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Beyond the Quad

Opt outside! Staying physically active outside is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy, relieve stress and get some fresh air. JMU is full of great spots (including and beyond the Quad) for outdoor eating, studying, gathering in small groups, and staying active. 

JMU is located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a region known for the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, the Shenandoah River, and more.  Learn about the endless and inexpensive fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors as part of your Madison Experience.

JMU Outdoors Interactive Google Map

Check out this Google Map to see what is available near you.  Click on the “layers” to see different categories, including Outdoor Seating, Prime Picnic Spots, Get Active: Open + Flat Spaces, Fishing Spots, Running/Walking Paths, Hammock Spots, Sports Spots, and Local Parks. 

Outdoor Activities at JMU

View and register for UREC and UPARK Outdoor Activities.

There are more upcoming outdoor campus activities included on the JMU Master Calendar

At UREC, you can rent items you can take with you outside: 

You can also plan a picnic and take your meals to-go! 

What to Pack

Take inventory of your cold weather/rain gear. Dressing for the weather (ex: gloves or a winter coat) will make spending time outside much more enjoyable. Beyond purchasing online, Harrisonburg has a wide range of retailers ranging from thrift stores to specialty outdoor stores to fit your budget. Learn about How to Dress in Cold Weather.  

Plan your Own Adventure

It is our goal at UREC to prepare you to lead your own adventure trip safely. Please read over the following three crucial steps to planning a safe and effective adventure trip.

Trip Planning

Where are you going?

  • Outdoor Guide to the Shenandoah - View the PDF!
  • Local Rock Climbing: Want to try some outdoor climbing but don’t know where to go? Here are some local climbing spots that are within reasonable driving distance. Participants are reminded that climbing is inherently dangerous, and should only climb outside with proper training and equipment. For more information, ask any Adventure Assistant. View the PDF!
  • Local Camping GuideView the PDF!
  • Shenandoah National Park HikesView the PDF!
  • George Washington National Forest HikesView the PDF!
  • Local Backpacking Trips (2-3 Day Hikes)View the PDF!
Other questions to ask yourself:
  • What weather do you expect?
  • What terrain challenges do you expect?
  • What is the level of experience with your group?
  • How long will the trip take?
  • Do you have maps of the area?
  • How will you get help if there is an emergency?
  • What meals will you want to eat?
  • Purchase food.
  • Obtain camping/backpacking supplies. - View the PDF!
  • Don’t forget batteries and stove fuel.
  • Make sure everyone has the personal items the need.
  • Make sure you can treat your water.
Leave someone your plan
  • Where are you going?
  • Who is going with you?
  • When should they expect you back.
Private Group Trips with UREC Adventure

Let UREC Adventure lead your class, team or organization on its very own adventure trip!

UREC offers four adventure trip options for your group to choose from that can be scheduled to fit your calendar and goals. 

Two Wheels and Two Scoops (2 hours) - $100 per group of 10 or fewer (Min 5/Max 10)

Participants will meet at the UREC Adventure Center to get outfitted with bikes and helmets before departing for a road ride through campus and into downtown Harrisonburg. Once downtown, the group will head to Kline’s Dairy Bar for an ice cream or warm beverage before biking back to UREC. UREC will provide both bikes and helmets, however, participants may bring their own if they like. Participants must cover the cost of their own purchase from Kline’s.

Hiking at High Knob (4 hours) - $200 per group of 10 or fewer (Min 5/Max 20)

Participants will ride together in a UREC van out to the High Knob trail head for a 3 mile out and back hike. Participants must wear closed-toed shoes.

Intro to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (4 hours) - $250 per group of 10 or fewer (Min 5/Max 10)

Participants will ride together in a UREC van out to a local lake for an afternoon of standup paddle boarding instruction and play. Once on site, participants will learn the basic techniques of paddling and standing before embarking on a paddle tour of the area. After the trip, the group will load up and head back to UREC.

Canoe the Shenandoah (6 hours) - $350 per group of 10 or fewer (Min 5/Max 18)

Participants will ride together in a UREC van out to a beginner friendly section of the Shenandoah River for a day of canoeing instruction and play. Once participants learn the basic techniques of paddling, the group will cover between 3-7 miles on the river. After the trip, the group will load up and head back to UREC. The specific section of river covered is dependent on the river level on the day of the trip.

Adventure Private Group Trip Request

Questions? Contact the Coordinator for Adventure and Camp Specialist.

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