The Fine Print

Reservation and Cancellation Policy


Our trips are open to all Sierra Club members. Membership is required for all trip participants 18 years or older. If you're not currently a member, you may include your membership application and dues with your reservation request. If you're using a credit card to make a reservation and you're not a member, you will be required to join at that time. Typically, a person under 18 years of age may join an outing only if accompanied by a parent or designated guardian and with the consent of the trip leader.

How to Register for a Trip

We accept reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. Please give some thought to your interests and preferences. Some trips are moderate, while others are strenuous. A few are only for highly qualified participants. Be realistic about your physical condition and the trip's level of difficulty.

Phone: You can register with a credit card (we accept Visa and Mastercard only) by calling 415-977-5522. Please have the trip number, your credit card information, and your membership number handy.

Online: You can register on the Web using our secure and easy online reservation system.

U.S. Mail: If you're registering for a trip via U.S. mail, you should fill out one reservation form for each trip and include all people who want to be considered as part of that trip party. (If you're signing up for more than one trip, please make copies of the reservation form.) The first person on the reservation form is considered the primary applicant and will be the only party member to receive reservation information, brochures, bills, and forms. Please include on a separate sheet of paper any addresses that may be different from the primary applicant's address. Mail your completed reservation to the address listed on the form.

Fax: You can fax your completed reservation form to 415-977-5795. You must include your credit card information on the fax.


Every trip requires a deposit for each individual on the trip (including children). The amount of the deposit varies with the trip price:

Trip PriceDeposit
Up to $499$50 per person
$500 to $999$100 per person
$1,000 and above$200 per person

We apply your deposit to the trip price when we confirm your reservation. All deposits and payments are in U.S. dollars ($). If you make your reservation less than 90 days before the trip starts, the full trip fee is due when you register.

Most family trips include lower prices for children. A "child" is defined as someone under the age of 18 at the time of trip departure.

If you cancel from a trip, you may be charged a cancellation fee. Please read the cancellation chart.


When a space is available on a trip and you pay your trip deposit, we reserve a confirmed spot for you and mail a confirmation packet to the primary trip party participant. (If you're registering alone, this is you.) Your confirmation packet includes three important forms for each person in the trip party. Each participant needs to complete the three forms when he/she receives them and return them to the trip leader within 30 days to get approved. (Confirmation is subject to approval by the trip leader: see approval process for details.)

We give you a two-week (14-day) grace period from your sign-up date to cancel or transfer your reservation free of charge. However, if the trip leaves within 30 days of your sign-up date, there is no grace period. After the two-week grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart).


If there isn't space available when you register, we place you on a waitlist, and your deposit holds your space there. As long as you remain on the waitlist, your deposit is fully refundable at any time. We assume you still want to participate if a space becomes available. We automatically move you onto the trip if an opening occurs.

  • If space becomes available and you are moved onto a trip more than 30 days prior to the trip start date, we notify you via U.S. mail of your new signed-up status, and we give you a two-week grace period from that new sign-up date to cancel with a full refund. After the two-week grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart).
  • If space becomes available and you are moved onto a trip within 30 days of the trip start date, we notify you via U.S. mail and by phone. You then have two (2) business days in which to cancel with a full refund. After the two-day grace period, we assume you still want to participate, and you are then subject to cancellation fees if you cancel (see cancellation chart).

Once you move off the waitlist and onto the trip, your acceptance is still subject to approval by the trip leader (see approval process). You should complete all participant approval forms when you receive them and return them to the trip leader, even if you are on the waitlist.

If your waitlisted group is a party of two or more, we may move smaller trip parties ahead of you in order to fill the trip. We generally only do this within two to three months of the trip start date, although we may occasionally need to do it sooner. For more information, please contact the trip leader.

Approval Process

All trip reservations are subject to approval by the trip leader. We mail a confirmation packet to the primary party member, whether the party is confirmed on the trip or is on the waitlist. Included in the packet are three forms for each trip participant to complete: the participant approval questionnaire, the medical form, and the liability waiver. Please complete all of the forms and return them to your trip leader within 30 days. You are subject to cancellation from a trip if you don't submit these three forms to the trip leader within 30 days of making your reservation. The medical form and liability waiver must be printed and mailed, however, the participant approval questionnaire may be emailed. All forms available as editable PDFs may be completed on the computer and saved for future use. We are looking into developing online forms, where possible, to streamline this process and reduce the use of paper.

The trip leader reviews these forms and makes sure that each trip participant has the appropriate equipment, experience, and physical conditioning needed for the outing. The trip leader will contact you if you are not approved for the trip. If you are not leader-approved, we will refund any trip fee payments you have made to date, or we can transfer them to a more suitable trip. If you have any questions about your suitability for a trip, you should contact the trip leader directly.


