Outdoors

Students at Piney Point

High atop the Cumberland Plateau, our wooded 550-acre campus provides numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure and environmental education. Whether you're new to the woods or already an avid outdoors enthusiast we'll get you wilderness ready through Adventure Education and our afternoon Outdoor Adventure program. Join the mountain biking team or the climbing club.

Weekend activities often include hikes, camping trips, climbing, and caving expeditions. The campus location on the Cumberland Plateau provides numerous places to hike, mountain bike, rock climb, kayak, and rappel. Caves in the area offer a seemingly never-ending opportunity to go spelunking. A Bouldering Cave on campus (with hundreds of holds) provides avid rock climbers the chance to practice climbing skills indoors before they tackle the bluffs of the Sewanee area.

Adventure Education is an opportunity for Middle School students to learn to safely explore and enjoy our natural world. The school's 550-acre campus is the setting for activities that include hiking, games, construction projects, map reading, orienteering, farming, and more. Students use their imaginations and hone their sense of adventure as we work on team building, communication conflict resolution, and problem solving skills. As the students progress through Middle School, they move from exploratory activities to more advanced wilderness and farming skills.

See more information about the Adventure Education curriculum.

Bouldering Shed

Climbing Shed

Outdoor Adventure

Upper School students may choose to take Outdoor Adventure as an Afternoon Program. Outdoor Adventure students gain special wilderness skills and gain important experience in trip planning, leadership, and equipment maintenance.

A sampling of recent Outdoor Adventure activities include:

  • Learning basic wilderness medicine and practiced rescue scenarios.
  • Building a campsite.
  • Discovering a new climbing area near campus and night-bouldering with lanterns.
  • Fishing in campus lakes.
  • Swimming in several waterfalls and cascade pools.
  • Going on overnight trips that include camping, night-hiking, backpacking, and bouldering.
  • Hiking all campus trails.
  • Sketching campus maps.
  • Exploring campus cliffs.
  • Constructing a home base in the woods for rainy day shelter.
  • Exploring nearby points of interest, including Fiery Gizzard, Foster Falls, entrance to Buggytop cave, and historic home site below Green's View.
  • Using a rope ladder to get into the sink hole at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Discussing basic survival skills.
  • Practicing starting fires in different conditions and with different tools/materials.
  • Learning to use several basic camping stoves.
  • Testing different backpacking foods.
  • Exploring several caves, including Buckets of Blood and Solomon's Temple I & II.
  • Completing an introduction to topographical maps.

Winterim and the Outdoors

Recent outdoor-themed Winterim courses include:

  • Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
  • A 4-day Adventure in Cloudland Canyon State Park
  • Caving
  • Splitting Firewood
  • Winter Trail Running
  • A Hike of Sewanee's 20+-mile Perimeter Trail 
  • Farming
  • Cooking with Fire
  • Fly Fishing

Outdoors Facilities

Numbers refer to location on Campus Map.

Res with Class

The campus lake used, enjoyed, and studied by the entire SAS community.

Gunn Lake, snow, canoe,

The smaller of the campus's two lakes (the other being The "Res,") Gunn Lake provides opportunities for outdoor science labs and fishing. Trails surrounding the lake are popular for hiking and mountain biking.

Climbing Shed

The Bouldering Cave offers students opportunities to safely practice their climbing skills no matter the weather. The Mountain Biking Shed is home to our Varsity Mountain Biking Team and houses a shop for repairing and maintaining bikes.

Our Campus Lab

Science students at Res

In addition to opportunities for recreation and adventure, our campus is used extensively as an outdoor lab. Students participate in ongoing watershed studies and take courses in Geology, Environmental Science, and Archaeology.

Outdoor Education Faculty

Michael Short

Michael Short

Titles: Humanities Department Chair, Outdoor Education Coordinator, Humanities 6, Adventure Education, Outdoor Adventure, Mountain Biking, House Parent (Harvey), 6th Grade Class Coordinator
Degrees: B.A. English and Environmental Studies, Furman University
M.Ed. English Language Arts, Wake Forest University
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 1019
Doug Burns

Doug Burns

Titles: Cissy Patterson Chair in Mathematics, Game Administrator, Outdoor Adventure, House Parent (Watts), Honor Council
Degrees: B.A., Colorado College
M.A., University of Denver
Email:
Jake Miller

Jake Miller

Titles: Biology, Adventure Education, Farm Educator, Environmental Science, House Parent (Woods)
Degrees: B.S., Colorado State University
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.1005
Marcus Murphy

Marcus Murphy

Titles: International Student Coordinator, Chinese, House Parent (Watts), Outdoor Adventure, Middle School Boys' Soccer
Degrees: B.S., Natural Resources, The University of the South
M.A., Teaching Mandarin as a Second Language, Qingdao University
Email:
Amanda Skrzeczkoski

Amanda Skrzeczkoski

Titles: Athletic Trainer, House Parent (Warner/St. Mary's), Adventure Education
Degrees: B.A., Athletic Training, University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 3328

Stephen Thomas

Titles: Spanish, Golf (Head), Outdoor Adventure
Degrees: B.A., Foreign Languages (Spanish), University of Alaska Fairbanks
M.A., Foreign Language (Spanish), Bowling Green State University
Email:
John Wheeler

John Wheeler

Titles: English, Football, Swimming, Varsity Boys' Soccer, House Parent (Watts), Interdisciplinary Studies
Degrees: B.A., English, The University of the South
Email:

Get a taste of SAS Outdoors

SAS Summer

Piney Point Mountain Biking Camp