Gator-Wild is a 7-day, 6-night wilderness-based experience program designed to provide incoming first year and transfer students with a warm outdoor welcome into the SF State Gator Family. Gator-Wild offers students a chance to build connections and community with other incoming students and faculty and staff on small group expeditions, while exploring the Sierra Nevada before stepping foot in the classroom.  Come experience SF States Historic Sierra Nevada Field Campus, while making new friends and gaining confidence in yourself.

Please note that Gator-Wild is currently unavailable to residents who will be living in West Grove Commons - the new Housing located on the former West Campus Green due to restriction of early move in access unless participants have living arrangements available to them for the nights of Sunday, August 18 and Monday, August 19.  Gator-Wild will be returning to Campus on Sunday, August 18 from the field and will continue programming through the Gator-Wild end on August 19.   Participants will be residing in their respective resident halls or off campus arrangements these two nights. 

Registration opens April 20th and closes on July 13th


Steps to Register for Gator-Wild via Member Portal:

After clicking the registration link, click "Sign In." Next, choose the SF State option and proceed to use your SF State Single Sign-On Credentials to log in. If you encounter issues signing in with the SF State option, please return to the member portal. Instead of selecting SF State, opt for the choice at the bottom to create a new account. Use your personal (community) email to create an account and enroll in the Gator-Wild program.

GW Camping
GW Group
GW Students
GW Group Photo Sierra

Trip Information


Day 1: Tuesday, August 13, 2024

  • Students and families arrive at SF State and move into residence halls (Unfortunately, students living in West Grove Commons - the new Housing on the former West Campus Green won’t be able to move in until Tuesday, Aug 20th).
  • Students not residing in residence halls will not need to arrive until the start of the opening circle in the afternoon.
  • Farewell to families; the participants will join their small group expeditions.
  • Group Pre-Trip Meeting.
  • Large group dinner with participants and trip leaders.
  • Participants stay in their respective residence halls/apartments for the evening.

Day 2: Wednesday, August 14, 2024

  • Breakfast at the Mashouf Wellness Center (MWC). Sac lunch provided for en route to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus (SNFC).
  • Final preparation for the SNFC.
  • Depart for SNFC.
  • Arrive at SNFC and introduction to the field campus.
  • Dinner at SNFC followed by large group activities.
  • Camp at SNFC for the night. 

Day 3 – 6: Thursday, August 15, 2024 - Saturday, August 17, 2024

  • Eat breakfast at SNFC and pack a sac Lunch.
  • Participants set off on small group expeditions for 3 days and 2 nights exploring the nearby trails in the Sierra Nevada.
  • Participants return to SNFC after small group expedition for hot showers and dinner before participating in large group activities, where they will celebrate their small group experiences as a large group.
  • Camp at SNFC for the night. 

Day 7:  Sunday, August 18, 2024

  • Breakfast at SNFC and pack a sac lunch. 
  • Final goodbye to the SNFC Staff.
  • Depart back to SF State.
  • Participants stay in their respective residence halls/apartments for the evening.

Day 8: Monday, August 19, 2024

  • Breakfast
  • Post-trip activities including participants’ testimonials.
  • Lunch followed by games.
  • Group Dinner with Trip leaders
  • Program conclusion: Participants stay in their residence halls/apartments for the evening and join other students for Welcome Week starting on Tuesday, August 20.
GW Sierra Sign

Equipment List

Essential Items:

  • (1) pair durable lightweight hiking boots
  • (2-3) pair wool/synthetic socks
  • Underwear bottoms
  • (1) wool/fleece or non-cotton sweater
  • (1 to 2) synthetic, non-cotton t-shirts
  • (1 to 2) synthetic non-cotton long sleeve shirts
  • (1) wind shell layer (lightweight)
  • (1) set of rain gear (top & bottom - durable waterproof material)
  • (1 to 2) pair lightweight synthetic hiking pants (no jeans or sweatpants)
  • (1 to 2) pair of lightweight, fast-drying shorts (no cotton)
  • (1) warm hat (wool or fleece; yes, it can get cold)
  • (1) pair of lightweight wool/fleece gloves
  • (1) brimmed sun hat or baseball cap
  • (1) sleeping bag w/compression sac (not bulky)
  • (1) sleeping pad – Ensolite or Thermarest (not bulky)
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Lip balm w/ SPF
  • Toiletry kit (travel size - toothpaste, toothbrush, prescription meds, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products)
  • Cup, bowl and spoon (small, lightweight & durable)
  • (2) one-liter wide-mouth water bottles (i.e., Nalgene)
  • (1) headlamp with extra batteries
  • (1) whistle
  • (2) bandanas (useful for many things in the outdoors)
  • (2) large garbage size trash bags
  • Pen, pencil, small notebook, journal, etc.
  • Additional clothing & items for in camp: (jeans are okay while at the SNFC)
  • Pack or duffle bag (a backpack will be provided for small group expeditions)
  • Personal hygiene for after course - towel, shampoo, soap, etc. (travel size)
  • Pertinent Medications


  • Small pack towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Small Camera

Note:  No alcohol or drugs. Questions?  Please ask!

GW Fire

Frequently Asked Questions

Orientation covers the information regarding academics and resources that are available for the students for a successful journey throughout their years at SF State. In contrast, Gator-Wild is a program designed for the students to get acquainted with other peer incoming students through a wilderness experience and encourage a fresh start to academic life at SF State.

Gator-Wild is a week-long program lasting seven days and six nights, commencing one week before Welcome Week in Fall 2024. The program will take place from August 13 to August 19. It kicks off at the SF State Mashouf Wellness Center (MWC) and, on the following day, transitions to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus (SNFC).

Gator-Wild costs $250 per participant.

Scholarships are Available and must be completed by June 30, 2024 to be considered.  Follow the link below to submit a scholarship application if interested.

Gator-Wild Scholarship Application Link

Upon review, you will be notified via email of any scholarship award given and provided a refund in the amount of the reward to the same payment method used while registering. Participants must pay the full registration fee initially.

No, you don’t need to have a prior camping experience for the program.  The experience is geared for the beginner and all skill levels are welcome.  

San Francisco State University's Sierra Nevada Field Campus (SNFC) is set at 5500', near the spectacular Sierra Buttes and Lakes Basin, a short drive from Sierra Valley.  The North Yuba River flows through the campus, treating visitors to glimpses of river otters, American Dippers and a myriad of other local inhabitants. The campus has been in existence since the 1950s and has been dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of the biological diversity, geosciences, hydrology, astronomy, plein air art, and outdoor recreation to both students, faculty and staff as well as the general public.  Students should expect rustic accommodations, open air restrooms/showers, tent platforms and tasty meals.  The SNFC is where you are immersed in one of the most beautiful, diverse, and wild regions of the northern Sierra Nevada.  Please visit for more information.

Our trip leaders are some of our best trained student leaders at San Francisco State who have plenty of experience with both the planning and leading of outdoor trips and hold a variety of certifications in Wilderness Medicine.  Additionally, Gator-Wild is facilitated by a fulltime staff Coordinator and Student Manager and will have other SF State faculty and staff assisting the program.

Enrolled participants will receive a welcome letter before the program start date regarding all necessary information about equipment and what to expect before arriving for Gator-Wild. 

You may contact us via email at or phone at (415) 405-2875.