San Francisco Bay Chapter Sierra Club

Activities Sections

Each of the activity sections below plans and organizes outings and events with a particular focus. Some activity sections have their own websites that contain more detailed information. In addition, other Sierra Club entities sponsor activities that may be of interest to Bay Chapter residents.

Backcountry Skiing Section
The Backcountry Skiing Section organizes day tours, hut trips, snowcamps, and winter mountaineering trips for both Nordic and Alpine tourers. Participants must provide appropriate equipment for each trip. Leader contact and approval are necessary before each trip to ensure that essential arrangements have been made and that the trip members have qualifying experience and necessary equipment. Leaders must receive trip deposits prior to the trip cutoff date. A donation may be collected by the leader to support expenses of the Backcountry Skiing Section. Sierra Club hut usage costs $10 per person per night. Participants share a mutual interest in organizing challenging ski tours, and in developing an appreciation for and confidence in cross-country winter travel. They are encouraged to become actively involved in the Backcountry Skiing Section.

Backpacking Section
Trips vary from easy trail walking to serious mountaineering. All trips involve overnight camping in the field unless otherwise stated. Trips occur during all seasons of the year.

Leader contact and approval is required before each trip to ensure that essential arrangements have been made and that trip members have qualifying experience and necessary equipment. No reservation is confirmed unless payment is made to the leader, immediately upon approval. Refund policies vary according to the leader, and are subject to leader's discretion. Cancellations less than seven days prior to trip departure are not subject to refund.

Central commissary means the leader provides breakfast and dinner as well as cooking equipment at cost. It is the leader's option to provide commissary or declare the trip hot water or individual commissary, each individual to bring and prepare all his/her own food. Trip members will bring their own lunches and are responsible for cooking and other camp chores. Carpools are advised with passengers sharing total expenses.

East Bay Dinners (see the Events & Activities section of the Yodeler)
These dinners, held at the Berkeley Yacht Club, offer informative and entertaining slide shows about our natural environment, presented by adventurous, world-traveling guest speakers. Dinner programs are usually scheduled on the 4th Thursday of each month, except for June, July, and August.

Gay and Lesbian Sierrans Section
The Gay and Lesbian Sierrans enlist the Bay Area's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in local conservation efforts by encouraging membership in the Sierra Club, conducting a wide range of recreational programs, and motivating volunteers to address the Club's environmental priorities. GLS activities are scheduled every weekend and include day hikes, bike trips, car camping, backpacking, winter sports, and service trips, as well as occasional natural history and historical tours. Special events occur frequently throughout the year. Activities are open to all.

Hiking Section
Hikes are open to all, whether or not you are a Sierra Club member, and they go rain or shine unless otherwise noted. A voluntary donation for Hiking Section expenses may be suggested, but we do not charge fees for outings. Leaders will be at the meeting places on time and cannot wait for latecomers. Hikers should always carry ample food and water; leaders may exclude ill-equipped individuals.

Inner City Outings (ICO)
Inner City Outings provides backpacking, day hikes, car camping, outings, and river rafting, led by experienced, competent, and motivated leaders, to segments of the Bay Area community that would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience Northern California's natural wonders. These trips go to local state and county parks, national forests and wilderness areas, and national parks.

ICO's immediate objectives are to promote interpersonal skills, to improve trip participants' self-esteem through active involvement with nature, and to have fun. This in turn serves an ultimate objective: to broaden the base for the Sierra Club's environmental education efforts. We work with a wide variety of community agencies: junior and high schools, elementary schools, alternative schools, hiking groups within a school or a church; drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs; juvenile delinquent facilities; and group homes and street programs. Most participants in ICO are young people from urban communities, but we also conduct groups for disabled persons, abused women, or any population that may not have access to outdoor activities.

River Touring Section
Through the Paddlers’ News Bulletin the River Touring Section offers a wide variety of activities for flat water and whitewater paddlers. Participants must have prior experience and must provide their own equipment.

San Francisco Dinners (see the Events & Activities section of the Yodeler)
These dinners are held at City Forest Lodge, 254 Laguna Honda Boulevard, and offer informative and entertaining presentations by a variety of speakers. Dinner programs are usually scheduled on the 3rd Thursday of each month, except for December, June, July, and August.

Sierra Couples
Several outings per year especially for families, with or without children.

Sierra Singles
Variety of activities for all adults, especially singles. (Age range: late 20s-early 60s.) Children welcome at some events as noted. Hikes, camping, bicycling, softball, social/cultural activities; details in our monthly newsletter.

Snowcamping Section
Our mission is to provide training in winter backcountry skills for experienced backpackers, and to extend the usual three backpacking seasons to a fourth season. The training series includes one day of classroom instruction (Saturday, January 18, 2003) and two weekend trips (dates tbd) in the snow. A special group for families with children is also available. For "graduates" of our series, we offer weekend (and longer) trips of varying difficulty.

Solo Sierrans
We are singles who care about each other and the environment. We offer fun, friendship, and an opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor, social, and cultural activities, including day hikes, car-camping and potlucks. Our group is for all ages, with most participants over fifty. All are welcome.

Young Sierrans
Bay Area Young Sierrans is a life stage section for ecologically-minded individuals under the age of 39. We organize social and outdoor activities in order to connect young adults and get them involved to explore, enjoy and protect our planet. Sierra Club membership is not required.

Other Sierra Club entities

California/Nevada Desert Committee
The Sierra Club’s California/Nevada Desert Committee sponsors frequent and
varied trips to teach about the desert.

Channel Island Cruises
California’s Channel Islands are Galapagos USA! Marvel at the sight of whales, seals, sea lions, rare birds, and blazing wildflowers. Hike the wild, windswept trails. Kayak the rugged coastline. Snorkel in pristine waters. Discover remnants of the Chumash people who lived on these islands for thousands of years. Or just relax at sea. These fundraisers benefit Sierra Club political programs in California.

Cruises depart Santa Barbara aboard the 68' Truth. The fee includes assigned bunk, all meals, snacks and beverages, plus the services of a ranger/naturalist who will lead hikes on each island.

For more information contact leaders Joan Jones Holtz and Don Holtz at (626) 443-0706 or

Gorge Scrambling
Gorge Scrambling offers the opportunity to explore remote gorges and historical mining sites, and to hike Gold Rush era trails. These trips are only done in the summer months, when the weather is warm, water temperature is tolerable, and water flows are low. The bulk of these outings occur in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

California/Nevada Wilderness Committee
The California/Nevada Wilderness Committee sponsors occasional outings to wilderness areas and potential wilderness areas throughout the state. For information, see its newsletter, Words of the Wild:

Clair Tappaan Lodge
Clair Tappaan Lodge is a rustic mountain lodge nestled in the Sierra Nevada of California at the top of Donner Pass. Built by Sierra Club volunteers in the 1930s, the lodge is an excellent home base for year-round recreation. The friendly, casual atmosphere and affordable nightly rates (including family-style meals) make the Lodge the perfect rustic getaway to the Tahoe/Donner area.

Sierra Club national outings
Whether it's hiking in the Sierra, kayaking in Florida, or discovering the culture of Provence, Sierra Club runs hundreds of outings each year all over the country and world.

Other Chapters

The Sierra Club has chapters all over the U.S., and each offers outings. Find a list of all chapters on the Club's national website. For the chapters adjacent to the Bay Chapter, see the Redwood Chapter (North Coast and redwoods region), the Mother Lode Chapter (Central Valley and Sierra Nevada), and the Loma Prieta Chapter (Peninsula and southward).