory (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    The historic Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most photographed mills in the United States. Besides the restored gristmill and sawmill where interpreters demonstrate the milling process, the grounds have a cabin and outbuildings with exhibits and staff demonstrating skills such as tanning, shoemaking, basket weaving, spinning, weaving, and seat caning. There is also a whiskey still, a sorghum mill, and a working blacksmith shop. We will also stop at a nearby locally-owned chocolate factory, “Nancy’s”, where we can see the factory in operation and sample the fudge. Required: Bring $15-25 for lunch. Recommended: extra money for the gift stores. 60-minute drive time.

  • 579: Floyd Shop and DineLimit 14

    Embark on a whimsical adventure to Floyd, VA – a charming small town bursting with creativity! Explore the eclectic dining scene, from the delightful flavors of the Floyd Country Store to the sweet treats at Cocoa Mia. Dive into the vibrant art scene with visits to numerous galleries, where you can discover unique masterpieces. Feeling crafty? Head to Lichen or Knot and create your own terrarium masterpiece. It's a day filled with culinary delights, artistic discoveries, and hands-on fun in the heart of Floyd. Bring money for lunch. 45 minute drive time.

  • 581: Chateau Morrisette WineryLimit 14

    After a scenic drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we’ll visit the winery for an elegant lunch, winery tour, and wine tasting. Required: $15-25 for lunch (wine with lunch is extra).60 minute drive. Recommended: extra money for wine or gifts to bring back.

  • 582: Long Way Brewing Limit 14

    Long Way Brewing started with a vision: to bring a local craft brewery to Radford's West End, revitalizing the area. After much research and setbacks, an old Seventh Day Adventist church became the chosen location. Amidst brainstorming names and logos“Long Way" was chosen for its regional significance. However, as the journey progressed, "Long Way" came to symbolize the challenging path from idea to pint glass for a small craft brewery. Come and enjoy one of the many beers on tap! 15 minute drive time. Food truck on site. Bring ID and money for food, brews and rounding up for Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread.

  • 583: Rising Silo BrewingLimit 14

    Quench your thirst and soak up the summer vibes at Rising Silo Brewery! Founded in 2014 at the Farm at Glade Road Growing, this unique spot in Blacksburg is more than just a brewery—it's a community hub. Brewed with organic malts and farm-fresh water, our lineup of 10-14 beers offers something for every taste bud. Plus, we get creative with local produce, giving each brew a seasonal twist. Swing by to grab some farm-fresh goodies, fill your growler, or just kick back and relax with friends amidst the scenic beauty of the New River Valley. With a 3-barrel brewing system, each batch is crafted with care. Join us for a refreshing experience that celebrates local flavors and good company! A staff member will share story, philosophy and about their sustainable farming practices and how they have connected with the community, Their brewer will talk with us about their story, sustainable practices and their co-op relationship with Glade Farm Growing Farm. The experience includes a curated flight of up to 6 beers. 30 minute drive time.

  • 584: Selu Nature Conservancy: A Tour of History, Culture, and Giving Back (DEI)Limit 14

    Selu Nature Conservancy is named for the mythical Cherokee "grandmother corn-spirit". We'll be led on a journey and tour of the property by John Bowles, who donated his ancestral lands to Radford University to be used by all. John wanted to represent and exemplify the spirit of giving that the indigenous people of the area, the Cherokee nation, believed in and embodied. Embarking on John's Laughing Place walking trail, the steep ascent promises excitement at every turn. Laughter dances through the air as the trail reveals a stunning vista of the Little River below. We will travel down the road to the retreat center where Appalachian architectural heritage unfolds in a blend of log cabin and Victorian styles. We will sit in the meeting room where John will share more information about the seven-sided meditation room, inspired by Cherokee tradition. Within its walls, Wixárika yarn paintings tell tales of creation and spirituality, offering glimpses into a rich cultural tapestry. John will share his more than 40 years of studying this art form and answer any questions you may have. Lunch on the porch or on the grassy lawn. Admission is provided by SUUSI as a DE&I education effort. 20 minute drive.

