Joe Kanzangu is an outdoor-enthusiast, explorer, writer, and actor based in NYC and Denver. Catch him surfing and looking for mountains to traverse on Instagram.
Ed Note: This article is ever evolving. Help us highlight more BIPOC outdoor meet ups and events in North America—send suggestions to hello @ fieldmag dot com. Thank you!
A part of normalizing Blackness in all spaces, including the outdoors, is highlighting the connective experiences servicing our communities. Participating in adventure activities can be intimidating when you don’t see yourself reflected in the culture at large, though, and it’s even harder to know where to start if you're new to the scene. Luckily, there’s adventure all around us: Whether it be in the wilderness at our national or state parks, or closer to home at your local city's public green space, there are Black-led groups and collectives stewarding events for Black people and BIPOC in nature. It's our hope that this periodically updated list of such events and activities, with important info such as location and timing, can help break down any barriers preventing Black and BIPOC people from getting outdoors.
Of course, this list isn’t the full depiction or scope of what being Black in nature looks like. Being Black isn’t limited to one month, or even to this list. Our expressions and our connection to the natural environment comes in many forms. These outdoor, community-focused events, organized by and for Black people throughout the year, are just a few examples. Repairing centuries of communal and societal disenfranchisement requires collective support, and these events provide opportunities to build new relationships, traditions, and expressions in reconnecting with the natural world—and each other.
Integral to this way of living is community. No matter our cultural background, it’s important to connect, learn, and grow in the places we call home. America is home to many groups who have been systematically limited in experiencing America, and it’s time we actively focused on rebuilding what it means to explore and adventure here. These nature-based events are centered in restorative and transformative elements that produce Black joy in its boundless enthusiasm. It’s time we all had the liberties and access to explore trails, go climbing, find mushrooms, group camp, fish, ski, and surf in perpetuity. We should always feel safe to have a park day without the worry of cops being called.
Also See: 60+ Black, Indigenous & POC Outdoor Organizations to Support
Camping | Atlanta, Georgia
A nurturing space for Black folks to camp, connect through activities, music, and games and participate in mindful breathwork and meditation. “Atlanta’s most heartfelt camping experience.”
When: May 2023 and throughout the summer season
BIPOC Climbing Collective
Climbing | New York, NY
A nourishing, all skill level, climbing meet-up happening in Gowanus, Harlem, and Long Island City. There’s no cost to join the collective, and members receive a discount at The Cliffs climbing and fitness gym.
When: 1st Friday at LIC Cliffs, 2nd Friday at Gowanus Cliffs, 3rd Thursday at Harlem Cliffs
Sending in Color
Climbing | Chicago, IL
Free or discounted climbing meetups that function as “giant climbing parties.” In the past, the group has partnered with Arc’teryx in providing members first time experiences at the Michigan Ice Fest.
When: Intermittent Saturday climbing meetups, participation in various festivals; follow Sending in Color on Instagram to stay up to date.
Slide Thru Saturdays by Ski Noir 5280
Snowboarding, Skiing | Colorado
Introduces Black people to skiing and snowboarding with events throughout the ski season (November-May). The functions include free bus ride, free lessons, free lift tickets, free rental gear, and aprés. No matter your culture, this group is keen on sharing what it means to find joy in the mountains.
When: Winter season; check their Instagram for upcoming events.
Snowboarding | Various Ski Areas
Provides Black snowboarders with access to space so that they can be introduced to the sport and build community within snow sports. Ayee Esse has also partnered with Arc’teryx to set up climbing and culture experiences in New York and Chicago throughout the year.
When: March 31st @ Woodward Park Park City, Utah; Spring Event @ Palisades Tahoe Olympic Valley, CA, and intermittent throughout the winter season.
Surf, Skate, Community | Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY
Station RBNY is a Black-owned, community-centered surf and skate shop that hosts periodic events such as art experiences, surf lessons, concerts, community conversations, stoke movie screenings, and your everyday surf talk with Nigel.
When: Events happen intermittently. Stop by the shop or check Station RBNY IG to see what’s coming up.
Ebony Beach Club
Surf | Los Angeles, CA
Cultural immersion layered with free surf lessons, music, and a showcase of the surf renaissance in America. Ebony Beach Club is an integral experience reconnecting the culture to the beach bounce.
When: February—Peace Paddle; Summer-Fall—beach bounces; stay up to date via Instagram.
Ride for Racial Justice
Cycling | Colorado + Nationwide
Ride for Racial Justice is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to resources, education, community, and leadership within the sport of cycling for BIPOC riders. Ride for Racial Justice frequently organizes group rides all around the country
When: Check Ride for Racial Justice's events page for an up-to-date list of planned rides.
Black History Bike Ride
Road biking, cycling| Austin, Texas
A series of community bike rides honoring sites in the city’s Black history. The event encapsulates the importance of localized Black history and celebrates Black Civil Rights activists.
When: February—yearly social ride for Black History Month; March—Black Women’s History Ride; June—Juneteenth Social Ride; October—Black Music History Ride. Check Instagram for up-to-date event info, timing, and RSVP.
Outdoor Yoga, Meditation, Movement | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A mindful movement in healing for Black people. Grounding practices that provide a safe space for Black people outdoors. Classes are free.
When: Spring, summer and fall programs and classes. Keep an eye out for future pop-ups and collaborations with Arc’Teryx, Soho House, and more. Sign up for emails for event timing and info.
Outdoor Comedy Shows | Brooklyn, NY & Elsewhere
A donation-based comedy show in nature. Hosted by Teklai and showcasing comics such as Devon Walker (SNL), Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show), and Marie Faustin (Comedy Central). Come for the laughs and stay for the music and dancing.
When: A monthly show in the spring, summer, and fall with pop-ups in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Sign up for their email newsletter for dates.