How to Become an Outings Leader

If you enjoy exploring wild lands, meeting new people, and leading adventures for them, you could make a great Sierra Club outings leader.

The Sierra Club’s outdoor activities (see calendar here) aim to connect all people with the natural world and with the Club. As an outings leader with the San Francisco Bay Chapter, you will join others in exploring wild lands, grappling with conservation issues, and even changing perceptions. Because trips are often specialized around a unique theme or activity, you could be hiking, backpacking, kayaking, bicycling, or doing service work — it's up to you to choose, because you ultimately design and lead your very own trip.  

What are the benefits of being a Sierra Club outings leader?

  • Designing trips that reflect your interests and passions

  • Spending time outdoors with like-minded people

  • The satisfaction of leading the conversation on local conservation issues and providing trips that help others connect with natural wonders


The basic requirements to become an outings leader are pretty simple. First, you need to decide what type of outing you would like to lead (hike, backpack, car camp, etc.), and which activity section you would like to affiliate with. You can find a list and descriptions of our activity sections online here.

The other basic requirements are:

  1. You are a current Sierra Club member. (If you're not, join online here!)
  2. You are at least 18 years of age.
  3. First Aid training. The Chapter will reimburse you for the training up to a certain amount. Contact the outings coordinator of the activity section you want to affiliate with to find out what type of first aid would be required (e.g. Basic First Aid or Wilderness First Aid). More info on the First Aid requirement below.
  4. Complete the Sierra Club Outings Leader Training, as required by the specific outings entity or activity section. (Contact the outings coordinator of the activity section you want to affiliate with for access to the online training.)
  5. Have outing participant skills appropriate for the activities of the trip towards the advanced end of the scale.
  6. Provisionally lead at least one outing and receive a positive evaluation by your mentor leader (find more on mentors below).
  7. Receive approval to lead outings from the Outing Chair or delegated authority of the activity section sponsoring the outing. Then hit the trails!

First Aid Course

You can get certified in First Aid either through a course hosted by the Chapter (keep reading for more info) or through an outside provider (in person or online). You can review options for first aid providers here. The Chapter will reimburse you for the training up to a certain amount. To confirm your training meets the requirements, check in with your activity section chair.

The Bay Chapter occasionally offers a Basic Wilderness First Aid course which meets the First Aid training requirement for outings leaders. Classes are posted on the chapter calendar. Sierra Club members who are not current outing leaders need to register with the instructor, Steve Donelan (email Steve also offers classes through other organizations. You can view his website here.

The First Aid requirement is waived for leaders with extensive medical training (i.e., EMT, RN, MD, etc.), so please let the outings coordinator of the activity section you want to affiliate with know if this applies to you.

Mentor Evaluation

Choose a current outing leader to act as your mentor — you can meet outings leaders by participating in their trips, or find their contact information on the website. You will scout your first outing with your mentor and lead the outing with your mentor in attendance. Make sure to list this first outing in the chapter calendar. Your mentor’s role should be primarily to observe you and behave pretty much as just another participant. Following the outing, the mentor leader will provide feedback on how you did.  

Following a successful first outing, you will be a full-fledged outings leader and able to lead outings on your own. And then, Happy Trails!


Contact the leaders for the activities section you're interested in joining. You can find their contact information here.