The former Rec Pool Lodge
On La Rue Road, between The Colleges at La Rue Apartments and the Recreation Pool
Academic Year Hours
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Summer Hours
Mon-Fri 12pm-6pm
(530) 752-1995
Outdoor Adventures Page

Having fun is what we do best! A slack line was often setup outside of the old location.

Outdoor Adventures has moved from their old location next to Bike Barn by the Silo. They are now located at the former Rec Pool Lodge.

Outdoor Adventures is one of the largest university outdoor programs in the United States. They run trips and classes in a variety of disciplines year round. Part of Campus Recreation, students and ARC members get a special discount, although trips are open to the general public. Trips are somewhat cooperative in nature, meaning that participants will often carpool to locations and coordinate food on multi-day trips. They offer a wide variety trips every weekend as well as certain types of night classes and longer trips during vacation periods. While most trips require participants to be 18 years or older Outdoor Adventures offers fun for all ages, including youth programs and trips that are held during the summer.

They also have a great Rental Center where you can rent most types of equipment that you'd need to do one of the trips on your own, for a reasonable price. They don't rent downhill skis or snowboards, but you can find telemark skis, bear canisters, sleeping bags, tents, snowshoes, backpacks, and a host of other adventure-related equipment. A price list can be found on their website, or you can pick up a form in person. It is also a great place to hangout - good music, fun people, a variety of books, picnic tables outside and comfy couches inside.

Twice a year on the third Thursday of October and April, Outdoor Adventures sponsors an annual Equipment Swap at which you can get some fantastic deals on new and used equipment - just be sure to have cash!

Trip and class information and registration is available online at http://cru.ucdavis.edu, by phone (530) 752-1995, or in person.

Water Program


OA is one of the largest commercial rafting outfitters in the state. They hold several commercial permits that allow for nearly 100 people to go rafting a day and have a fleet of over 15 whitewater rafts. Outdoor Adventures utilizes expedition-sized oar boats to haul gear on longer trips. OA's rafting program is mainly focused on class III rivers, though they offer a few class IV and V trips during the Spring and Summer. Rafting Guide School, aka BGT, takes place over Spring break.

South Fork of the American River

Only an hour from Davis, this Class III dam-fed river is one of the most popular rivers in the world. It's a wonderful introduction to the sport and a great way for anyone to get out and have fun without having to drive far. The South Fork is a great river for beginner, intermediate, and advanced rafters alike. There are two different runs on the South Fork: the upper "Chili Bar" run and the lower "Gorge" run. OA rafts both: the Gorge is run in Spring & Summer Chili Bar in the Fall). When the water is cold like (April, May & October) OA provides wetsuits for rafters. Check in with OA for all the details of things you should and should not bring on a rafting trip. South Fork trips are available every Saturday and Sunday, April through October. Private trips may also be arranged, either on the weekend or during the week.

Klamath River

Klamath trips are three days long and thus allow you to experience a good mix of camping and rafting. The Klamath features rapids up to class III and is good for rafters of all levels. This scenic river is located in the beautiful and rugged woods of northern California. Bald eagle and other wildlife spottings are not uncommon on Klamath trips. Excellent food is provided as well. Klamath trips take place over the three-day weekends of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

North Fork of the American River

The "bigger brother" of the South Fork, this section is a step up in difficulty and is encouraged for intermediate to advanced rafters. Exhilarating Class IV rapids greet rafters during much of the journey and OA encourages people to have decent paddling experience before they sign up. Since trips are usually in spring and early summer, the water is quite cold and OA provides all rafters with wetsuits. The North Fork is strictly dependent on water flows from snow melt since the river flows aren't regulated by a dam. Hence, it is usually only runs in spring to early summer. After that, the flow tends to become too low for rafting. Exact trip dates vary from April to June.


This two-day trip is open to advanced rafters only as it is a Class V river. It is a 2-day trip; oar boats may be the only type of raft used for this river. The Cal-Salmon is given that moniker as there is another Salmon River in Idaho that is also popular with rafters, though in a far more remote location. The Cal-Salmon is run twice each May, water-flow and weather dependent.

