Credit: Cara Peden

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The public enjoys Sierra Club’s free hikes numerous times during every week, but for those who want to go beyond, overnight or to remote campsites, it offers the Wilderness Basics Course (WBC).

After a three-year hiatus due to Covid restrictions, the ever-popular course is back to give you the skills and knowledge to confidently go hiking and backpacking in comfort.

As important is the fun and camaraderie that can literally change a person’s life and outlook as we enjoy our local trails and camps.

“I’m so thankful for the return of WBC, I missed it so much. WBC is back,” wrote Alisse Fisher who’s been there from the start in 2008.

Dates are from Feb. 15 through April 5, 2023, consisting of eight classes Wednesday evenings from 7-9:30pm, held at St Paul’s Episcopal Church 3290 Loma Vista Road Ventura, CA 93003. While the classroom is in Ventura, hikes, camps and enrollees come from both the chapter’s area in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Students will gain experience by participating in several outings including day hikes, a car camp and backpacking trips in our local mountains.  All outings offer students a choice of difficulties ranging from low-moderate and strenuous with multiple trip options.

You will learn and enjoy new skills with a dedicated and trained volunteer staff and meet new friends interested in the outdoors.  The course is presented by the Santa Barbara-Ventura Chapter of the Sierra Club and more details and registration are here:

The class features local experts in the field who will demonstrate backpacking equipment, wilderness ethics, wilderness first aid and safety, weather, water filtration, cooking, map & compass instruction, backcountry clothing, and many other topics.

Speakers typically include Search and Rescue, fitness instructors, outdoor book authors, first aid and hike leaders trained under Sierra Club standards honed over decades.

Class outings are scheduled on weekends for the following dates in 2023:

Feb. 18: Conditioning hike

March 4-5: Car Camp (overnight)

March 18-19: Backpack Trip 1 (overnight)

April 1-2: Backpack Trip 2 (overnight)

There are some restrictions due to Covid that you are agreeing to follow when you sign up for the class, they are:

~ Class indoors, face masks covering the mouth and nose is required.  Lecturers will be unmasked and socially distanced while presenting.

~ Vaccine or tests are not required for the course but note you will be potentially on a trip with individuals who may be unvaccinated.

~ Please stay at home if you are sick or have any Covid symptoms; make-up days are possible.

Covid policies are set by the National Sierra Club nation-wide and will be reviewed on Jan. 31.

That date is also important to get Early Bird Registration prices, so sign up now.

Discounts are available for Sierra Club members and for students (ID required).

Couples enrollment options can be applied to any two people signing up together for additional savings.

Students are expected to provide their own equipment for outings (backpacks, hiking footwear, tents, etc.), although WBC does have some equipment for loan and rentals are available through local outdoor stores.

Sign up before the 31st for discounts; note that a service fee applies for each electronic purchase:


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