Welcome to the Outdoor Program 

Since 1966, the Outdoor Program (ODP) has helped the Portland State community to access and enjoy the great outdoors, build community, increase environmental awareness, and provide exciting experiences in new settings. The ODP provides a wide variety of opportunities including guided outdoor trips, workshops and certification courses, outdoor rental gear at affordable rates, and an indoor Climbing Center. All skill and experience levels are welcome. Whether you are looking to embark on an adventure or learn a new outdoor skill, join the ODP in exploring the wild side of Oregon.


Phone: 503.725.5668
Email: odp@pdx.edu


Outdoor Program Office - ASRC 180
505 SW Harrison Street 
Portland, Oregon 97201
Outdoor Program Office on Google Maps


The Outdoor Program Office is located in the Academic & Student Recreation Center (ASRC) on the corner of SW 5th Ave and Harrison Street. This is a separate entrance from the main entrances to the ASRC.


The Outdoor Program Office is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. for pick up and drop off of outdoor gear rentals. The office is closed Wednesdays for equipment cleaning.

Face masks must be worn at all times while in the Outdoor Program office and while interacting with staff. We recommend calling ahead at 503-725-5668 to check on equipment availability and reserve gear in advance.


  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 31

Outdoor trip group on a cross-country ski trip.

Become an Outdoor Trip Leader

The Outdoor Program hires and trains students to lead guided outdoor trips, rent outdoor gear, and manage our indoor Climbing Center. Most students join through the Wilderness Leadership Development (WiLD) program, a year-long sequence that trains and empowers students in an outdoor setting.


Workshops & Trips

Workshop Wednesdays

On-Demand Videos On YouTube

Interested in getting outside and learning some new outdoor skills? Check out the Outdoor Program's Workshop Wednesday video series. A new video will be uploaded to YouTube each week, with topics ranging from water activities and hiking spots to land acknowledgments and climbing locations. Get prepped and ready for your next outdoor adventure!

Outdoor Trips

After a one-year hiatus, the Outdoor Program is excited to bring back student-led trips during spring term. We will be offering a variety of free hikes that meet on the PSU campus at the Outdoor Program office (505 SW Harrison Street) and leave directly from there for the trip. View upcoming trip descriptions below. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, trips are only open to currently enrolled PSU students at this time, and there is a limit of two trips per term for each student. All skill and experience levels are welcome. 

Guided Outdoor Trips - Spring 2021

Being active outdoors improves focus, elevates your mood, and enhances your physical and emotional wellbeing. Participating in outdoor activities in a group setting also provides opportunities for social connection and engagement. Join the Outdoor Program for student-led outdoor trips that support your health and wellbeing!

How To Sign Up for a Trip

Trip Registration Opens: Monday, March 29, 2021

Trip Registration Closes: Wednesday before the trip date, or when the trip is full. 

Sign up in person at the Outdoor Program office, where you will fill out a medical information form and complete an authorization to charge form. If you sign up for a trip but do not show up, you will be charged $50 unless you have an acceptable reason for not attending and alerting Outdoor Program staff prior to 9 a.m. on the day of the trip.

Required Pre-Trip Meeting

All participants are required to attend the pre-trip meeting, which will take place remotely via Zoom at 6 p.m. the Wednesday before each trip. During the pre-trip meeting, participants will meet the rest of the group, learn more about the trip, review COVID-19 safety procedures, and have the opportunity to ask questions of the trip leaders. 

Accommodations & Gear

Most Outdoor Program trips can be easily modified to accommodate disabilities. Please contact the Outdoor Program for more information. Hiking gear—including boots, rain gear, and backpacks—is available at no cost, and will be discussed during the pre-trip meeting. The Outdoor Program offers Columbia rain apparel for all trip participants in an effort to make getting outdoors accessible to everyone regardless of ability to procure expensive gear.

Participants are required to bring their own lunch or snacks and water for guided trips.

Updated Trip Policies

The Outdoor Program has updated some of our policies in response to COVID-19:

  1. We will not be traveling in vehicles. Trips will start and end on the PSU campus.
  2. We are limiting group size based on state recommendations.
  3. All participants will be required to wear a face mask and self check for symptoms as outlined by the university in PSU’s COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist.
  4. Physical distancing will be maintained at all times during outdoor trips.

Student Vet Outdoor Fund

Current PSU students that are registered with the Veterans Resource Center receive a $50 credit each term to spend on renting outdoor gear or embarking on outdoor adventures. All regular rental and trip policies apply. For more information, please stop by the Outdoor Program office during business hours. *This opportunity is subject to fund availability and may change at any point.


For more information or if you have questions about our guided outdoor trips, please contact the Outdoor Program at 503-725-5668 or email Chris Bullard at bullard@pdx.edu.

Difficulty Level Descriptions: Easy: Relatively low to moderate physical activity; no previous experience needed. Moderate: Moderate physical activity and/or more challenging terrain; some previous experience is helpful, but not required.  Difficult: Good physical conditioning required. Challenging terrain  and/or environmental conditions; previous experience or technical knowledge is strongly encouraged.
Trip Name Difficulty Dates Time Pre-Trip Meeting Fee 
Terwilliger Day Hike
Saturday, 4/17  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.  

Wednesday, 4/14 at 6 p.m.

Free for PSU students

Caminando y Hablando (Walking and Talking) at Council Crest 
Saturday, 4/24  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 4/21 at 6 p.m. Free for PSU students

Making Art at Marquam Park

Saturday, 5/1  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 4/28 at 6 p.m. Free for PSU students

Hoyt Arboretum & Washington Park Tour

Saturday, 5/8  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 5/5 at 6 p.m. Free for PSU students

Council Crest Day Hike

Saturday, 5/15  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 5/12 at 6 p.m. Free for PSU students


Waterfront Bridge Tour

Saturday, 5/22  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 5/19 at 6 p.m. Free for PSU students

Trip Descriptions - Spring 2021

Terwilliger Day Hike - FULL

Saturday | 4/17 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 4/14 at 6 p.m. 