Whitewater Kayaking

Brought back to the program by Jordy Margid in 2005, whitewater kayaking is an absolute blast. Classes are taught on the South Fork of the American River in the spring. This sport takes a fair amount of practice so it's highly reccomended to go to a rolling clinic offered by Outdoor Adventures beforehand. OA has a max student to teacher ratio of 3:1. Equipment that is provided on all trips: kayak, paddle, spray skirt, PFD, helmet, wetsuit and splash jacket.

OA provides access to the Rec Pool so you can practice your kayak rolling. No instruction is provided. Open rolling is every Tuesday night, April through September.

OA's Rolling clinic is a two-session course and open to whitewater and sea kayakers alike. OA provides individual attention and the equipment. Clinics are offered frequently on concurrent Tuesdays, April through September.

Open to all, this one-day course takes place on the Class II section of the South Fork of the American River. Classes are held April through September.

This intermediate course is also one day, but meant for kayakers who have taken the Level I course and have taken the rolling clinic. Being able to roll is highly recommended. Classes are held April through September.


Sailing is no longer offered at OA. OA used to partner with a campus department, to use their 40' yacht and offer educational trips to students. Trips took place in and around the San Francisco Bay.

Sea Kayaking

OA has a fleet of 11 single and 5 double Necky sea kayaks. Transportation is provided on all trips, with special situation for Baja. Sea Kayaking Guide School is in May.

Tomales Bay Day Tour

The focus of this trip is just to get out and have fun! Some instruction is provided (depending on what people want) but really you're just out there to explore. You'll likely be able to see jellyfish, sea stars, seals, birds, elk and lots of other wildlife. Trips are held a couple of times per quarter, year round.

Intro to Sea Kayaking

This class is designed for those who wish to learn the basic skills required to ocean kayak safely. The pre-trip meeting covers a lot of material such as basics of navigation, planning and equipment. The day spent on Tomales Bay covers a large variety of skills including strokes, bracing and rescue. Trips are held about every other weekend, year round.

Expedition Sea Kayaking

Similar kayaking skills are taught on this two day trip as on the one day Intro class. The major difference is that you will be camping out on a wonderfully secluded beach, so you will learn how to camp out of your kayak. This also gives you much more time to practice skills, explore the area and just relax. Trips are once or twice per quarter, year round. There is also a three-day option that takes place during winter - this simply you gives you more time to explore the coastline!

San Francisco Bay Intermediate Tour

This tour is great for people who have some kayaking experience and want to do something a little more challenging. Most of the time, the trip launches from Sausilito and heads out towards Belvedere and Angel Island. San Francisco Bay is a stunningly beautiful place to paddle. It can be a little challenging however. Strong currents, strong winds, boat traffic, fog and choppy water are all serious concerns. If conditions are right, you may have a chance to do a complete circumnavigation of Angel Island. You'll also get to paddle past some of the most valuable residential property in the world. This trip is offered once or twice per quarter, year round.

Lake Tahoe Day Tour

Spend a blue-bird day exploring the dramatic shores of Emerald Bay. This trip is open to all levels of kayakers and takes place during the summer.

Ahjumawi Lava Springs Tour

This three-day adventure takes you up north of Mt. Lassen to Ahjumawi State Park. A great place to paddle and explore the springs, cinder cones, and view some wildlife. Enjoyable for all levels of kayakers. This trip is offered over the three-day weekends of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Baja Sea Kayaking

Baja Sea Kayaking trips through OA are no longer offered due to travel warnings. This is a six-day trip launching from Bahía de los Ángeles. The drive is a little less than 2 days each way. The itinerary varies from trip to trip, but there are a dozen or so campsites that you could visit including some beautiful white sand beaches, a dormant volcano, uninhabited islands and protected coves filled with clams. The trip is not exclusively kayaking, as there are many opportunities to go hiking, snorkeling or just bumming around on the beach. You are likely to see sea lions, migrating birds, fish, sting rays and possibly some dolphins or whales. There are typically two trips over the winter break and two around spring break.

