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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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Dogsled and XC Ski Trip
January 19 – 22, 2023 & February 2 – 5, 2023

Register Here!

Fulfill one of those lifetime goals you never knew about, and come dogsledding in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula for the long weekend! Fly down wooded trails led by a team of professional dogs, and experience the true spirit of winter recreation! We will then snowshoe or cross-country ski to explore the endless white woods of the the northern mitten and possibly visit the amazing Eben Ice Caves. Cozy cabins, hot chocolate, good friends, and warm blankets also provided. No experience is required!

Two Trip Dates Available: Thursday, January 19 – Sunday, January 22, 2023 & Thursday, February 2 – Sunday, February 5, 2023

Cost: $445

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

Ice Climbing at Peabody Ice Climbing Club
January 28, 2023 & January 29, 2023

Register Here!

Looking to try something new and exciting this year? Have you ever wanted to scale a wall of ice? If so, come ice climbing with Adventure Leadership this winter! Peabody Ice Climbing Club is located about an hour north of Ann Arbor and provides a wonderful setting for beginner and advanced ice climbers alike. This unique outdoor experience will definitely get the adrenaline pumping! How else are you supposed to stay warm on a chilly winter day?

Two Trip Dates Available: Saturday, January 28, 2023 & Sunday, January 29, 2023

Cost: $115

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

Michigan Ice Fest and XC Ski
February 9 – 12, 2023

Register Here!

Enter into the life of a true Michigander by attending the Michigan Ice Fest! On this trip you will get the chance to check out one of the state’s many incredible winter recreation events alongside other graduate students. Your trip will include a warm, modern cabin to relax the nights away after your days adventuring the Upper Peninsula. You will try out ice climbing with top of the line gear before checking out some presentations, shopping areas, informational tables, and late night 21+ socials. You will also be XC skiing around the Ice Fest showcase of professional climbers and adventurers. Bring your winter-wonderland energy along for this jam packed weekend! Check out michiganicefest.com or their video for more info.

Thursday, February 9 – Sunday, February 12, 2023

Cost: $495.00

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

Cross Country Ski Day Trip
February 18, 2023 & Sunday, February 19, 2023

Register Here!

What a beautiful time of year to be in Michigan! Whether you’re from here, or from out of state, you aren’t a true Michigander until you’ve spent a day cross country skiing in beautiful Michigan forests. We will drive up to 2 hours to find the best snowy woods and head out to enjoy the beautiful side of winter. Cross Country skiing will keep you warm, and we’ll be sure to follow it up with some hot chocolate.

Two Trip Dates Available: Saturday, February 18, 2023 & Sunday, February 19, 2023

Cost: $60

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

Spring Break North Multisport
February 27 – March 3, 2023

Register Here!

The nice thing about living in a cold weather state is that people get really creative with what to do when there’s snow on the ground! Join us for a five day trip through the snowy landscape of Michigan. We’ll stop by the U‑M Biostation to do some cross country skiing. We will then hit the upper peninsula for dogsledding and maybe a visit to the Eben Ice Caves. Finally, we’ll begin our trip back south with trips to Hartwick Pines State Park and then Muskegon to try our hand at an Olympic sport: LUGE! It is going to be a wildly fun winter trip . . hope you can make it!

Date: Monday, February 27 – Friday, March 3, 2023

Cost: $645

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

Spring Break Smokies & Cumberland Island
February 25 – March 3, 2023

Register Here!

Head south this spring break for both sun, warmth, and sand. Start your trip by driving down to the Smoky Mountains to stay a night in a modern cabin before driving to south Georgia to stay at Crooked River State Park. In the morning you will take the ferry over to Cumberland Island, where you will spend your time hiking among old ruins, hunting for seashells with wild horses, and sleeping under the stars. We will hike up to ten miles each day while exploring this beautiful island for three full days before returning home. This is sure to be a spring break trip you will never forget!

Date: Saturday, February 25 – Friday, March 3, 2023

Cost: $675

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

Spring Break Caving, Smokies & Cumberland Island
February 25 – March 4, 2023

Register Here!

Head south this spring break for both sun, warmth, and sand, plus dark, damp caves! Start your trip by driving down to the Smoky Mountains to stay a night in a modern cabin before driving to south Georgia to stay at Crooked River State Park. In the morning you will take the ferry over to Cumberland Island, where you will spend your time hiking among old ruins, hunting for seashells with wild horses, and sleeping under the stars. We will hike up to ten miles each day while exploring this beautiful island for three full days. You will then ride the ferry back to the mainland to eventually drive up to Mammoth Cave to go on a deep cave adventure. This is sure to be a spring break trip you will never forget!

Date: Saturday, February 25 – Saturday, March 4, 2023

Cost: $745.00

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

XC Ski and Lakeside Stargazing at Dark Sky Park
March 17 – 19, 2023 & March 24 – 26, 2023 –

Register Here!

What a beautiful time of year to be in Michigan! Whether you’re from here, or from out of state, you aren’t a true Michigander until you spend a weekend cross country skiing, maybe snowshoeing, or even just hiking if there’s no snow, in Northern Michigan’s pristine native forests. Did you know that cold weather provides the best conditions for night sky viewing (and bonding with new friends!)? We will visit Michigan’s Headlands International Dark Sky Park, which offers a spectacular views of the northern sky. Join us for this trip featuring a cozy cabin, star gazing, hot cocoa, and the peace and quiet only the forest can offer.

Two Trip Dates Available: Friday, March 17 – Sunday, March 19, 2023 & Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26, 2023

Cost: $245

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.

All gear is provided. Activities will include biking, kayaking, hiking, and more. No experience necessary!

Please note, that First Ascent Trip participants are able to move their belongings into their residence hall prior to the start of their trip.

Check back to this page for updates on this year’s fall 2023 trips.

For questions, email advleadtrips@umich.edu or call (734) 764-3967.

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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)

Let us boost your teen’s summer with a healthy dose of fresh air, forests, and growth!

Recreational Sports Adventure Leadership Camps are packed with opportunities for campers to build courage and independence, develop new friendships, expand their outdoor skillset, and put leadership theories into practice. Campers (ages 13-15) can expect to walk away from a five-day session of Adventure Leadership day camp having engaged in hands-on, mindful activities that include bicycle maintenance, responsible climbing practices, and outdoor survival techniques – all through the lens of experiential learning and leadership development.

Our program is based out of the University of Michigan’s Adventure Education Center, where we invite campers to explore the property’s shaded woodlands, open fields, and peaceful Fleming Creek. Throughout the week, campers will trek and bike to local nature areas to learn orienteering, Leave No Trace principles, wilderness medicine basics, knot tying, fire building, shelter construction, and more. Paddling and challenge course activities will also be included to ensure campers hike out with the confidence and problem-solving skills to enjoy the great outdoors with an informed risk mindset.

Our staff are extensively trained in the philosophy of Challenge By Choice, and are ready to guide teens toward embodying authentic self-expression by establishing an inclusive and supportive space. Each day, campers will have the chance to expand their capacity for resilience through skill building, enhance well-being through mindfulness, and enjoy all the outdoor excitement Ann Arbor has to offer! By connecting body and mind with nature, campers can break away from daily distractions and pressures to live in the present moment and find slices of joy, thrill, and inner peace at Adventure Leadership Camp.

Registration information will be released soon – please ask your camper to fill out this application to be first in line to register for a transformative week of day camp. Only 18 spots are available per week, so submit an application to receive updates!

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

Cost is $329 per week

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