Outdoor Programs

Outdoor Programs offers you the opportunity to participate in outdoor educational experiences. You will be educated on essential leadership skills and challenged to be an active participant in your environment and in your own life. 

All Lees-McRae rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking programs taking place on National Forest Service Lands are authorized under a Special Use Permit by the Pisgah National Forest.

Outdoor Equipment Rentals

Students, faculty, and staff can rent a variety of outdoor equipment for free—including equipment for camping, bicycling, water sports, and land activities.

Equipment rental requests can be made through the form below. Rental pick-ups and drop-offs take place on Wednesdays from 2:30–3:30 p.m. Equipment can be picked up and dropped off at the Outdoor Programs office, which is located next to the Theatre Arts office. Learn more on the Outdoor Programs organization page on The Den.

Rent equipment


    Land and Camping Equipment

    • Hammock, straps, and tarp
    • Climbing shoes and bouldering pad
    • Disc golf frisbee set
    • Sleeping bag (30 and 45 degree bags) and foam sleeping pad
    • 2-person and 3-person tents
    • Headlamps and inflatable solar lamps
    • Backpacking stove–Whisperlite liquid pump stove and Pocketrocket canister stove (fuel not included)
    • Camping stove–2 burner propane (fuel not included)
    • Frybake cast iron pan (large and small), pot set, dutch oven
    • Cooking utensil set
    • Coffee press and kettle
    • Water filter
    • Dromedary bag
    • Portable folding cooler
    • Portable kitchen sink
    • Fanny pack, day backpack (24-28L), and backpacking (60-65L) with women's specific options 
    • Stuff sack
    • Group tarp
    • Bear hang kit
    • Compass
    • Camping chair and crazy creek chair
    • Trail maps: Pisgah Ranger District, Grandfather Ranger District, Dupont State Recreational Forest, Appalachain Trail (Davenport Gap to Damascus), Clingmans Dome Cataloochee, Brasstown Bald Chattooga River, Pine Mountain Trail, Mammoth Cave, Big South Fork, Grand Teton, Zion, Yellowstone, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon North and South Rims
    • Naturalist guides: North American Insects and Spiders, Weather, Trees of the Western Region, Animal Tracks, Edible Wild Plants, North American Rocks and Minerals, North American Reptiles and Amphibians, Pacific Northwest, North American Birds (Eastern Region), North American Mammals, Rocky Mountains States, Southwestern States, Canyon Country, Baja California Plants, Mexico (Birds, Trees, Tropical Fruits, Butterflies, Mammals of the Sea, Flowers)

    Bicycling Equipment

    • Mountain bike
    • Helmet
    • Lock
    • Bike lumbar pack

    Water Sports Equipment

    • Inflatable stand-up paddleboard and paddle
    • PFD (life jacket)
    • Dry bag
    • Fly fishing waders, boots, and pole
    • Snorkel, masks, and fins set
    • River guides: Smokey Mountain Blueways, French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers, Dinosaur National Monument, Canyonlands

Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT)

Interested in becoming a trip leader and taking Lees-McRae students into the outdoors? Gain trip leading experience, get paid, build your leadership skills, and explore the outdoors with others!

Trip leaders who have completed OLT have the opportunity to lead day through week-long trips for a variety of outdoor skills including, but not limited to backpacking, camping, hiking, mountain biking, bike packing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, and more.


  • Significant outdoor experience or Outdoor Recreation Management (ORM) coursework
  • Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certifications

Outdoor Leadership Training program includes:

  • Training workshops: Covers OP protocols, van driver training, risk management, and gear management
  • Apprenticing: Work alongside a trip leader on several trips learning the ropes and logistics of running trips. 
  • Skills Check-Offs: Begin checking off on a variety of technical and activity-specific skills so you're able to lead more trips. 

To sign up, contact Deana Acklin

Fall 2020–Spring 2021

  • Series Adventures
    Day Hikes, Trail Running
  • Day Trips
    Mountain Biking, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Whitewater Rafting, Fly Fishing, Caving
  • Weekend Trips
    Backpacking, Bouldering
  • Extended Break Trips
    Fall Break, Spring Break


Disc Golf Course

The 9-hole disc golf course on the Lees-McRae campus begins at the Mill Pond waterfall, loops around Williams Gymnasium, and comes down from Bobcat Way back to the waterfall. Each hole is a par 3 in difficulty. Discs can be rented for free through the Outdoor Programs equipment rental program
Learn more about the course



Lees-McRae is proud to be recognized as a Gold Bicycle Friendly University by The League of American Bicyclists. Bicycling at Lees-McRae is an ideal way to get around, whether for exercise or transportation.


  • Lees-McRae offers the nation's only collegiate Cycling Studies minor.
  • The Lees-McRae Division I Men’s and Women’s Cycling Team holds 10 team national titles in various disciplines as well as 59 individual national titles.
  • Lees-McRae is one of the few college campuses to have held both national and conference mountain biking competitions.
  • Great Value Colleges ranked Lees-McRae as of one of the 50 best bike-friendly colleges in the U.S. 
  • Lees-McRae was named a top U.S. college for mountain bikers by SingleTracks.
  • Campus bike registration is coming this Spring 2021.



    Bike Safety

    In North Carolina, traffic laws treat bicycles as vehicles and bicyclists as drivers of vehicles. Sharing busy roads with motorists is easier when you ride legally and predictably.

    North Carolina law requires that when riding at night on any public street, public vehicular area, or public greenway, that bicyclists have a reflector on the rear AND a front and rear light, both visible from 300 feet. Reflective clothing that is bright and visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear is an alternative option to a rear light.

    Please bike responsibly by respecting pedestrians, riding with traffic, signaling turns, being visible, riding no more than two abreast, and maintaining your equipment. And don’t forget: always wear your helmet!

    For more safety tips:


    C.R.A.N.K. Crew

    Check back for updates on this newly formed campus-wide cycling organization comprised of students, faculty, and staff. The acronym (C.R.A.N.K.) stands for community, riding, advocacy, nature, and knowledge. Preliminary initiatives include co-ed and women’s only bike maintenance clinics, adult and youth cycling safety clinics, and campus improvement projects.


    Bike Rentals

    Our mission is to promote sustainability on campus and connection to the outdoors by growing the bicycle culture and making bikes easily accessible at Lees-McRae College. We contribute to this culture by providing a bicycle to any student who is in need of a bike for recreational activities or for commuting (while supplies last).

    Need to know:

    • Bike rentals are for students, faculty, and staff only.
    • All of our bikes are mountain bikes.
    • Rentals are FREE, however, any equipment returned later than the stated due date, will be charged a “late return fee” of $5 per day.
    • Any equipment not returned, or returned in an unacceptable condition will be charged up to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for replacement.
    • We offer bike locks, helmets, and lumbar packs to rent for FREE.
    • Bikes can be rented through the Outdoor Programs Equipment Rental Form listed on our organization page on The Den.

    Local and Lees-McRae Amenities and Trails


    Classes and Certifications


    Adult and Children’s Safety Clinics


    Local Bike Shop

Keep Exploring!

Interested in learning how to make the outdoors part of your academic experience on campus? Check out the Outdoor Recreation Management program.

Want to take your adventures further by competing on our competitive climbing or ski and snowboard team? Explore these opportunities on our athletics website.

Contact Us

Melanie Hulbert
Vice President for Student Affairs


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