Dallas Sierra Club Outings
Everything you ever wanted to know about Sierra Club Outings
About the Sierra Club
Statement of Purpose
“To explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the Earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the Earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.”
More than a century ago, John Muir and a group of conservationists laid the foundation for an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the magnificent wildlands of the Sierra Nevada. The impact of the newly formed Sierra Club was immediate – and its efforts long overdue.
With more than 750,000 members, the Sierra Club is the leader in the grassroots environmental movement. Sierra Club members not only preserve our unspoiled wildlands, they also protect endangered species and help enact policies so that the air we breathe and the water we drink are safe for future generations.
The Sierra Club sponsors over 330 outings at the national level. Check out your Sierra magazine or the Sierra Club Web site at www.sierraclub.org/outings for details.
The Dallas Sierra Club
Dallas Group Outings
John Muir believed that if you took people out into our wildlands to see for themselves America’s majesty and beauty, they would work toward preservation and protection. This is still the guiding principle of the Sierra Club’s outings program.
The Dallas Sierra Club has an active outings program with over 120 outings per year. On any weekend you might find dayhikes in and around the Dallas area, car camping trips to state parks and wild areas, backpacking trips, canoeing trips, and family outings. And several times a year, we charter a bus and go hiking in Colorado, New Mexico, or Big Bend National Park.
Types of Outings
The Dallas Sierra Club sponsors many different types of outings:
Dayhikes – These one-day hikes are our most popular and common outing. They are usually held in or near the Metroplex but may be a few hours’ drive away. Check the outing’s listing for what you need to bring (usually comfortable shoes and a sun hat, but on some trips you may need boots, water, lunch, and rain gear). Advance sign-up is not required for most dayhikes. Exceptions will be noted in the outing’s listing.
Backpacking – The most common backpacking trip offered by the Dallas Group is the weekend trip to a trail in Texas, Oklahoma or Arkansas. You’ll be sent a trip write-up with detailed information. You typically leave Dallas after work on Friday and drive to the trailhead or nearby camping area. On Saturday morning, participants get acquainted at a predetermined location (usually the trailhead). After running a car shuttle (if needed), the group hikes most of Saturday and ends up at a backcountry camping site. Sunday morning, you hike out (usually getting off the trail between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM) and return to Dallas. We also occasionally offer longer backpacking trips. Our backpack trips are rated from easy to very strenuous. Details of our rating system are here. Advance sign-up is required on all backpacking trips.
Car Camping – These trips are usually just dayhikes that are farther from Dallas. You will typically stay at a state park or other public campground. You will need a tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and suitable dayhiking gear. These trips usually leave Dallas on Friday after work and return on Sunday evening. Advance sign-up is required.
Bus Trips – For over 30 years, the Dallas Sierra Club has offered some of the best bus outings in the country. Four or five times a year, we charter a 40-passenger sleeper bus with professional driver. These are three, four or five-day trips on holiday weekends. Our winter trip goes to the snows of northern New Mexico. Our summer trips go to the high mountains of New Mexico or Colorado, and our annual Thanksgiving Holiday trip goes to Big Bend National Park. The bus is quite comfortable by bus standards. It has multiple TVs and a DVD player so we can show movies. At bedtime, it makes up into bunk beds.
We leave from the Walmart parking lot (I-635 & Midway Rd) in the afternoon or early evening and stop for dinner or a snack en route. After arriving at our destination early the next day, we break into four to six groups. Most of the groups will be backpacking but some may be dayhiking or sightseeing. The group you are in will be predetermined before you get on the bus. All the groups will rejoin the bus on the afternoon of the last day and the bus will head back to Dallas, stopping for dinner and arriving back at Walmart between 3 and 7 AM the next morning.
To sign up for a bus trip, send a check to the bus leader. You are not considered a part of the trip until your check is received. Early sign-ups are given preference in bus seating and in trip selection.
Canoe / Kayak – We offer a limited number but a wide variety of canoe outings. Some of our trips are day trips on local rivers or lakes. Others are weekend canoe-camping trips that follow the model of the weekend backpacking trip. Other trips are week-long canoe-camping trips. While most trips are on flat water (including moving water), we do at times offer trips with class II and III rapids. Advance sign-up is required.
Bicycling – We offer a limited number of bicycle outings including road, paved trail, gravel trail, and a few off-road rides. Most are day rides. An approved bicycle helmet is required.
Service Outings – This is one of our ways to give back to the areas we use. Our monthly White Rock Lake shoreline cleanup takes place the second Saturday of every month. Check the outings list for details. We also do occasional trail maintenance and trail-building outings.
Family Outings – These outings can be of any type. They are designed for families. Some are suitable for families with very young children and some for families with older children or teenagers. A responsible adult must accompany anyone under 18.
Inspiring Connections Outdoors – Sierra Club’s outreach program is called Inspiring Connections Outdoors. We provide rewarding outdoor experiences for young people who might not otherwise get such opportunities.
Classes – If you are new to camping or backpacking, we offer a variety of classes to develop your skills.
Twice per year (usually in February and in August) we offer our Beginner Backpacking Class. These classes are followed by several backpacking trips suitable for beginners.
We also offer Wilderness Navigation and Leader Training classes. Check the outings list every month for new class listings.
How to Find Out About Outings: The best way is to check our website calendar often. You should also sign up for our Twitter feed. You can also get outings information via a monthly email distribution. Go here to sign up for the email version of the outings list and for our monthly e-newsletter.
Leaders: Trip leaders serve as volunteers and assume no responsibility above that of trip organizer. It is your responsibility to inform the leader of any medical problem before the trip. Trip leaders are encouraged to participate in training and classes to increase their skills, but they are not paid professionals. They will assist you within their limitations. It is the responsibility of the participant to be aware of any personal limitations before going on an outing.
Signing Up: Dallas Sierra Club outings are open to both members and non-members. Participants need to sign up in advance for most outings other than dayhikes. Some trips may require special qualifications and capabilities. To sign up, contact the leader, who will decide if the trip you are interested in is suitable for you.
Rules: Music radios/players and firearms are prohibited on outings. Pets are not allowed unless specifically authorized in the outings description. On trips that require advance sign-up, only those officially signed up will be allowed. Most backpacking trips are limited to 12 or fewer participants. Canoe/kayak trips are limited to 12 or fewer boats. Smoking on trails and in campsites is not allowed.
Cost: We don’t charge a fee for most Dallas Sierra Club outings but there are costs. You’ll pay your own gasoline (sometimes shared) and food costs (everyone is responsible for his or her own food, with a few exceptions). There may be additional costs for permits, camping, maps, etc. We do charge for bus trips. In addition to covering the bus and permits, most bus trips are fundraisers.
Car Pooling: Car pooling to outings is encouraged to promote fellowship, conserve energy, and reduce pollution. While Sierra Club leaders cannot assign car pooling, they help trip participants who want to ride get in touch with participants willing to drive. It is your responsibility to work out the details of the car pool on your own. Before you car pool with someone, you should agree on cost-sharing arrangements, meeting time and place, driving routes and stops, and what you are going to do if one of you wants to come back early or late. Car pooling is STRICTLY voluntary.
Waiver: All Sierra Club trip participants must sign a Liability Release Waiver before they can participate in a Sierra Club outing. Minors must have the form signed by their parent or legal guardian. Read a copy here.
Medical Form: Many trips will require that you fill out a medical information form. This form lets the trip leader know of any medical history you have that might impact your participation in the trip. It also provides valuable information in the event of an emergency. Read a copy here.