The OPRA staff is committed to providing outstanding programs to the community.
Learn respect for self, others, and the environment while enjoying a fun and educational experience with our programs. Our goal is to manage risks and offer rewarding experiences in flatwater and whitewater kayaking; rafting and canoeing; rock and top rope climbing; hiking; backpacking; show shoeing; cross-country and downhill skiing; and backcountry navigation.
Most programs are geared to beginner and intermediate skill levels.
Weekend outdoor trips are a great way to sample the many types of activities OPRA has to offer.
During fall, winter and spring breaks, extended trips are offered. These have included rock climbing in Greece, Spain, Mexico and Kentucky; paddling in North Carolina, Texas, and the Grand Canyon; skiing in Canada and Vermont; and canoeing in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.
OPRA also regularly offers training and certifications for First Aid, Adult CPR, and Wilderness First Aid.
Note: You must fill out the waiver, click submit, and then scroll down to select your program to register and pay.
Hampshire students save $10 off all trip prices when using your Hampshire College email address and discount code HCSTUWEB.
* For more costly trips, scholarship funding is available. Interested individuals can apply for funding through the OPRA Scholarship Fund.
- Participants who notify the OPRA instructor 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.
Sample of Classes
(not all are offered each semester)
Outdoor Adventure Sampler
This course offers students the chance to experience many activities that make up outdoor adventure. In the fall semester, students will canoe, sea kayak, climb, hike, experience outdoor cooking, dirt road biking or mountain biking, martial arts, caving. Spring semester students will cross country ski, snowshoe, hike, climb, cave, canoe, forage for wild edibles & more.
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.
Have you ever dreamed of hiking or backpacking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or another long distance trail? Thru-hiking is the activity of long distance overnight travel on foot, carrying a backpack and following an established trail or route. We will learn through practice, collaboration and reflection how to select and use gear for long distance hiking, plan and prepare meals, travel ethically, plan and find routes, and stay safe on the trail. We will hike sections of the Robert Frost Trail and New England Trail, including 3 weekend overnight trips culminating in a final student-planned 3-day hike in November.
This course is for active runners who would like to expand their runs to include the trails. Each session will include instruction and discussion of trail running skills and then put those skills to work with a trail run. The intensity of the runs will be determined by the group's ability with the goal of finding a suitable pace for everyone.
Survival living is the practice of staying alive in the outdoors under harsh, inhospitable, unforgiving or unfamiliar conditions, terrain, weather or climate. Students will practice winter camping and shelter building, orienteering, and the use of fire. Also night hiking and backcountry travel on foot, cross country skis and snowshoes. Students will go on 3 overnight trips, culminating in a final 3 day solo.
Trail Maintenance & Restoration
Participants in this course will inspect, assess and document trail conditions on publicly accessible lands near campus and in the Hampshire woods. Participants will clear trails of blowdown debris, maintain accessible trail widths, and address wet, damaged or eroded areas through trail relocations, dirtwork, stonework or woodwork. Participants will use saws, loppers and other hand tools.
Explore the area while searching for wild edible plants. Learn plant identification: ethical harvesting techniques; backcountry cooking, fires, and preserving will also be covered.