Essential Eligibility Criteria

Trailhead program participants must meet Essential Eligibility Criteria. We work to ensure that Trailhead is an inclusive program.

The health and safety of our students and staff are a top priority, along with the educative quality of the program experience for all participants. 

The Essential Eligibility (EEC) are applied to all students on Trailhead. If an applicant does not meet specific criteria, Trailhead might be able to accommodate an applicant, but will not do so if it significantly alters the fundamental nature of the program activity, jeopardizes the health and safety of program participants or staff or places an undue administrative or financial burden on Texas State University, the Department of Campus Recreation, or Trailhead.

Requests for accommodations must be submitted in writing to Trailhead by email to ( no later than one week after registering for Trailhead. Requests are not guaranteed; Trailhead will work with the requestor and TXST's Office of Disability Services (ODS) to determine the feasibility of the request. A final plan for accommodations must be reviewed and approved of by Trailhead, the requestor and ODS at least one week prior to the program. 

Trailhead participants are responsible for consulting the itinerary of their selected program and reviewing the relevant Essential Eligibility Criteria.

General Eligibility Criteria for ALL Trailhead program participants and activities

  • Able to understand verbal and visual instructions individually and in a group setting, and follow such instructions whether supervised or not.
  • Able to comprehend hazards and safety concerns when explained, and to adhere to safety policies and procedures even when staff and contracted guides are not present.
  • Learn and practice Leave No Trace (LNT) outdoor ethics and techniques.
  • Able to identify and recognize hazards posed by the environment (e.g., steep or uneven terrain, moving water, sun, wind, cold, etc.) and other participants (e.g., fatigue, state of mind and other influencers of judgment and decision making).
  • Able to effectively communicate to others personal distress, injury or need for assistance, and communicate to others any hazards and dangers that they perceive.
  • Able to stay properly hydrated and nourished, by day or night, and learn skills for self-care, including proper hygiene and use of clothing and equipment.
  • Maintain pace with the group.
  • Able to refrain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, and any misuse of prescription or over the counter drugs. If using prescription drugs, able to follow correct dosage and usage and keep them in good condition between resupplies (up to 7 days) with or without instructor assistance.
  • Able to contribute to a safe social and learning environment and maintain appropriate relationships with other group members and instructors, refrain from sexual activity, harassment and bullying, and all other behavior that disrupts the learning of others or the cohesion of the group.
  • Able to abstain from cell phone use for the duration of the program. (Trailhead staff carry communication devices for emergency situations. All other cellphone use is discouraged. Trailhead is not responsible for lost or damaged electronics or other personal items during the program.)

Camping Activities

  • Able to live and function in an outdoor camp setting without access to electricity for 7 days. Note that no prior camping experience is expected nor necessary. This criterion is meant to address students who have medications or other medical interventions that require access to electricity.

Hiking Activities

  • Able to walk continuously for 1 mile at a moderate pace (2-3 mph) over uneven terrain unassisted while carrying a small daypack weighing 10 – 15 pounds.

Backpacking Activities

  • Camping and hiking activities criteria PLUS the following:
    • Able to walk continuously for 1 mile at a moderate pace (1-2 mph) over uneven terrain unassisted while carrying a large pack (35-40 pounds), and then repeat following 15-30 minutes of rest.
    • Ability to not have access to advanced medical care facilities for the duration of the backpacking portion of a program.

Please Note: Trailhead is a program designed to meet the needs of new first year students enrolled at TXST. This program is NOT for faculty, staff, returning students, or general public.

If you have any questions on these Essential Eligibility Criteria or on your ability to meet one or more criteria please contact Trailhead by emailing


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