  • 600: Connelly's Run (Accessible, Family Friendly)Limit 14

    Connelly's Run is a stream that flows through a wooded canyon with varying microclimates, from a historic spring down to the New River, within Radford's Wildwood Park. Stroll or roll as you are able along the 6-foot wide fully-paved streamside shared-use trail. We will enter from a small parking lot above the spring, and hike in and back. A group with varying physical abilities can enjoy a nature hike together; there are some steep side-trails that are not part of our route, but remain within sight just in case your group includes some high energy young ones. There are smooth bridge crossings, benches, picnic tables, and natural/historical signage. SUUSI provides vans, but they are not ADA-compliant; personal vehicles will be required for that. Accessible restroom facilities are available midway, at the trailside. Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round-trip, fully paved, with only a slight grade. Drive time: 10 minutes.

  • 603: War Spur OverlookLimit 14

    The War Spur Trail is a moderate loop through the Mountain Lake Wilderness area to the War Spur Overlook with outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and valleys below. A moist woodland understory blanketed with extensive ferns, a stand of virgin hemlocks, streamside rhododendron thickets and moss covered rock outcroppings are additional highlights of this hike. A stream crosses the trail several times, where the footing can be tricky when wet. Otherwise it is mostly easy walking with just a few steep sections. Parents with young children, please determine if the distance is appropriate for your family situation. Hiking Distance: 2.6 miles, with 500 feet of total climb. Drive time: 55 minutes.

  • 604: Silent Bald KnobLimit 14

    Join us for a silent version of a popular hiking route. The trail starts at the historic Mountain Lake Hotel and takes us to the highest point in the area. It's a steep, half-mile climb to the top along a rocky trail. As we hike, we will take silent pauses to observe the beauty of the fern-bordered trail as the sun filters through and listen for songbirds in the nearby bushes and trees. At the 4361-foot high knob, we will pause to contemplate the expansive views of the valleys below and mountains beyond. Feel the wind, observe hawks gliding on thermals and rest on the interesting rock formations. This is your time to meditate and observe nature around you. Hiking Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip, with 500 feet of total climb. Drive time: 50 minutes.

  • 606: Coal Mining Heritage Park Trail (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    The Coal Mining Heritage Park Loop Trail near Blacksburg is a nice short trail with interesting mining facts along the way, including factoids about the coal mine. The trail is narrow in spots and some suggest walking further on the Huckleberry Trail to see the coal car. There are no blazes, but the well-beaten trail is easy to follow. Despite rain, the trail has been described as great to hike. Conditions include rocky and root-filled terrain, necessitating appropriate footwear. The trail is kid-friendly, with cool history plaques along the way for added interest. Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round-trip, with only 100 feet of total climb. Drive time: 25 minutes.

  • 626: Triple SlogLimit 13

    This hike is so enjoyable that some SUUSI-goers do it every year. We hike a short distance down the road to get to a point where we can enter the forest above the Cascades waterfall, bushwhack down to Little Stoney Creek, and take off into the wild. We hike in the stream and swim/wade through pools, climb around trees and rocks, and climb and play in three waterfalls. You will get wet (completely soaked if you like). Due to the climbing and scrambling on wet, slippery rocks, this is one of our most challenging hikes. Secure, slip-resistant, immersible footwear required. Wear a swimsuit/nylon shorts and bring a towel and/or dry clothes for the ride back. Backpacks and contents are likely to get soaked in the fun! Hiking distance: about 3 miles, with wet rock scrambling. Drive time: 60 minutes.

  • 627: Cascades Falls (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    We'll hike along Little Stoney Creek to the spectacular 66-foot Cascades Falls and the cold swimming hole at the bottom. The hike is a climb up a groomed, but rocky trail and easier and smoother on the descent. Wear a swimsuit underneath and bring secure, slip-resistant, immersible footwear for getting in the water (required). Trip also offered on Friday - trip #631. Hiking Distance: 3.7 miles, with 700 feet of total climb. Drive time: 50 minutes.

