Experienced outdoors-person? Never even tried on a pair of hiking boots? There’s a place for everyone to adventure, push yourself, and explore the woods, waters, and mountains of rural Maine—whether you’re into organized activities, or you just want to get out for a hike in the fresh air.


Outdoor life

Throughout the year, the Outing Club offers multiple weekly community excursions that vary from season to season. Our weekly events typically take place on Wednesdays and Sundays and explore locations on the island and in beautiful Acadia National Park. At least a few times a term we offer weekend-long camping trips. These trips give students the opportunity to get off the island and explore new parts of Maine, such as Baxter State Park, The Bold Coast, and The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Fall

Students paddling on a weekly outing.Students paddling on a weekly outing. Credit: Junesoo Shin '21

 

Student lead summit of Mt. Katahdin, Maine's highest peak.Student lead summit of Mt. Katahdin, Maine's highest peak. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22In the fall you can expect weekly hikes in Acadia, canoe trips, and kayak excursions. In this term, we offer transportation to and from the annual Common Ground Fair, with options to go for the day or to spend the night. We also hold our annual Mt. Katahdin summit trip, an opportunity for students to go on a 24-hour trip to hike the largest mountain in Maine.

 

 


Winter

Left: skating in Acadia; Right: winter camping.Left: skating in Acadia; Right: winter camping. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22 Winter camping in Northern Maine

 

Fireside Friday in Deering Common.Fireside Friday in Deering Common. Credit: Junesoo Shin '21

In the winter when the conditions are right we offer opportunities to go cross country skiing on the carriage roads, ice skating (on our ice rink and possibly on Acadia’s lakes), and winter camping weekend trips in northern Maine. Weekly we have a cozy Fireside Friday with snacks, handwork, and wood carving. 

 

 

 


Spring

Early spring hike along the Tarn in Acadia National Park.Early spring hike along the Tarn in Acadia National Park. Credit: Junesoo Shin '21

 

Spring Time Tea Time woodworking session.Spring Time Tea Time woodworking session. Credit: Anna Parsons '23In the spring, as things warm up, we begin to offer more canoe trips, kayaking in Frenchman Bay, and hiking, alongside our weekly Springtime Teatime, a spring continuation of Fireside Friday where activities are moved outside, weather permitting.

 

 

 

 


Leadership programs

COA outdoor leaders preparing for OOPs trips.COA outdoor leaders preparing for OOPs trips. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22These co-curricular leadership programs are designed to teach technical, leadership, and interpersonal skills through engagement in the outdoors. These programs require that you be here for all three terms and can commit to every training session.  The culmination of the programs is when students return to lead the Off-Campus Orientation Program (OOPs) trips for the incoming first-year class. We currently have three different programs; Sea Kayaking, Hiking and Backpacking, and Traditional Skills of Maine.

Sea Kayaking

Kayaking leadership program in Frenchman Bay.Kayaking leadership program in Frenchman Bay. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22

Sea kayaking is the ultimate way to explore the rugged coast of Maine.  Through this course you will learn kayaking techniques, rescues, navigation, on-water group management, and how to read tides and currents.

 

 


Hiking and Backpacking

Backpacking leadership program on the Appalachian Trail.Backpacking leadership program on the Appalachian Trail. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22

This program will start with the basics of Maine woods skills and bush craft, like cooking on a fire, axe and saw work, and basic camping principles. In the winter this program will focus on winter camping with classic cross country skis, sleds and snow shoes. The springs focus will be on modern backpacking principles, such as food dehydration and route planning. At the end of this program, participants should feel comfortable leading multi-day backpacking expeditions.


Traditional Skills

Traditional Skills trip to Donnell Pond in Downeast Maine.Traditional Skills trip to Donnell Pond in Downeast Maine. Credit: Morgane Saint-Cyr '22

Through this program you will explore traditional Maine outdoor skills that have been used to travel through the woods and waters of Maine for centuries. You’ll learn learn canoeing and winter camping skills such as paddling and poling canoes, sledding, axe work, fire skills, shelter building, and snow shoeing. 

 


Off-Campus Orientation Program (OOPs)

OOPs trip to Baxter State Park.OOPs trip to Baxter State Park. Credit: Aliyah Zweig '22

While it is not mandatory, we highly encourage incoming students to participate in COA’s Off-Campus Orientation Program. These are week-long, student-led outdoor trips in which new students will have the opportunity to get to know their peers, get a sense of place in Maine’s beautiful outdoors, and begin to discover some of COA’s educational values. For more information click here.


 

 

Outing Club stories:

  • NEWS
    Winter Campers Brave Bone-Chilling Conditions

    Packing gear through a snowy forest and sleeping in canvas-walled tents at -11°F provides the perfect start to winter term for an adventurous group of College of the Atlantic students.

  • NEWS
    Paddlers Race for Bragging Rights
    Moderate temperatures and calm seas greet participants in the outing club’s annual canoe race to Bar Island and back.
  • NEWS
    #RelayForCOA
    The first annual #RelayForCOA is a 44-point trek to inspire 44 percent of alumni to make a gift to the college. Join president Darron Collins ’92 and others for a leg or more as a hiker, bicyclist, or volunteer.