Outdoor Programs

The OPRA staff is committed to providing outstanding services and programs to the community. Learn respect for self, others, and the environment while enjoying a fun and educational experience on our worldwide trips.

Our primary goal is to manage risks to offer rewarding experiences in flatwater and whitewater kayaking; rafting, canoeing, rock and top rope climbing; hiking; backpacking; show shoeing; cross country and downhill skiing; and backcountry navigation. Activities cater to beginner and intermediate skill levels.


Outdoor Adventure Sampler

This course offers students the chance to experience many activities that make up outdoor adventure. Students will canoe, sea kayak, climb, hike, experience outdoor cooking, martial arts, ropes course, caving, and group initiatives.

Beginning and Intermediate Whitewater Kayaking

Beginning-level paddlers learn the fundamentals of whitewater kayaking in the pool and on local rivers. The intermediate class, for students with previous whitewater kayaking experience, runs through the end of October and helps students improve their whitewater techniques on class 2-3 water.

Top Rope Climbing

This course is for beginning and experienced rock climbers, covering basic safety techniques, rope work, knots, and climbing techniques. We will visit many local climbing areas, as well as Hampshire College's indoor climbing wall. Beginners are especially welcome.

Introduction to Sport Climbing

This is a style of climbing in which a person uses fixed protection to lead climb. This class will focus on teaching the technical skills and training techniques for better climbing. Students must have strong rope climbing skills before advancing to sport climbing. Perfect for experienced rock climbers wanting to learn to lead climb; this is prerequisite for the spring traditional lead climbing class. 

Wild Foods

Explore the area while searching for wild, edible plants. Learn plant identification, ethical harvesting techniques; backcountry cooking, fires, and preserving will also be covered.

More information about classes is available on TheHub, and CEL-1 credit is available.

Outdoor Trips

Weekend outdoor trips are a great way to sample the many types of activities OPRA has to offer! During winter and spring breaks, more extended trips are offered. These have included rock climbing in Greece, Spain, and Mexico; paddling in North Carolina, Texas, and the Grand Canyon; skiing in Canada and the United States; and canoeing in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. 

Weekend Trips

Date Trip/Activity Cost
9/9/17 Whitewater Rafting on Deerfield River $15*
9/9/17 Whale Watch: Cape Ann $35*
9/10/17 Outdoor Rock Climbing: Pioneer Valley $15*
9/16/17 Kayaking: Farmington River $15*
9/16/17 Canoe Tully Lake $15*
9/16/17 Hampshire Fun Hike: Mt. Holyoke Range 15*
9/17/17 Bike and Brunch: Pioneer Valley $15*
9/23/17 Kayaking: West River $15*
9/24/17 Queer Canoe Trip: Tully Lake $15*
10/1/17 Whitewater Rafting: Deerfield River $15*
10/15/17 Rock Climbing: Pioneer Valley $15*
10/15/17 Horseback Riding: Mt. Toby Stables $50*
10/29/17 Mountain Biking: Pioneer Valley $15*

* Discount of $10 off trip prices for Hampshire students if you use your Hampshire College email address and discount code HCSTUDENT when making payment on the OPRA website. This discount offer is not valid for OPRA's training classes and certification courses offered on the website. 

Cancellation Policy

  • Participants who notify the OPRA instructor or Teamsports Administrator prior to the registration deadline will be refunded trip/class payment.
  • Hampshire students who cancel after the registration deadline or do not attend the day of the trip/class will not be refunded payment and an additional $10 cancellation fee will be charged to your Student Account.
  • For Hampshire faculty, staff, and non-Hampshire students, the trip/class payment is non-refundable.

All OPRA events are substance-free.

Winter Break Trip 

Costa Rica Tropical Adventures and Ecology: Jan. 5-20, 2018

National Geographic describes the Osa as “one of the most biologically intense places on Earth” and it’s probably the best preserved tropical rainforest jungle in the Northern Hemisphere. The number and diversity of plant and animal species is astounding.

Sea Kayak trip on the Golfo Dulce

  • *Kayak with dolphins and in mangrove estuaries rich with wildlife
  • *Snorkel in tropical waters

Hiking in lowland tropical rainforest on the Osa Peninsula

  • *Learn about low land tropical ecology on rain forest trails
  • *Toucans, Scarlet Macaws, monkeys, wild cats, sea turtles, and much more wildlife
  • *Hike in “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”

Sustainability and Ecotourism

  • *Camp out at remote eco lodges
  • *Visit a chocolate farm to learn about agricultural tourism

Hampshire students: $1,600 (DO NOT use Hampshire student discount code); non-Hampshire: $1,800 (price includes flights from SanJose to Puerto Jimenez, approx. $200). Does not include international airfare (approx. $350 from Hartford to SanJose). Registration, using debit or credit, and additional information on TeamSports.

Trip grants are available for Hampshire College financial aid recipients only. The OPRA Scholarship Fund was established to support students with limited financial means so they may take part in OPRA programming.

Apply for a grant

Trips & Activities
Sign up must be completed by noon the Friday morning prior to the trip.
Join OPRA for day, weekend, and extended trips.
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Outdoor Programs, Recreation, and Athletics (OPRA)
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002