What we're about

NOTE: After 15 months on hiatus due to COVID-19, the Sierra Club has resumed in-person outings as of July 6, 2021. To ensure the health and safety of our leaders and participants, the Sierra Club has established additional protocols to remain in effect while CDC COVID-19 guidance is still in place. Details can be found at the bottom of this message.

Our outings are planned and led by the Thomas Hart Benton (http://missouri.sierraclub.org/thb/), Kanza (http://kansas.sierraclub.org/kanza-group/) and Wakarusa (http://kansas.sierraclub.org/wakarusa-group/) groups of the Sierra Club (http://sierraclub.org/) for conservation-minded people. You do not have to be a Sierra Club member to join this meetup group or participate in the outings. Outings are not limited to the Kansas City area — the Ozarks is a common destination, for example.

Our outings leaders are Sierra Club volunteers, and the range of outings is as diverse as their interests. Day hikes, bicycling, backpacking, paddling, and camping are common activities, but you might also find us picking up trash, watching birds, clearing brush along a hiking trail, crawling in a cave, or eradicating invasive vegetation. You can feel safe knowing that our leaders must be certified for outings leadership, including the appropriate first aid training to the level of the outing they are leading.

Because of the certification requirement, only our leaders can create outings. But please feel free to suggest nature- or conservation-oriented outings and maybe one of our leaders will make it happen.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, our outings are limited in size and we do not permit people to "just show up". You must RSVP here or contact the outing leader by email or telephone. When an outing fills, additional participants are put on a waiting list, so it is imperative that you change your response to NO if you have signed up but can no longer attend. Failure to do so keeps someone on the waiting list from taking your place, so repeated no-shows will be automatically moved to the waiting list at sign-up, and only moved to the active list if space is available the night before the outing.

We Leave No Trace (and that means a lot more than just carrying out our trash).

Children are welcome on most day hikes when accompanied by an adult. Contact the outing leader to determine if the outing is appropriate for your child.

Per Sierra Club policy, pets are permitted only if the outing description explicitly says they are. Service animals are not pets and are an exception to this rule.

Firearms are not allowed.

Outing leaders have the final word before and during the outing they are leading and may set minimum fitness, experience and/or equipment requirements for their trip.

We solicit contributions at many outings, which are used to fund the operations of the local group (printing and postage costs, outings leader training, etc) and are not tax-deductible.

Carpooling is encouraged among trip participants. The Sierra Club does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them. Carpooling, ride sharing or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among the participants.

During the sign-in process all participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the Liability Waiver before you choose to participate in an outing, please click here.

Don't have all the gear for one of our backpacking trips? No problem, we have some available for loan (http://missouri.sierraclub.org/thb/outings/ELL/index.html) to Sierra Club members for our local outings.



Group size limited to 10 participants per leader (including assistants & guides) on all outings
Those who are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not attend the outing
Participants must complete a medical form for overnight trips, as well as day trips > 1 hour from a medical facility; this form is for leader review and must be kept confidential


Masks are required for indoor close quarters (vehicles, restaurants, visitor centers, etc.) and for unvaccinated minors
Masks or social distancing are required for other indoor spaces (meetings, post-outing social spaces), irrespective of local rules and/or vaccination status
All participants involved in meal prep, cooking and cleanup must mask or distance, and clean their hands in advance; others must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from those who are


Trips overnighting indoors require vaccination / negative PCR test 72 hours prior to trip start
For other trips, neither vaccines nor tests are required
Participants cannot be rejected solely on vaccination status, nor have their status revealed

Upcoming events (4+)

Climate, Tribes, and Utah’s Red Rock Wilderness

Online event

The 30+ year campaign to protect Utah’s red rock wilderness has seen its ups and downs recently. The largest wilderness bill in twenty years was passed by Congress protecting ~10% of the eligible lands. On the other hand, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments both saw their protections slashed by President Trump – the largest rollback of public lands protections in U.S. history.

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is the flagship legislation for the entire Utah wilderness protection campaign. It is based on an exhaustive and regularly updated inventory of what public lands are eligible for wilderness protection. It’s consistently large congressional support in the form of co-sponsorships has been crucial for passing good legislation, defeating bad legislation, and encouraging positive action by the Bureau of Land Management and the White House.

