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Adventure Leadership

Our trips can take you anywhere: dogsledding in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, spelunking in North Carolina, backpacking the Grand Canyon, paddling the Huron River, and more. Whether you want to take off for a couple of hours, a day or a week, let us handle the details—like food, transportation, logistics, trip leaders, and outdoor equipment—while you take in the great outdoors.

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Find Your Trip

Adventure Leadership trips are open to U‑M students, faculty, staff, and the general public. If this is your first trip, please note, that our trips are beginner-friendly, and all gear is provided.

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

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Sleeping Bear Dunes
September 30-October 2, 2022

Register Here!

Come hike the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of the most beautiful places Michigan has to offer! The park was established for its outstanding natural features, including dunes, beaches, forests, and ancient glacial phenomena on the shores of Lake Michigan. We’ll spend our nights camping and (hopefully) enjoying the stars, and will spend our days hiking and exploring the dunes and the lakeshore! This will truly be a trip to remember, in places that beg to be returned to again and again.

Dates: Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2, 2022

Cost: $195

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

Fall Break: Huron River Canoe Trip
October 14-18, 2022

Register Here!

Come explore your local watershed on our 5-day/4-night paddle on the mighty Huron River! (Well, maybe not mighty, but a lovely, flowing river, through nature areas, state parks, lakes with cottages.) We’ll stop in a small town for lunch one day, stop at a petting zoo the next day, then venture to the wilderness of Island Lake State Park. All along we will take advantage of the blue sky (or not) fall days of Southeastern Michigan, and the warm, clear waters of the river. Waterbirds and fall colors abound as we enter into the peaceful starry nights and sunny days floating on the crown jewel of Southeast Michigan!

Dates: Friday, October 14 – Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Cost: $295

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

Fall Break: Pictured Rocks Backpacking
October 14-18, 2022

Register Here!

Leave your studies behind, and join your classmates for a breath (or two) of fresh air along the pristine and picturesque Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. Exploring the sandstone cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, forest and Lake Superior are all highlights of this trip. This wilderness offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to experience an area truly unique to the Midwest. Most of the hike follows the coastline atop sandstone cliffs that erupt 200ft out of the vast Lake Superior. (Graduate Students Only)

Dates: Friday, October 14 – Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Cost: $395

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

Day Hike -Pinckney Recreation Area
October 30, 2022

Register Here!

Come hiking in nearby Pinckney Recreation Area, known for its extensive trail system and chain of lakes. We’ll enjoy some fall colors, hike past lakes and the Huron River, enjoy a lunch on the trail, and recharge in nature. (Graduate Students Only)

Date: Sunday, October, 2022

Cost: $50

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

Sleeping Bear Dunes
November 4-6, 2022

Register Here!

Come hike the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of the most beautiful places Michigan has to offer! The park was established for its outstanding natural features, including dunes, beaches, forests, and ancient glacial phenomena on the shores of Lake Michigan. We’ll spend our nights camping and (hopefully) enjoying the stars, and will spend our days hiking and exploring the dunes and the lakeshore! This will truly be a trip to remember, in places that beg to be returned to again and again.

Dates: Friday, November 4 – Sunday, November 6, 2022

Cost: $195

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

Dark Sky Park Weekend and Day Hikes
December 2-4, 2022

Register Here!

Head up north with us for some crazy stars and beautiful day hikes! We will stay in a cabin near Wilderness State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan, hike along the lake and inland, and at night visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park to get a dazzling view of the night sky.

Dates: Friday, December 2 – Saturday, December 4, 2022

Cost: $225

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu


First Ascent

First-year students are invited to register for these trips, from simple day trips around Ann Arbor to weekend outings to even longer adventures farther afield! Make friends with other first-year students while participating in experiential, adventure-based activities. All programs are led by upper-level undergraduate or graduate students involved with the Adventure Leadership program.

Please note, that First Ascent Trip participants are able to move their belongings into their residence hall room on August 21, 2022, or August 22, 2022, depending on the start of your trip.

All gear is provided. Activities will include biking, kayaking, hiking, and more. No experience necessary! For questions, email advleadtrips@umich.edu or call (734) 764-3967.

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First Ascent: Huron River Canoe
September, 18, 2022

Register Here!

Venture with us for a peaceful day down the winding Huron River. This Michigan river is longer than you think – we’ll have to drive North to escape the crowds so we can enjoy sweet, sweet serenity as we float, paddle and gaze all day. (First Year Students Only)

Date: Sunday, September 18, 2022

Cost: $75

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu

First Ascent: Pictured Rocks Backpacking
October 14-18, 2022

Register Here!

Leave your studies behind, and join your classmates for a breath (or two) of fresh air along the pristine and picturesque Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. Exploring the sandstore cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, forest and Lake Superior are all highlights of this trip. This wilderness offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to experience an area truly unique to the Midwest. Most of the hike follows the coastline atop sandstone cliffs that erupt 200ft out of the vast Lake Superior. (First Year Students Only)

Dates: Friday, October 14 – Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Cost: $395

Questions: Call 734-764-3967 or email us at advleadtrips@umich.edu


Outdoor Skills for Groups

Do you have an employee group, department or organization that’s looking to get outside and learn a new skill?  Whether you’re looking to relax around a campfire with s’mores or work up a sweat cross country skiing, we’re certain our unique activities will help you reconnect and engage together.

Outdoor skills activities are free to Student Life units at the University of Michigan. 

Set Up Your Group

Email advleadtrips@umich.edu with the outdoor skill(s) you’re interested in, a preferred date, and your group size.

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Adaptive Slacklining

Is it a sport? An art? A balancing act? Let Adventure Leadership staff introduce your group to slacklining –  a fun and safely socially distant outdoor activity! Become aware of your body and mind while trying something new, and discover a new way to hang around with friends outside.

