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Outdoor Program (O.P.)

Marlboro College is a fabulous place to stay active outdoors.  Surrounded by 17+ miles of trails, an ecological reserve, and numerous lakes and reservoirs, Potash Hill is a great place to balance rigorous academics with physical connection to the landscape.  The Outdoor Program can help you connect in numerous ways:

Student-Driven Programs

The OP regularly runs programs such as hiking up Vermont peaks, caving, paddling at Harriman Reservoir, climbing, cross-country skiing, and backpacking on the Long Trail.  Programs change based on student interest and the seasons – and are frequently led by OP student staff or other student leaders.  Interested in something we don’t currently offer?  That’s cool.  We can help you change that.  The OP is driven by motivated students who seek new, adventurous challenges and want to bring the community new places.  

On-Campus Resources

Can’t make it off campus today but want to stay active?
•    Check out our 17+ mile Trail System that meanders up hills, down into valleys, past beaver ponds, and through the Ecological Reserve.
•    Our Indoor Climbing Wall is a great place to unwind
•    The wood-fired Sauna will keep you toasty during the Vermont winters
•    Don’t forget the numerous Student Activities offered as well as our Board Game library in the OP Meeting Room.

Expeditionary Trips

The OP usually makes one or two major expeditions each school year, with destinations and activities based on student interests.  Winter explorations and wolf watching in Yellowstone National Park is a regular favorite, but past trips include canoeing and rock climbing along the Rio Grande, paddling through the Everglades, and other destinations such as Quebec, Jamaica, and Costa Rica.  This year, we’re going to the Smoky Mountains and Assateague Island.

Leadership Training

The OP is a hub of leadership skills, knowledge, and hands-on training.  The Outdoor Leadership Class, offered in the Spring, covers basic leadership skills and provides space for personal leadership development.  The Bridges Leadership Training helps students design and run 6-day orientation trips, and includes 3-days of field experience and the option to take Wilderness First Responder medical training.  The Outdoor Technical Skills course is a perfect supplement to “soft” leadership skills where you can learn how to fit and fix a frame backpack, deconstruct a camp stove, and tie basic knots.

Gear Library

The OP maintains an extensive gear library that’s free for current students, faculty, and staff.  You can borrow everything from backpacks to canoes to cross-country skis.  Interested in a more extensive list of what you can borrow?  Take a look here.


Every year, the OP hosts the Wendell-Judd Ski Cup, a ski race that traverses 10 kilometers from the college, across South Pond, and back.  While most folks race on skis, we also have a “Pedestrian” category for snowshoers and those on foot.  It’s a great celebration of winter for all those who love the snow.
The OP also assists Student Activities and Recreation with the annual Broomball Tournament.  Student, Staff, and Faculty teams vie for the “Golden Broom” or a coveted spot in the costume contest while they tear it up on the ice rink that resides in the middle of campus during the cold-weather months.
Trails Day brings together many parts of the Marlboro College and Town communities to clean-up the trail system in anticipation of winter.  Often, crews will tackle one or two major trails and clear trees, clean-up ditches, and re-build bridges.