Women in the Wilderness: 40 Years of Women's Trips

  • Women pose for photo on the inaugural 1984 trip led by Letty French

Since 1984, women have been blazing trails, quite literally, with the first-ever Sierra Club backpacking trip exclusively for women. What started as a pioneering idea has blossomed into a transformative movement.

Back then, in the era of Reagan and O'Connor, visionary leaders like Letty, Frances, Carol, and Martha recognized the need for women to carve their own paths in the great outdoors. Despite initial skepticism, these trips quickly filled up, showing the hunger for women to connect with nature and each other.

Through these adventures, women discovered their strength, learned essential wilderness skills, and formed unbreakable bonds. As Carol Dienger aptly puts it, "There is something about women being able to help each other in a way that is very positive…"

Fast forward to 2024, and the legacy lives on! The "dream team" of Jenny, Martha, Ursula, and others are still leading the charge, inspiring new generations of adventurous women. From service trips to lodge retreats, the options have expanded, offering something for everyone.

Looking ahead, the vision is clear: more inclusivity, more adventure, and more passionate women stepping up as leaders. If you're ready to join the movement, to protect, preserve, and explore our wild places, visit sc.org/lead. Let's keep blazing trails together! 

Read more about the history of Women's Outings!