Available Locations

  • Grove outside of the CCRB
  • An alternative wooded location
Backpacking Basics

Backpacking is the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature for a weekend or longer. Come join us for a hands-on session of the basics: tents and shelter, clothing, cooking, water treatment, navigating, first aid, Leave No Trace principles. Anywhere from one to three hours, depending on how deep and detailed you want to get.

Available Location

  • Adventure Leadership Rental Center
Bike Tours

Options include a bike tour around and through campus to the Nichols Arboretum, where we will hike down to the river then back to our bikes for the return ride. A perfect way to spend a couple hours away from screens, enjoying campus and nature.

For a longer ride we can start the day with a relaxed 45-minute bike ride through campus, past the hospital, along the Huron River and to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Almost the entire route is on car-free bike paths, with the final stretch on a newly paved award-winning nature trail. Once there we will enjoy a bag lunch and explore for about an hour with a hike through woods and fields, including trails along Fleming Creek. We will then re-mount our bikes and ride back.

Trip leaders and bikes are included, although you’re welcome to ride your own bike. Please bring a bike, helmet, bike lock (or use one of ours), weather-appropriate clothing, and a small daypack.

All bike tours start at the Adventure Leadership Rental Center.

Bonfire & S’mores

What more do we need to say? We provide fire, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. You get to find sticks in the woods for roasting. Trip leaders will provide tips on how to create a perfect golden-brown marshmallow, or a completely burnt marshmallow, if you are into that sort of thing.

Available Location

  • Adventure Education Center
Camp Cuisine Exploration

Cooking while camping ranges from minimalist to gourmet. We’ll teach you the basics, including how to use three different camp stoves, and then you’ll get to try your hand at preparing some food. Sessions at the AEC may include cooking over a fire.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Leadership Rental Center
  • Adventure Education Center
Cross Country Ski

If we have snow (at least 4”), we can ski! A basic lesson and try-out on Elbel Field at the Adventure Leadership Rental Center, or a few hours out at the Adventure Education Center (hot chocolate included!). Nothing beats the peacefulness of a snow-covered landscape, and nothing beats Seasonal Affective Disorder like outdoor exercise.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Leadership Rental Center
  • Adventure Education Center
Interpretive Hikes

Let nature tell you a story! Learn about the plants, animals, and other ecological features that make up the Great Lakes region.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Education Center
  • Nichols Arboretum
  • Or an alternative location!
Night Hikes

The best times to take a night hike are during a full moon, when the night world is bathed in ethereal, faint white and grey, or the new moon, when stars are most visible. Join us for a unique walk in the woods and fields of the Nichols Arboretum or the Adventure Education Center. Even if it’s cloudy, walking through the woods at night is a great experience. Headlamps provided. Time frame is generally between 8:30pm and 10:30pm.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Education Center
  • Nichols Arboretum
Orienteering

Take your team building in a new direction by learning to navigate without a GPS unit or cell phones. Discover the parts of a compass, measure your pace, and try triangulation. Once you’ve gotten your bearings, complete a practice course to solidify your skills and work collaboratively with your team to solve a puzzle!

Available Locations

  • Adventure Education Center
  • Nichols Arboretum
Wellness Walks

Engage all of your senses while connecting your body and mind with nature. Allow yourself to break away from daily distractions and pressures to live in the present moment. Join us for an opportunity to practice mindfulness and learn body regulation skills at our beautiful wooded facility at the Adventure Education Center, or any other quiet outdoor location of your group’s choice.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Education Center
  • Nichols Arboretum
  • Or an alternative location!
Wilderness Survival 101

The most important aspect of survival is to be prepared – both with appropriate supplies and the ability to work with your environment in critical situations. Increase your knowledge of fire and shelter building, practice cooperation and team decision-making skills, and expand your capacity for resourcefulness in the outdoors.

Available Locations

  • Adventure Education Center

Available Locations for Outdoor Skills

  • Adventure Leadership Rental Center: Stationed near Elbel field, this location is ideal for a short commute to find a big adventure – and pick up all the gear you need for your excursion!
  • Nichols Arboretum: A prominent and notable campus feature within walking distance of most student housing and university office spaces.
  • Adventure Education Center: Our most remote and secluded-feeling location, within a short drive or moderate bike ride from campus.

Register Here!

Wilderness First Responder courses are designed specifically to meet the needs of wilderness guides, expedition leaders, and anyone traveling in the backcountry with friends or family. This is the industry standard for outdoor professionals and the course you want your friends to have taken before you travel with them. Using the Wilderness Medicine Training Center’s unique Hybrid Course, participants complete a course of study and tests online (Part 1) prior to the start of the practical on-site training (Part 2). This training is focused and thorough. The online portion requires serious study and the in-person portion requires commitment and effort. Refunds are generally not available for those who do not successfully complete the course. Call with questions or for more information at 734-764-3967.

Dates

May 3 – 7, 2022

Price

  • $675 (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • $425 (Part 2 only)

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Purchase Tickets!

Ignite your passion for adventure! The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories when it comes to the Michigan Theater, hosted by Adventure Leadership.  Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Location

Michigan Theater @ 603 E Liberty Street, Ann Arbor

Price

$18.00 General | $14.00 Students
(Day of Show – $20.00 General | $16.00 Students)

We have made the decision to cancel both weeks of the Adventure Leadership Youth Camp program for the summer of 2022.

Save the dates, because we’ll be back in 2023!

  • Week 1: July 24 – 28, 2023
  • Week 2: July 31 – August 4, 2023
  • Week 3: August 7 – 11, 2023

Enjoy your summer!

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