Program Information

Here you'll find program information and answers to FAQs about Gonzaga Explore.

If you have additional questions, please contact the program director Ben Chu at or 509-313-4262.

In our small groups of Explorers led by Mentors who are current Gonzaga students, we’ll be adventuring into the Inland Northwest while:

  • hiking out to meet Guides who show us how both wild and urban landscapes are shaped
  • getting our hands in the dirt at an urban farm that works in solidarity with local communities
  • learning about Sacramentality, Human Dignity, and Catholic Social Teaching with professors of philosophy and theology
  • celebrating Mass on the summit of Mt. Spokane
  • practicing Ignatian spirituality and sharing our faith journeys in small groups
  • climbing through a high-ropes course on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene to discern our spiritual gifts
  • rafting and flowing on the white-waters of the Clark Fork River in Montana
  • discerning our vocations in leadership and service to the church, the human family, and our common home
  • widening and deepening our life's relationships and purpose in love and courage
  • making friendships and having lots of fun!

Here is an example of an itinerary from Explore 2023:

Gonzaga Explore 2023 Itinerary



Gonzaga Explore is open to any high school student including current seniors who will be graduating this spring. They must be at least a current high school freshman.

While most participants come from Catholic high schools around the Northwest, students from any kind of school, any geographic region, and any religious background are welcome!

Gonzaga Explore is a part of Gonzaga University's Jesuit, Catholic, and humanistic mission which means that the Gonzaga Explore Staff will treat and honor you as a human with dignity, no matter what. Every human being is created as a unique and sacred image of God (imago Dei), and this simple foundation is at the heart of our program's theology, philosophy, and action.

Most of the Gonzaga Explore Staff are Catholic, and much of the content of Gonzaga Explore is rooted in Catholic liturgy and spirituality, so even if you're not Catholic, we hope and trust that there will be things you can connect to and find meaning in, and we welcome diverse perspectives so we can all find a greater richness in our shared experiences.

Chaperones authorized by a high school are welcome and encouraged to participate! Lodging, meals, and a $300 stipend are provided. Chaperones will only be responsible for transporting their students to and from Gonzaga Explore, and they will not have any supervisory roles during the immersion. There will also be parallel programming provided to chaperones in a small group of adults during Explore for higher level reflection and discussion. If you're interested in participating as a Chaperone, please contact the program director Ben Chu at or 509-313-4262.


All Explorers will be provided lodging in the residence halls of Gonzaga University for the week. These facilities are secured and monitored, and our Mentors will be staying in the same residence halls as the Explorers to ensure their safety. While we'll be traveling all over the Inland Northwest (Washington, Idaho, and Montana), we'll return to our rooms at Gonzaga University every night.

All meals will be provided. Most meals will be at Gonzaga University's main dining hall, and some meals will be from local restaurants. All dietary restrictions and allergies will be carefully and thoroughly accommodated. Please be sure to communicate dietary and medical restrictions to us during registration.


If the PDF does not display correctly, click here to download a copy of the packing list.



While there is inherent risk in outdoor adventure, the Gonzaga Explore Leadership Team will take all feasible measures to mitigate risk and ensure safety. This includes appropriate training, emergency planning and preparedness, collaboration with other university departments and external organizations, reliable backcountry communication (satellite messaging and GPS tracking), and quality first aid and rescue equipment.

Our Director, Ben Chu, and Guardian, Josh Campbell, are both certified and current as a Wilderness EMTs through the National Outdoor Leadership School's Wilderness Medicine Institute and the National Registry of EMTs. All Mentors also receive training in basic protocols and best practices for outdoor adventure leadership.

The high-ropes course will be facilitated by trained experts at Lutherhaven, and the white-water rafting will be led by expert guides at Pangaea River Rafting.

All transportation of Explorers will be through a chartered bus company.

Please be sure to communicate to us any food and dietary restrictions, allergies, and relevant medical injuries and histories during registration.

Register Here for Gonzaga Explore!