Full payment of your trip fee is due 90 days prior to the trip start date. If you pay your deposit by credit card, we will automatically charge that credit card for the final payment 90 days before the trip starts.

If you pay your deposit by check or money order, you need to send final payments by the dates indicated in your confirmation packet.

International trips require an additional interim payment of $300 per person six months (180 days) before the trip start date, and the billing methods are the same as previously described.

Please note: Your payments are due at the times indicated, regardless of your approval status. If we don't receive your payment on time, we may cancel your reservation, in which case you forfeit your deposit.

If you are waitlisted, no payment other than the required deposit is necessary. We will bill you when you make it onto the trip as a signed-up participant. If you made your deposit by credit card and you move off the waitlist within 90 days of the trip start date, we will automatically charge that credit card for the balance due at that time. If you decide to cancel within your grace period, we will refund you all trip fees paid to date. (See waitlist for grace period details.)

Unless otherwise noted, adults and children pay the same prices. Separate child prices for family trips are indicated where applicable.

International Trip Tier-Pricing

Some international outings are tier-priced. This means a trip's price is dependent upon the number of participants. Two prices might be listed for a trip, showing the sign-up levels associated with each.

Final billing is based on the sign-up level at 90 days prior to the trip start date. If, between final billing and trip start dates, the sign-up level goes up sufficiently to qualify for the low-tier price, we will apply the lower price and will process refunds on the trip start date for any differences in amounts paid. Once we lower a trip price, we will not increase it, even if sign-up levels drop.

Cancellations from trips where the tier price has changed are subject to our reservation and cancellation policy. All regular cancellation fees will apply to these reservations.


Our trip prices do not include travel to and from a trip's starting point. Travel to and from the starting point is your responsibility. The trip leader will provide trip rosters to assist participants in arranging their own carpools. On some overseas trips, you may be asked to make your travel arrangements through a specific travel agency.

Cancellations and Refunds

You must notify us directly if you need to cancel from a trip. You can contact Sierra Club Outings weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., PST, at 415-977-5522.

The amount of your refund is determined by the date that you notify Sierra Club Outings of your cancellation. Trip leaders have no authority to grant or promise refunds.

Sierra Club Outings regrets that it cannot make exceptions to the reservation and cancellation policy for any reason, including personal emergencies. The reservation and cancellation policy applies to all reservations, regardless of whether or not the trip leader has notified you of approval.

Trips Cancelled or Changed by Sierra Club Outings

On rare occasions, we must cancel or change trips. If this occurs, our responsibility is limited to a refund of any trip fees you've already paid. Sierra Club Outings is not responsible for airline tickets, other tickets or payments, or any similar fee penalties that you may incur as a result of any trip cancellations or changes.

Travel Insurance

We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover cancellation fees associated with a trip as well as airfare or other nonrefundable expense in the event you need to cancel; medical expenses incurred on a trip; and the cost of a possible medical evacuation from a trip. Travel insurance plans are available from USI Travel Insurance Services, although you are welcome to explore other options as well.

Feel free to contact USI Travel Insurance Services if you have questions on this policy or its coverage as Sierra Club Outings is not equipped to provide specific answers to questions on the program.


A transfer occurs when you move your confirmed reservation from one trip to another.

  • You can transfer free of charge if you do so within the allowed grace period (see confirmation).
  • If you transfer 60 or more days prior to the trip start date, we charge $50 per party (not per person).
  •  If you transfer 0-59 days prior to the trip start date, we treat that as a cancellation, and cancellation fees apply (see cancellation chart).

There is no fee if you transfer from a waitlist to another trip. Transfers are limited to two (2) per person. Additional transfers are treated as cancellations, and cancellation fees do apply. A complete transfer of funds from one confirmed reservation to another already-held confirmed reservation is treated as a cancellation, and cancellation fees do apply.


Substitutions are not allowed.

Medical Precautions

On select trips, you may be required to provide a physician's statement of your physical fitness. Special inoculations may be required for international travel. You should also check with a physician regarding immunization against tetanus, which we recommend for all backcountry trips and/or travel in developing countries.

