REI Outessa: Must-do Fall Women’s Getaway


Last summer I got to experience a day at REI’s Outessa Retreat, an all women’s outdoor adventure weekend at Powder Mountain Resort in Utah. This fall, REI Outessa heads east to Waterville Resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains for fall foliage paired with the ultimate ladies trip–and you don’t want to miss it.

Some of my Utah friends have already booked a trip to catch the height of New England’s fall colors at this resort, just 2 hours north of Boston with hiking and mountain bike trails, plus a stream-fed pond for stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.

mtb outessa summit rei

When I came to Outessa last summer, I didn’t really know what to expect. Going on my own, I thought it might be hard to find people to hang out with, but I quickly met a rad crew of adventurous ladies who I joined on classes about surviving outdoors, yoga, backcountry cooking, essential oils, and way more than I could have ever fit into a day.

outessa rock climbing

What I liked best about REI Outessa was that there was no judgment if you were new to an activity, which made it an easy place to try new things. So many ladies got after it on a mountain bike for the first time, and I learned how to (finally) make not terrible backpacking cuisine.

I also took on a beneficial survival class where I learned, for the very first time, how to make a shelter from a few items in your backpack that could save your life. From here I learned about using essential oils outdoors and took on stand up paddleboarding, followed by an outdoor happy hour with new friends. Not bad for just a day,r right? Lucky for you, you’ll have three days to experience all the offerings.

rei outessa hiking

When the sun sets, the crew gathers for an outdoor dinner, fire pits, and time to trade war stories of the day’s adventures. Our event featured a seafood boil served dumped on the table-style, and your group dinners will also have their own fun and flair. The weather cooled off by dinner’s end, and we spent the rest of the evening huddling around a campfire making s’mores. But if you’d rather have an adventure at night then hang around a fire, take on a guided nighttime trail run instead.

outessa seafood boil

Dining at the Outessa seafood boil

The REI Outessa Retreat is for women, making it the perfect girls’ getaway weekend, or a great place to meet new friends. $799 ticket includes all activities and experiences, food and beverages Friday breakfast through Sunday lunch, plus swag bag filled with goodies. All gear for activities, instruction, and chef-prepared meals are included. And there’s still space to DIY camp on site so you can skip commuting to the event!

Whether you want to get an adrenaline rush or keep your mountain getaway chill, there’s a class at Outessa for you. Don’t worry if you’re not an excellent hiker, biker, or paddler, Outessa’s classes build your confidence instead of taking you over your head.


About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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