In addition to preserving one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world its lands are also instrumental to addressing climate change. It would keep in the ground enough fossil fuels covering nearly 6% of the carbon budget established by the Paris Climate Agreement to keep us under 1.5% warming. The wild lands also draw carbon down from the atmosphere by sequestering it in plants and soils. Carbon, once in the atmosphere, remains, wreaking havoc for centuries. Keeping those natural places intact is essential to preserve and grow Earth’s sequestration capacity. Wilderness is also among the best ways to protect Native American cultural resources from looting and vandalism.

This is one of the largest remaining unprotected and wild places in the country. Please join us on the 27th.

The speaker will be Clayton Daughenbaugh – Organizing Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and volunteer Vice-Chair of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlands and Wilderness Team.
Clayton is the recipient of the Sierra Club’s William E. Colby Award, its top recognition for volunteer leadership. Prior to working as a conservation organizer he was for twenty years a community organizer in Chicago neighborhoods.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor America’s Redrock Wilderness Act today!!!

For more background, click on this visual & Interactive map from the Wilderness Society - Public lands across the country have a massive role to play in solving climate change. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/6b63ef9b0a914c61baa2dbdc94f65420?fbclid=IwAR3kLWBWeMq4cDYVSpBfzIhxF1g0valQqh1GW44VdqowOO4aJyOZVQyzr48

The Sierra Club is America’s largest & most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members & supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors & access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, & preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, & legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

Return to Kill Creek: Pre-Halloween Night Hike, w/ Hot Chocolate

Kill Creek Park Desoto KS

How do I get to go? RSVP on Meetup by joining the waitlist, and then by October 18-20 those going will be announced. This is only for approx. 10 adults, not minors.

On Sat. Oct. 30, 2021, 5:15 pm - 9:15 pm let's hike ~7 miles on trails & bits of sidewalks @ 2.5 MPH (that's quick, but not jogging, be sure this is conducive to your hiking level), taking several deliberate stops of 15-20 minutes to silently listen to and observe nature in different areas. Prior night hikes have come upon owls, coyotes, deer, and more.

All participants must believe they are in reasonable physical condition & experienced in hikes of this distance & elevation/terrain type. This outing is suited for folks already trail conditioned this season, or trail savvy and looking to return to fitness.

Start in the evening, finish at night, which should make for pre-Halloween fun. Each person brings a bright headlamp & fully-charged battery(ies) — turn on your headlamp when you need it.

Partially paved but mostly not, expect natural conditions, e.g. dirt, mud, rocks, slick sections, branches, roots, etc. There will be water crossings across shallow streams. It's forested and somewhat hilly. Bring the food, water, gear & whatever else you need (hiking poles or a staff for balance are helpful).

If you want hot chocolate, bring a cup and water and I'll bring a backpackers stove kit and some instant cocoa for all. Others can also bring stove kits, but let's use them responsibly.

$3 donation to the Sierra Club is requested & there are about 10 spots.

Parking: sat nav (GPS):[masked], [masked]


No dogs.

Prevent bugs & ticks from being interested in you with repellent(s), pants & a long-sleeved shirt + check for them afterwards; promptly addressing any you find on your person.


Here come the required statements:

During the sign-in process, all participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard participant agreement that you can read here, if you would like to read it before you choose to participate. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aeCU0qBkNbFAoU2X-eUKeg6_YxoVcSNk/view?usp=sharing)

Be sure to bring a personal 1st aid kit. (www.tinyurl.com/P1stAid)

Regarding COVID-19, a mix of vaccinated & unvaccinated people might be on this Outing, & we ask each person to be responsible + not participate if you’ve recently had any symptoms or exposure to an infected individual, or have COVID-19.

The Outing officially begins & ends @ the location designated by Sierra Club, i.e. the trailhead. The Outing does not include carpooling, transportation or transit to & from the Outing; each participant is personally responsible for all risks associated with this travel. The times shown on Meetup do NOT account for travel to & from the Outing.