  • 629: Dismal Falls (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    A long-time favorite for enjoying a beautiful area with minimal effort. A good nature experience for families with young children due to the short distance. We drive over Cloyd's Mountain through scenic, pastoral countryside to a popular recreation area. We'll hike a mostly flat section of the Appalachian Trail to a scenic 10-12 foot stairstep falls with a cold basin or pool for swimming. We climb over some slippery rocks to get in the water. There will be time for walking or playing around the creek bed or just sunning on the rocks. Bring the kids and enjoy the afternoon watching them discover the great outdoors! Hiking distance: 2.0 miles. Drive time: 45 minutes.

  • 631: Last CascadesLimit 14

    Our Friday afternoon trip to Cascades Falls should be a pleasant close to the week, and has been a perennial favorite for some. We'll hike along Little Stoney Creek to the spectacular 60-foot Cascades waterfall and the cold swimming hole at the bottom. The hike is a climb up a groomed, but rocky trail and easier and smoother on the descent. Wear a swimsuit underneath and bring secure, slip-resistant immersible footwear for getting in the water (required). The pace will be slightly faster than the family friendly version of this trip offered on Wednesday - trip #627. Parents: this trip overlaps with the Youth's closing circle Friday afternoon. Hiking Distance: 3.7 miles, with 700 feet of total climb. Drive time: 50 minutes.

  • 650: Stiles Falls (Family Friendly)Limit 14

    Stiles Falls is a 45 foot waterfall located on the property of Camp Alta Mons. The hike begins with an easy walk to the trail head, then changes to steep inclines, several creek crossings, and rock hopping up to the falls and water pool. There are large boulders around the falls and water pool where you can sit and relax or scramble over to swim or play around in the shady pool of water at the falls. We’ll provide lunch and plenty of time to enjoy one of the area’s favorite destinations. You must have proper footwear, at least a quart of water per person, pack to help carry lunch. Wear swimsuit under clothes if you want to get in the water. Hiking Distance: 3.2 miles round-trip, with 300 feet of total climb. Drive time: 35 minutes.

  • 651: Rock Castle GorgeLimit 5

    Attention experienced hikers; this our longest and most strenuous all-day hike of 2024! The route begins at the Rocky Knob campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will descend steeply to a low of 1,700 feet at Rock Castle Creek and eventually climb back to a high of 3,543 on Rocky Knob. There are splendid views along the ridge line. The gorge features a splashing stream, thick mountain foliage and interesting rock formations. Reminders of the hardy sawmill families who lived in this rugged area until the 1920s are still evident along the trail. Lunch will be provided. Bring plenty of water (at least 2 liters) and snacks. Plan to help carry lunch. Hiking Distance: 11.2 miles, with 2,500 feet of climb. Drive time: 45 minutes.

  • 652: Buffalo MountainLimit 14

    One of the most significant natural areas in Virginia, Buffalo Mountain (3,960') is unique in its micro-climate resulting in some unusual and rare vegetation. It's a steep, though gradual, one mile climb to the summit. Wind-exposed and treeless, there is a 360-degree view of the woods, farms and mountains below. We'll have lunch at the summit and time to explore this special environment. Hiking distance: 2.1 miles round-trip, with 550 feet of climb. Drive time: 60 minutes.