View of Bahia de los Angeles from half way up a volcano

Wilderness Program

Offering a wide range of activities, the wilderness program offers trips all over the state of California. Activities vary seasonally due to snow. Wilderness Guide School is in April.


Backpacking is an excellent year-round activity, in light of our prime location. Within a few hours, we have Pt. Reyes, Big Sur, Cache Creek, Mendocino, Mt. Lassen, Lake Tahoe/Sierras, and Yosemite.

Backpacking Adventures

Explore the back country and let the impressive scenery revitalize you. The course covers topics relating to safety and Leave-No-Trace camping techniques. Trips are designed for the basic-level backpackers, but most levels can be accommodated. Group camping gear is included and personal gear is available from OA. Trips are offered nearly every weekend, year round.

Introduction to Backpacking

Geared toward getting you on your way toward adventures of your own, this trip is more instructional in structure (i.e. how to properly pack your backpack, ten set up, etc.). A great way to improve your skills and get away for the weekend. Trips are offered several times per quarter during the Spring, Summer and Fall Quarters.

Wilderness Navigation

Learn the basics of finding your way through the back country with topographical maps, compasses, and the most important tool, common sense. Topics include map reading, on- and off-trail route finding, advanced compass techniques, Leave No Trace Principles, and what to do when you get lost. This course is offered once per quarter, year round.

Custom Backpacking Trips

If you are looking for a trip that we do not offer, then find your friends and book a custom trip through OA. You can choose the time and place that interests you most and OA will provide the group gear and our experiences guides to help lead you along your adventures. These trips are a great way for any level of backpacker to gain the knowledge and skills for back country travel.

Yosemite Photography

Spend the weekend honing your photography skills at one of the most majestic parks in the country. OA guides have created an intense itinerary based on years of trips, taking into account seasonal highlights - Fall foliage, Winter snow, Spring flows, and Summer flowers. Relax at the end of the day by camping in the Valley, cooking a heaping group dinner, and roasting up s'mores. This trip occurs only once per quarter, year round.

Fly Fishing

There are two courses on fly fishing, offered sporadically depending on demand. There is a 4-session class offered on Fly-tying. There is also a weekend car-camping trip to the Sierras where you get hands-on experience. Check for OA if you're interested.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a great mental and physical challenge. It requires thoughtful approach, balance, flexibility and the ability to think several steps ahead. Davis is close to some very good climbing within 1-2 hours drive. Rock Climbing Guide School is in October.

Beginning Rock Climbing

This class is an introduction to the challenges of rock climbing. The two-part class includes an evening session at the ARC Climbing Wall and a full day outdoors at Cosumnes River Gorge. We cover all the basic skills needed for technical climbing, including belaying, basic knots, and techniques for face and crack climbing on top rope. Shoes and all climbing gear are included. Trips are offered several times per quarter, year round.

Introduction to Top Rope

Take the next step and learn how to set up your own Top Rope. Guides will go over techniques for setting up a safe Top Rope then go have some fun and climb! Trips are offered a few times per quarter, during the Spring and Fall Quarters.

Multi-Pitch Climbing

Muli-Pitch Climbing classes are no longer offered through OA. Learn the basics of lead climbing and multi-pitch technique. It is strongly recommended that you have a solid foundation in climbing and/or have taken Beginning Rock Climbing or Top Rope before enrolling. Classes are held at Lover's Leap and offered once per quarter during the Spring and Fall.

Owens River Gorge Climbing

Spend you Memorial Day Weekend doing something, er, memorial. Spend three days climbing in the famed Eastern Sierras. Climbing options are limitless and can be tailored to your abilities. This trip is only offered Fall and Spring quarters. 

Winter Sports

Davis is known for being fogged in during the winter. The solution for those of us wanting sun? Head to the coast (backpacking or sea kayaking) or climb out of the hills and head to the mountains. Reach for the sun. The Sierras get around 30 feet of snow every year yet there are plenty of blue-bird days. Transportation is provided on all winter trips. Winter Guide School is in January.

