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Outdoor Access for Everybody

From advertisements to Instagram, it’s de rigueur to see photos of lean and chiseled young men and women scaling new heights in the priciest of gear. For those who don’t fit into those clichés, it can feel like they don’t belong on the same trails. But in Portland, a growing number of community-led groups aim to prevent people from feeling like outsiders in the world of outdoor activities. Here are the community groups ensuring everyone gets a chance to experience the physical and mental benefits of the great outdoors.

Wild Diversity specializes in providing safe and welcoming opportunities for people of color, low-income youth, and those in the LGTBQ+ community to experience outdoor adventures. Events are centered around all-level hikes, multi-day and backpacking trips. The group even offers scholarships for those who can’t afford the costs.

The brainchild of Jenny Bruso, Unlikely Hikers reclaims the narrative of who can be called an “outdoorsy type.” The supportive, body-positive group welcomes anyone who feels underrepresented in outdoors culture, including people of size, people of color, people with disabilities and those in the LGTBQ+ community. The group hikes take it slow, welcome discussion, and leave no one behind.

Mexico native Jorge Guzman founded this group after realizing how his outdoor experiences in Oregon helped him finally feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. Through Vive Northwest, he works to increase diversity in the outdoor industry and connect Latinx communities to the outdoors.

Through outings, skill sessions, and climb nights at local rock climbing gyms, PDX Climbers of Color levels the playing field by eliminating the social and economic roadblocks that typically keep minorities from participating in the sport.

The Portland chapter of this nationwide network encourages African Americans to get outside to take better care of themselves, their community and the planet. Activities range from educational walking tours around the city to birding, fishing, gardening, skiing, cycling, hiking and more.

From easy around-town rides to more involved bike camping excursions, Friends on Bikes provides a supportive cycling environment for women of color, as well as trans and gender non-conforming people of color. No cyclists are ever left behind, and rides often include social opportunities like post-ride dinners or stops at cafes.

This national organization offers chapters in cities across the country. The Portland group aims to bring the “joy of cycling to all women, but especially, black women and girls.” Those interested in participating can join the closed Facebook group to find out about upcoming events.

This women’s cycling club, which is LGBTQAI+ inclusive, offers both recreational cycling and competitive racing experiences. Every Saturday riders of all levels are welcome to meet up with members for two-hour rides around the city.

Whether you’re just getting into cycling or training for a century, Ride Like a Girl offers female-centric group rides every month for a range of fitness levels.

On this group’s Monday night bike rides, anyone who identifies as a woman or who is gender non-binary can meet fellow cyclists, get some exercise and get familiar with bike routes around the city.

Active for over 100 years, this group aims to make hiking and mountain climbing accessible for all ages, skills and fitness levels, with over 700 guided hikes and over 350 guided climbs offered each year. And its youth outreach program works with local organizations to introduce kids to climbing.