  • 653: Tinker CliffsLimit 5

    Tinker Cliffs is one of Virginia's "Triple Crown" of iconic hiking destinations. This is a long and strenuous hike, for experienced hikers, but with a big payoff. Our out-and-back route starts with the Andy Layne Trail through light woods to a sunny pasture and along a stream. We will follow the trail up some switchbacks to Scorched Earth Gap where we pick up the southbound Appalachian Trail and a final ascent to the cliffs which extend for about a half-mile along the west side of the mountain. Some tough steep stretches as the trail rises to Tinker Mountain at 2,914 feet. We will stop for lunch on the cliff tops with spectacular views in clear weather. The return is nearly pure descent. In wet weather, there may be mud on the lower elevations. You will carry a provided lunch, and be sure to bring at least 2 liters of water. Hiking distance: 7.3 miles round-trip, with almost 2,000 feet of total climb. Drive time: 60 minutes.

  • 655: Dragon's ToothLimit 14

    Dragon's Tooth is one of Virginia's "Triple Crown" of iconic hiking destinations, well-known and popular. Our out-and-back route starts on the Dragon's Tooth Trail moving steadily upward, and with stream crossings on rocks. But the trail turns more challenging after we join with the Appalachian Trail. The last half-mile has rock scrambles, even metal rungs to climb, as we approach the prominent 360 view from the end of Cove Mountain at 3,025 feet. We will stop for lunch near the sharply pointed sandstone cliffs, that jut up like dragon's teeth. The return is nearly pure descent. Watch your footing in wet weather. You will carry a provided lunch, and be sure to bring 2 liters of water, as there can be plenty of exposure to sun at the top. Hiking Distance: 4.6 miles round-trip, with 1,250 feet of total climb. Drive time: 50 minutes.

  • 675: Sunset on Bald KnobLimit 14

    The trail starts at the historic Mountain Lake Hotel. A steep, half-mile climb up a fern-bordered trail brings us to the 4361-foot high knob. It's the highest point in the area, with extensive views in several directions and some interesting cliffs and rock formations. We'll pause to enjoy this beautiful time of day at the top of the mountain as we wait for the sun to set. The descent is easier following a jeep road, but will be after sunset. A flashjlight is required. This is a moderate hike for adults, but may be challenging for children. Hiking distance: 1.6 miles round-trip, with 500 feet of total climb. Drive time: 50 minutes.

  • 699: Nature Conservancy Service ProjectLimit 5

    We will be helping The Nature Conservancy(TNC) by cleaning and repairing trails in the Falls Ridge area. There are approximately 5 miles of trails in this area, giving participants an opportunity for hands-on work while learning about the work being done by TNC to preserve various parcels of land in their natural state and help maintain, and in some instances save, various species native to a particular area. This is a wonderful opportunity for SUUSI folks to give back to the community and enjoy some camaraderie midweek during SUUSI. Lunch is provided. The Falls Ridge preserve is close to Radford!

  • 701: Morning CanoeLimit 13

    Come enjoy a quiet float along a scenic portion of the New River from Bissett Park to the 114 bridge. We will likely see a variety of wildlife while enjoying this peaceful section of the river along with a smattering of gentle rapids. Opportunity to swim in the middle of the trip as well as some fun rapids just before the take out - swimwear encouraged! We suggest that you have some basic canoeing skills; basic instruction will also be provided. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:20 mins

  • 702: Evening Downstream CanoeLimit 13

    Join us for a late afternoon/evening float on the New River from the Claytor Lake dam boat launch to Bissett Park. There are bald eagles nesting in this section of the river and there are islands that we can navigate through/past as we make our way downstream. We will likely see a variety of wildlife as the day winds down and, if the sky cooperates, a fairly full moon. There are some gentle rapids just before the take out - swimwear encouraged. We suggest that you have some basic canoeing skills; basic instruction will also be provided. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:20 mins

  • 703: Evening CanoeLimit 13

    Always a favorite at SUUSIs past, come for a peaceful and serene dusk into night canoe trip on the New River at the Whitethorn boat launch. Paddling upstream, we will explore a group of islands as we paddle up the river and back. Wildlife is likely on this trip and if the sky cooperates we will greet the waning gibbous moon as it rises just after night settles in. This is a great trip for beginners as it is flat water and we can help provide instruction in basic canoeing technique as we explore the islands. We will takeout at the same place that we launch and there are no rapids. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:40 mins