This trip is full; registration is now closed. Now that winter is gone and spring is in the air, let's get outside to make new friends and explore Portland's urban forests. We will depart from the PSU campus and make our way to Marquam Nature Park, which spans over 170 acres. Enjoy a physically distanced lunch at the trailhead on the mosaic covered steps before heading out on the Terwilliger Trail. Throughout the 6-mile hike, we will stop to identify trees and take in the views of Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood.

Caminando y Hablando (Walking and Talking) at Council Crest - FULL

Saturday | 4/24 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 4/21 at 6 p.m. 

This trip is full; registration is now closed. Caminando y hablando means walking and speaking in Spanish. This 5.5-mile trip features a walk through the southwest part of the city, followed by a hike to the summit of Council Crest Park. The theme of the trip is the Spanish language! Fluent Spanish speakers pueden charlar (can chat) along the way, and everyone will learn a Spanish vocabulary list of things we encounter on our trip. We will go through the list of words as we come across them on the walk, and will spend time practicing the words in a natural context. No Spanish language knowledge required, just a desire to learn and practice.

Making Art at Marquam Park

Saturday | 5/1 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 4/28 at 6 p.m. 

Spring is here! Join the Outdoor Program on a hike to our local Marquam Nature Park, teeming with spring greens and new growth. We will depart from the PSU campus, hiking into the nature park to enjoy views of the city and wildlife. But wait, there’s more! This trip is the perfect opportunity to channel your inner artist. While we are out, we will take time to do some sketching and make some art. Bring your favorite sketchbook and pencils if you have them, or use materials provided by the Outdoor Program. All levels of artists and hikers are welcome to join us on this creative outdoor adventure.

Hoyt Arboretum & Washington Park Tour

Saturday | 5/8 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 5/5 at 6 p.m. 

Explore the beautiful, forested hills just west of the PSU campus on this 7.5-mile hike. Explore the International Rose Test Garden, which is home to over 10,000 beautifully manicured plants. Further along the trail, discover  thousands of native, global, and endangered tree species at Hoyt Arboretum. Spring in Portland is one of the best times to learn about trees and wander through nature, taking in the beauty of the sweet-smelling blossoms that so many of our fruit trees grow this time of year.

Council Crest Day Hike - FULL

Saturday | 5/15 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 5/12 at 6 p.m. 

This trip is full; registration is now closed. Council Crest Park is thought to be the highest point in Portland at 1,073 feet above sea level. Join the Outdoor Program as we complete a 5.5-mile trip starting and ending at the PSU campus and culminating at the summit of Council Crest. We will take our time spotting birds and admiring local trees and flowers that the warmer spring months bring. Our reward for reaching the top of Council Crest will be incredible views of Portland, Mt. Saint Helens, and Mt. Hood.

Waterfront Bridge Tour

Saturday | 5/22 | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Registration Deadline & Pre-Trip Meeting: Wednesday, 5/19 at 6 p.m.

Explore Portland's Willamette River and learn the rich history of Portland's most stunning natural features, while also enjoying an intimate view of the city's bridges. We will walk from the PSU campus to the newest of the Portland Bridges: Tilikum Crossing. Once on the westside of the river, we will head north to the Steel Bridge and then cross back over the river to the eastside through Portland's famous Waterfront Park. With any luck, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom to accompany us as we complete this 5-mile tour around Portland's waterfront.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider, operating under a Special User Permit with the Mt. Hood National Forest. 

Leave No Trace Principles

All trips led by the Outdoor Program follow the Leave No Trace principles, which provide a framework for minimizing our impact on the outdoors, and being responsible stewards of the land. Trip leaders educate participants on these principles, and demonstrate ways to minimize the impact outdoor recreation has on the environment. 

Certification Courses

Campus Rec offers a variety of non-credit or credit optional instructional courses for its members that provide certification.

Wilderness First Responder Course

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the definitive course in medical training for outdoor educators, guides, search and rescue (SAR) team members, and others who work or play in remote areas. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical, including all of the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments. This nine-day course is provided by the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute; those who successfully complete the course will receive a WFR certification valid for two years.

  • Member price: $625
  • Non-member price: $725

This course is typically offered at the end of every winter term (during spring break).

For questions, please contact Chris Bullard at bullard@pdx.edu or 503.725.2957.


Custom Outdoor Programs

Are you a part of a student organization, department or team at PSU? Looking for a team-building or bonding activity where you can have fun and be healthy? Campus Rec and Student Activities and Leadership Programs have opportunities for you and your team to engage in service-learning, explore the outdoors or try a new workout or activity.

Custom Trips

The Outdoor Program helps PSU students access and enjoy the outdoors. One of the primary ways the Outdoor Program has done this is through outdoor trips led by student trip leaders at affordable prices. A trip of this nature allows members of a club, program, or group to have an experience in common that helps bring them together. 

The Outdoor Program has a variety of options to choose from depending on the size of the group, the length of trip requested, and the budget you have available. Trip cost includes all the necessary equipment, experienced trip leaders, and transportation. Some examples include:

  • Small group (up to 9 people), one day: Standup paddling, whitewater rafting, rock climbing
  • Large group (up to 18 people), one day: day hikes, snowshoeing
  • Multi-day trips: backpacking, sea kayaking, coastal camping, etc.

To get started, please contact Chris Bullard (bullard@pdx.edu) for more information. Due to the complexities of planning and staffing outdoor trips, the only way to guarantee availability is to set up the trip by Week 5 of the term prior to when you want the trip.