Wilderness Snowshoe Tour

These great one-day trips focus primarily on going out and having fun. Light instruction in technique and winter travel is discussed. Trips often go to Castle Peak or Echo Lake. The OA armada of snowshoes are high quality shoes made by Atlas and MSR.

Snow Cave and Igloo Building

Fun yet practical, this course offers skills for any back country winter traveler. These natural-material shelters can be made for emergency situations when snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snow shoeing. They can also be used as a light-weight solution to winter-mountaineering tents. And, how many people can say they've built and slept in a snow cave or igloo? This trip is offered every-other weekend in the Winter Quarter.

Yosemite Snowshoe Weekend

Leaving from Glacier Point Road, these overnight trips are a great introduction to being comfortable while camping in the snow. You travel on snowshoes with heavy packs for a couple of miles to make camp in what is often a stunningly beautiful area - Dewey Point. It's definitely a trip you won't forget! This trip is offered every-other weekend during the Winter Quarter

Yosemite Winter Exploration

For those of you seeking a less intense experience then camping in the snow at Yosemite, you can settle for the creature comforts of car camping in Yosemite Valley. These three-day trips take place over Presidents Weekend and MLK Weekend. You'll still be snowshoeing during the day.

Intro to Cross Country Skiing

Travel effortlessly through the flat meadows and rolling hills of the Sierras. Instruction in cross country skiing is a great way to get in to the sport if you have limited skiing experience. OA uses very friendly (metal edged, waxless, slightly parabolic) skis. Trips often take place around Castle Peak but other locales are also used. Basic instruction in ski technique including kicking and gliding, going uphill, stopping and other fun stuff is practiced. This trip is offered every-other weekend in the Winter Quarter.

Mt. Lassen Cross-Country Ski

Probably the most intense beginner/intermediate winter trip that OA offers, Lassen National Park is a great place to test yourself. You camp in the snow each night, so gear and food choice is quite important. A typical trip has the group set up base camp about half way up the mountain. Day 2 is spent skiing up to the snow-covered Lake Helen, at the base of Mt. Lassen. The peak is too steep to summit with cross-country skis. Day 3 is an easy downhill descent to the trail head. This trip takes place over Presidents Day Weekend in February.

Ice Ax and Crampon Clinic

Safely learn the basics of using an ice ax and crampons in this one-day class. Before you try to climb a big mountain, like Shasta, get some formal education through a course like this. Then go out and practice, practice, practice. Ice ax and crampons are provided. This course is only offered once in the Winter Quarter, so make sure to register early!

Intro to Avalanche Safety

This one-day class is offered for the benefit and safety of the community. Take this basic intro class before you head out snowshoeing, snowmobiling or skiing (cross country, telemark, or Alpine Touring). A lot of information is covered in the classroom and weekend day session. If you plan on doing extensive winter backcountry travel, it is still recommended that you continue your avalanche education and get AIARE Level I certified, for your own good. This course is only offered once in the Winter Quarter.

Intro to Ski Mountaineering

Ski untouched pow. Escape the crowds. Save $79 a day by not having to buy a lift ticket. Earn your turns. See nature, not people. Push your limits. Whatever your reason, getting out of the resorts and into the backcountry has never been easier. Learn the tips and techniques on how to explore the backcountry on Alpine Touring, Telemark or Splitboards. OA provides the ski gear, you provide the beacon, legs muscles, and desire to learn. You must be a comfortable intermediate skier to take this course, as well as in good physical shape. OA doesn't teach you how to ski, they teach you how to take your skiing skills to the backcountry. The Into to Avalanche Safety course is recommended.

Healthcare Courses

Healthcare Instructor School is in October.


Outdoor Adventures offers two levels of CPR classes, taught to American Heart Association curriculum. Students should decide which class to take based on their needs (lay-person vs. professional).

Healthcare Provider (HCP)

A comprehensive course which teaches CPR, AED, rescue breathing, and foreign body airway obstruction for adult, child and infant patients. Class is 4.5 hours long. Renewal course also available. Certification is for two years. This course is offered about once a week year round.