  • 704: Family-Friendly CanoeLimit 13

    Bring a friend or your family and paddle downstream on a pleasant section of the New River as well as a small portion of the Little River. There are a few easy class-one rapids and lots of beautiful scenery, including a network of intimate islands. We will stop at the takeout to wade and play in the river if we have time – swimwear encouraged! We suggest that you have some basic canoeing skills; basic instruction will also be provided. Only one child permitted if there are two adults in the canoe. Two children may go with one adult. Children must be registered separately. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:20 mins

  • 705: River CleanupLimit 13

    Back by popular demand — roll up your sleeves and come help clean up the New River! We are getting an early start on the day to take advantage of the cooler weather in the morning. Over different years, we have pulled out of the river everything from the usual trash you would expect to tires and even an appliance or two. This is a great opportunity to give back to the New River and leave this wonderful resource a little better than we found it. Plus, not only is it FREE... it is also a great way to connect further/deeper with other SUUSI folks. Swimwear and work gloves are encouraged. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:20 mins

  • 706: Last Canoe Trip (Family Friendly)Limit 13

    During the last full day of SUUSI, you might want to come to enjoy this canoe trip on this breathtakingly scenic portion of the New River from Eggleston to Pembroke. Rolling hills of farmland, multiple bends in the river, high bluffs littered with caves, and even a natural bridge! You are going to have some fun paddling and sightseeing, with a high probability of different wildlife in and out of the water. We will give some basic paddling instruction before we canoe downriver through a few easy to navigate obstacles. If time permits, we should be able to frolic and play in the river at breaks and the takeout, so swimwear is recommended! Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:60 mins

  • 711: Intro to KayakingLimit 13

    Curious about kayaking? Come check out this scenic and challenging stretch of the New River from just below Big Falls to Eggleston. Nothing too technical, just ones and maybe something approaching a two as far as difficulty of rapids, there are a series of ledges for us to navigate and play in, as well as a lot of breathtaking scenery. There will be opportunities to swim, and the river may very well get you to go swimming whether you want to or not, so swimwear is a must! Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) is required. Drive time:45 mins

  • 721: Whitewater RaftingLimit 14

    Want to feel the thrill of going down the world-famous rapids of the New River Gorge in West Virginia? This rafting trip in the Lower New River is challenging with boulders in the gorge creating rapids rated II to IV and runs anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours. This is a challenging trip, which relies on professional guides to bring us through the various rapids. We will have lunch once we arrive at the guide company, before the trip down the river. Straps for those who wear eyewear are very important. Sunscreen, clothes that can get wet, and a towel with a change of clothes for the ride home. Approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time: 2 hours each way

  • 731: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)Limit 13

    Would you like to learn the basics of Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Claytor Lake? Our participants will learn some basic paddle strokes and skills, paddleboard & equipment care, as well as other safety information. After a little instruction, we will put our newly learned skills to use on the lake. For those who are interested, some may conclude with some relaxing yoga postures and time for reflection and gratitude while enjoying the peaceful waterfront while others may play with some water toys. Join us as we spend an afternoon taking part in one of the fastest-growing outdoor paddling activities on the water. Swimwear, approved footwear, and water (32oz or more) are required. Drive time:30 mins

  • 741: Adult TubingLimit 13

    Another favorite from SUUSIs past, tubing at Big Falls in McCoy on the New River. A beautiful location with some exciting rapids to go down, as you get off the river at the beach below the rapids, just a short walk back above the falls, you can go again! Wash, rinse and repeat as much as you care to tube over the falls. There are also rocks to relax and watch from, not to mention swimming at the beach/shore. Swimwear, approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) is required. Drive time:45 mins