Emergency Care

In the case of accident, illness, or a missing trip member, Sierra Club Outings—through its trip leaders—will attempt to provide appropriate first aid, and will try to arrange for search and evacuation assistance when the trip leader determines it is necessary or desirable. Please note that our trip leaders don't always carry communication devices (due to the remote nature of certain areas and lack of reception), and that emergency help or evacuation may be difficult to arrange. Costs of an evacuation and/or search (e.g., helicopter), and of medical care beyond basic first aid, are the financial responsibility of the ill or injured person. Backcountry medical aid is costly, and Sierra Club Outings does not provide this coverage for participants on any of its trips. Therefore, we advise you to obtain medical and evacuation insurance: you can usually purchase it as part of a travel insurance package. (See travel insurance.)

Dismissal from a Trip

At the trip leader's discretion, you may be asked to leave a trip if the trip leader feels that your further participation may be detrimental to you, the trip, or to other participants on the trip.

Items Not Allowed

Firearms and pets (except for seeing-eye dogs and other service dogs) are not allowed on any Sierra Club Outings trips.

Your Responsibilities

In order to ensure your safety and that of others on the trip, you are responsible for the following: Providing accurate and complete personal information requested for approval; carefully reviewing all trip information provided, and understanding as thoroughly as possible the physical and mental demands of the trip, as well as possible risks; properly equipping yourself in accordance with recommendations of the trip leader and Sierra Club Outings; respecting the customs of the areas/countries visited, avoiding breaking any applicable laws, and refraining from antisocial conduct during the trip; following environmental guidelines and regulations in accordance with direction from the trip leader; and always respecting the rights and privacy of other trip members.

Electronic Devices

Electronic devices may be used as long as, in the judgment of the trip leader, they do not impair the safety, serenity, or enjoyment of any trip member, or cohesiveness of the group.


Sierra Club Outings reserves the right to take photographs and/or videos during any Sierra Club trip, and to use those photographs and/or videos for marketing purposes for the Sierra Club. As a participant on one of our trips, you therefore are agreeing to let your image be used in such photographs and/or videos. Participants who do not wish their images to be used in this manner should notify the trip leader in advance.


 Time of cancellationCancellation fee per person
A60 or more days prior to trip start date (except as noted in "E" below)Amount of deposit
B14-59 days prior to trip start date (except as noted in "E" below)50% of trip fee
C0-13 days prior to trip start dateEntire trip fee
D"No-show" at the starting point, or you leave during a tripEntire trip fee


EYou cancel from a confirmed position within 14 days of when Sierra Club Outings receives your reservation. NOTE: This 14-day grace period does not apply if the trip start date is within 30 days of when Sierra Club Outings receives your reservation.
FYou are not approved by the trip leader (after that trip leader has received your approval forms).
GYou cancel within 14 days of a Sierra Club Outings change in trip date, trip leader, and/or trip price.
HYou cancel from a waitlist.
IYou fail to move off a waitlist onto a trip as a signed-up participant.

Have a great time! Our main goal is providing you with a safe, enjoyable, and inspiring outdoor experience.

Non-discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal laws and US Department of Agriculture policy, Sierra Club Outings is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Liability Release and Assumption of Risk

All Sierra Club outings participants must sign the Liability Release and Assumption of Risk document. By signing this form, you and your heirs agree that you will not hold the Sierra Club or its leaders responsible in any way for accidents or injuries that may occur on a Sierra Club outing. You will be asked to sign and return this form to the leader prior to your acceptance onto the outing.

You should understand that activities on this trip (or any trip of this nature) contain inherent risks, including injury, illness, and potentially death. Those who participate in this outing assume all of the risks and will hold the Sierra Club, its agents, and leaders harmless from any and all responsibility, negligence, actions, or suits of any kind or nature whatsoever, for loss or damage to property or personal injuries sustained during this outing. The Outing Committee, a volunteer board that governs the Outing program, regrets the need for this requirement.

The following is required of trip applicants:

To accurately and completely provide all personal information requested for leader approval; to carefully review all information furnished about the requested trip, and to understand as thoroughly as possible the physical and mental demands of the trip and the risks that may be encountered; to properly equip yourself in accordance with the recommendations of the leader and of the Sierra Club; to respect the customs of countries visited, avoid breaking any applicable laws, and to refrain from antisocial conduct during the trip; to follow environmental guidelines and regulations while on the trip, in accordance with direction from the leader; and to always respect the rights and privacy of other trip members. Please refer to the Reservation and Cancellation policy for more information.

Participant safety is our top priority. The itinerary described in the trip brochure reflects the planned route, however circumstances beyond the leader's control, including weather, may necessitate changes. While the leader's decisions will be final, your support and understanding are greatly appreciated.

Seller of Travel Information

California Seller of Travel—Registration Information

CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Florida Seller of Travel—Registration Information

Florida Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37115.

Iowa Travel Agent—Registration Information

Iowa Travel Agent Ref. No. 893