Peak Week for Muriel’s Mums & Monarchs

The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

Check out the beautiful fall colors at the Muriel Kaufman Garden. The multi-colored mums and other fall blooming plants are a gift before the the cooler weather turns to the first freeze. A few last-minute monarchs are still migrating through the gardens on their way south and a little cat may be there to welcome you - see photos below.

NOTE - This is an "on your own outing" which means do this at your own convenience on whatever date and time works for you. Please RSVP and leave a comment and/or photos of your favorite things like “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...”

Sierra Club outings will open up again for group dayhikes but we need some new outings leaders to do that. If you are a Sierra Club member with an interest in leading outings, e-mail me and we will help you get trained to do that. There are many beautiful natural areas and state parks that we can explore, enjoy and protect as a group!

About the Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

Why America must protect 30x30 (w/ Sen. Tom Udall, Dr. Enric Sala) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4VmOchhp8o

Wichita Mountains (WM) National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Day Hikes & Car Camping

Wichita Mountains Doris Campground

How Do I Get to Go?

1) Read all of this announcement.

2) Join the Meetup waitlist & then complete/submit this form/survey, https://forms.gle/quNi7xNphF87nh5v5

3) Complete a little paperwork to be provided later & make the donation on PayPal. Pay campsite share on site.

A 59k+ acre refuge. Open grassland, rocky hillsides, boulder-topped peaks & narrow drainages; hosting bison, elk & deer. Here, natural grasslands escaped destruction as rocks defeated plows.

Thu 11/18 - meet @ 4 p.m., Doris Campground Group Site A (DCGA) basecamp. Approx. 6 ½ hours from KC.

Fri 11/19 - drive early from DCGA to trailhead (very limited parking). Backcountry hike w/ daypacks all day both on & off trail, going up & down hills, over rocky terrain, boulder scrambling*, & thru underbrush. Expect ~10 miles spread over the day. Return to DCGA to camp. We will take several rest stops throughout the day. And hopefully one on top of Elk Mtn.

Lots of walking on easy trails, but also more challenging terrain. So, only injury-free, geared-up, strong hikers w/ good balance & not bothered by heights or bushwhacking should RSVP. Charon's Garden includes boulder rooms (the lower boulder rooms, not upper - upper is way out of scope) with leg-powered scrambles up, downclimbs & through tight spaces. The hike of Elk Mtn includes boulder walking & light scrambling; using the established trail for the up mtn. hike & descent. Long pants (not shorts), good footwear + work gloves are vital, & hiking poles helpful for Elk Mtn. We'll look @ Treasure Cove & we'll find Spanish Cave.

*Scrambling means traversing boulders & rocky ground; not requiring ropes/special climbing gear. Class 1 or 2, w/ spots of 3 per the 1st rating system @ this link - www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/climbing-bouldering-rating.html


Sat 11/20 - Break camp. Drive to 40-Ft. Hole & Narrows early to hike. The outing ends after this, but consider what else you might do in the area on your own** There are many trails in the refuge + camping is available nearby.




On 11/20 we'll do mainly on-trail hiking, go off-trail down into/back out of 40' hole (a ropeless downclimb & up scramble), & overlook of The Narrows.

You provide your own camping & hiking gear, food & water. Typical weather - https://tinyurl.com/lawtonw

A $10 donation to Sierra Club is requested, & each participant shares the $88 group campsite fee.

Participation: 9 adults. No minors or furry friends.

Dates/times shown DON'T cover travel time to/from the Outing, just the Outing's start/stop.

The Outing starts & ends on dates & @ locations designated by Sierra Club. The Outing doesn't include carpooling, transportation or transit to & from it; each participant is personally responsible for ALL travel- associated risks. A mix of vaccinated & unvaccinated individuals is possible.

Approved participants are required to sign this standard Participant Agreement: https://tinyurl.com/PartAgr & should bring a personal 1st aid kit to the outdoor activities: https://tinyurl.com/P1stAid

Come prepared for primitive camping & toileting, should any restroom facilities be closed or distant at need.

Past events (427)

Photos (7,682)