HeartSaver AED

Focuses on CPR and AED for adult, child and infants. Slightly easier and quicker than the HCP course; it only takes 4 hours. Certification is for two years. This course is offered about once a week year round.

First Aid

HeartSaver First Aid

Does not include CPR. Includes basic First Aid used by lay rescuers in a professional setting, including teachers, camp counselors, and others who do not need a higher level of first aid training. Certification is two years. This course is offered several times each quarter.

Wilderness First Aid

A 16-hour course, this is the minimum medical requirement for OA guides. This course is great for anybody heading into the wild, whether it's kayaking, rafting, climbing, hiking or skiing. WFA alternates each quarter, between a full weekend or four, 4-hour weekday evenings.Certification is good for 3 years. This is offered once a quarter.

Wilderness First Responder

Taught by Julie Munger of Sierra Rescue, this is an intensive 9-day, 80-hour course for the true backcountry adventurer. Certification is good for 3 years. Re-certification is also available at the same time. This takes place every September before school starts.

EMT - Emergency Medical Technician

This is a medically intense course taught by a San Francisco Firefighter/Paramedic and TA'd by current UCD students. This course is taught on a semester schedule, twice a year. Lectures are 4.5 hours in the evening once a week, labs are all day, about one Saturday per month. This is a very popular course due to its high quality and very reasonable price. Registration is by lottery system, so make sure to arrive promptly at 9:30 am on the first day of registration. Sign-ups are usually late September and late January. The first semester class runs from October through January, while the second semester course is from February to June.

Guide Schools

A unique aspect to Outdoor Adventures is that they offer guide schools for each activity. Most university programs either contract out the guiding or have a generic guide school for all of their guides, who then must apprentice each activity. OA is large enough to offer sport-specific training. It can therefore be more thorough and comprehensive. Application will be available at OA's Rental Center in the weeks prior the guide school. Applicants may be called back to do an interview. Finally, the selected few will be allowed to register for this training. After guide school, "TAs" will need to get CPR and WFA (or WFR/EMT) certified, in addition to working as a TA on a few trips.

Rock Climbing

Applications are available at the beginning of the Spring Quarter. This course is two weekends and three classroom sessions.

Health Care

Applications are available at the beginning of the Fall Quarter. This course is two classroom sessions and individual testing.

Baja Sea Kayak

This is an internal guide school, where OA guides improve their skills by learning how to lead a 10-day commercial sea kayaking trip to Baja Mexico. This course takes place over Thanksgiving break and is one classroom session and 11 days in the field.


This is an internal guide school, which means that you must already be a guide for OA. Exceptions are sometimes granted, so definitely talk to someone at OA if you're interested. This course is one weekend and one classroom session.


Also known as Beginner Guide Training (BGT), this is OA's largest, most intensive guide school. Applications are available in January and due the first week of February. Participants stay at Camp Lotus during spring break, learning to guide the Upper and Lower sections of the South Fork. White Water Rescue certification is included; instruction provided by Sierra Rescue. This school has four classroom sessions and eight river days.


Learn the fine art of backpacking, navigation, and going light. Applications are available in mid September and classes start mid-October. This school is composed of two weekends and three classroom sessions.

Advanced Rafting

Another internal guide school, Advanced Guide Training (AGT) takes the step up to Class IV rivers. This used to be held on the North Fork of the American and the Cal-Salmon. In the future, it is likely to be held in April on the Tuolomne River, under an educational permit.

Sea Kayaking

The final guide school of the year, this course takes you to Tomales Bay, Bolinas, and SF Bay. It is taught in late May, but applications are available as early as April. This course is two weekends and three classroom sessions.


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2012-06-05 19:16:15   Make sure you double-check fees on the website before believing employees on the phone. —karinp

2013-02-13 00:43:54   Does OA offer any backpacking trips designed for more experienced backpackers? I've been looking for a better way to find fellow backpackers to go on trips with at davis, but I'm not sure if this is really the right place to do that —ZacMillersmith