Students on a ORC Snowshoe Trip

About the ORC

Northern Michigan University’s Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) offers the opportunity for students, community, and non-community members to explore the natural beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The ORC leads many trips around the area ranging from local waterfall hikes, mountain biking parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and white water rafting class IV rapids in the Menominee River located in Northern Wisconsin. In addition to leading trips, the ORC also offers skill building workshops to help participants better understand the basics of rock climbing, backpacking, camping, snow, paddle sports, and more.

The Outdoor Recreation Center is located inside the Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF) near the climbing wall. The climbing wall is available for use by PEIF members, and anyone who purchases a day pass. Climbing wall hours are posted each semester on our hours page. Open climb, partner climb, and kids climb are made available for anyone who would like to attend. You can learn more about the ORC's climbing wall and the different climbing programs each semester here.

For more information, e-mail the Rec Sports Office ( or call the Outdoor Rec Center at 906-227-1369.

Climbing Wall

One of the most popular activities NMU Recreational Sports offers is its 1,450 square-foot climbing wall which is located next to the ORC in the PEIF. The ORC hosts many great lessons, competitions and programs at and on the climbing wall. Activities at the wall include climbing for adults and children, partner climbs, and classes. Trained staff members are on hand to assist with climbs and teach proper technique. All climbers MUST follow the climbing policies and youths are required to have parents sign a waiver form. Use the link below to learn more about the climbing wall and ORC climbing programs.

Equipment Rental

For those who do not have the equipment available to explore and experience all that the UP has to offer, the ORC has a variety of rental equipment available. The ORC has a decent sized inventory that contains kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sleeping bags, tents, skis, snowshoes, and more.

At this time reservations are not available and all rentals are first come first served. Contact the ORC during rental hours at 906-227-1369 with any questions or special requests.

Thank you to Down Wind Sports for all your assistance in our programs and equipment!

ORC Trips & Programs

The ORC hosts many great trips that help get students and PEIF members out side in a fun, educational, and guided environment. Check out this Semesters trips below. You can use the links to learn more and register for each trip.


Winter 2024 Semester ORC Trips and Programs

  • Drop In Cross Country Skiing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Midnight Madness At The Climbing Wall
  • Belay Lessons
  • SUP Yoga In The Pool
  • Superior Climbing Competition
  • Toonbusters

Team & Initiative Program

ORC offers two hour leadership and teamwork seminars for teams and youth groups. The ORC staff and the PEIF can help your team or group become more effective and successful both as a group members and as individuals. Seminars are geared towards developing communication and group skills with teams of youth, the drills emphasize leadership, respect, group cooperation, communication, leadership and problem solving. Activities are structured for a gym space; ORC facilitators can do drills at the PEIF or at a school or activity center gym. 

Build Your Own Trip

Build your own trip with the Outdoor Rec Center. Choose from any of the local applicable hiking or ski trails in the Marquette area, and two ORC employees will guide your group through a two-hour excursion while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Contact us for more info.

  • Must provide personal transportation.
  • Participants must meet at ORC prior to trip for equipment checkout.
  • 2 hour trip length.
  • 4 person min group size
  • 12 person max group size 
  • Cost per Members: $20 - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.
  • Cost per Non-Member: $80 flat rate - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.

Reserve the Climbing Wall

Reserve the climbing wall for your next group event or gathering. Three ORC employees with be available for your private climbing session to belay your group. This is a great opportunity for you to gather with your team and do something that is challenging, fun, and empowering. If you have any questions or would like to reserve the wall, give us a call or send an email using the link below.

  • Cost: $80/hr, includes 3 staff members to belay