  • 742: Family-Friendly TubingLimit 13

    Let's go tubing with your family!!! A beautiful location with some exciting rapids to go down, this is a great way to kick up your feet and float down the river! Children 13 and under are required to have a parent or guardian on the trip. For safety, each child should have an adult buddy in the water when tubing. There are also rocks to relax and watch from, not to mention swimming at the beach/shore. Swimwear, approved footwear and drinking water (32oz or more) is required. Drive time:45 mins

  • 805: Climbing Wall (Monday)Limit 25

    We do not have to travel for this climbing experience. Radford University has its own climbing wall located in Peters Gym. Challenge yourself: opportunities will be provided for both the novice as well as the experienced. Training will be provided. Required: Closed-toe, tied shoes, and water. Additional waivers are required. For children under 18, a parent or guardian signature is required. Children under 14 may register without a parent or guardian, however, a parent or guardian must accompany the child, and be present while the child is climbing.

  • 806: Climbing Wall (Thursday, Family Friendly)Limit 25

    We do not have to travel for this climbing experience. Radford University has its own climbing wall located in Peters Gym. Challenge yourself: opportunities will be provided for both the novice as well as the experienced. Training will be provided. Required: Closed-toe, tied shoes, and water. Additional waivers are required. For children under 18, a parent or guardian signature is required. Children under 14 may register without a parent or guardian, however, a parent or guardian must accompany the child, and be present while the child is climbing.

  • 810: Tawney's CaveLimit 13

    Visit a limestone cave that was once the ocean floor. The development of caveformations will be discussed. Tawney's has a good variety of caving features:large rooms, mostly walking passages, a nice formation area, a fairly easyclimb, some small passages, and lots of mud and water. You will see evidenceof saltpeter mining of the past, a huge room called the moon room, backentrances to the cave and other interesting sights. Read caving requirementsand come prepared.

  • 811: New River CaveLimit 13

    Explore the largest cave SUUSI visits. The entrance is in a bluff and provides abeautiful view of the New River. With over 7 miles of mapped passages it haslong been one of Virginia's premier recreational caves. After a short but verysteep and challenging approach to the cave, we will climb, scramble andsometimes walk along one of many levels of the main passage, eventuallydropping down to a flowing creek where the cave narrows to a crawl. Read caving requirements and come prepared.

  • 820: Vanless Bike Ride (Family Friendly)Limit 13

    A bike trip with no van ride! We will take a 20-minute walk from campus to the trailhead of the Riverway Trail,which parallels the New River. It is a gentle, scenic ride, then climbs moderatelythrough the forests of Bisset Park, Wildwood Park and Radford City Park.There is a tunnel connecting Bisset Park with Wildwood Park so we won'thave to negotiate busy Hwy. 11 in the middle of the trip. We'll cover 6.4 milesover gentle to moderate, scenic terrain. Recent bicyclingexperience is expected. Bringing your own helmet is encouraged but are available to rent for an additional $15 fee. Required: tied shoes, water bottle inbackpack. Recommended: shorts and rain gear.

  • 821: Mill Mountain Mountain Bike TourLimit 14

    Enjoy the ultimate scenic mountain bike experience without the arduous climb. We will be shuttled to the summit of Mill Mountain by our guides, who will provide instruction on mountain bike fundamentals. Once we are all comfy on our bikes, we will descend the mountain on thrilling singletrack trails, all while taking in the breathtaking vistas of the Roanoke Valley and views of the iconic Mill Mountain Star. After we descend the mountain, it is a short and scenic ride back to the bike shop along the Roanoke River Greenway. High-quality bikes and helmets are provided. Recent biking experience is strongly encouraged. Required equipment: closed toed shoes, water in backpack

  • 822: Bikes and CoffeeLimit 30

    Calling all SUUSI roadies! Bring your bike and join us for an invigorating ~20 mile social road ride leaving directly from campus. After we complete our ride we will make a pit stop at Radford Coffee Co. for post-ride beverages, snacks, and some socializing before riding the last 2 miles back to campus. Recent road cycling experience expected. Required equipment: closed toed shoes, bike, helmet, water, spare tube/patch kit.