On-land Programs and COVID Safety Protocols. Learn More

Preparing for Your Retreat

Arrival and Departure

Step 1: Please arrive between 2:30-4:30 p.m. to check in and provide proof of negative COVID-19 test. This will take place in the Dining hall.
Step 2: Work meditation assignment received.
Step 3: You will then proceed to the Council House where you will be given a room assignment. Please arrive no later than 4:30 p.m. Dinner is served on opening day. Here is a campus map.

Late Arrival: Please arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.
Late arrivals are not allowed without prior approval from the teachers. If you are unexpectedly delayed past 4:30 p.m. please call the retreat office at 415.488.0164 ext. 262 and leave a message letting us know to hold your space. If possible, also email retreatstaff@spiritrock.org before 4:30 p.m. After 4:30 p.m. if retreat staff have not heard from you they begin calling folks from the waiting list.

Our security gate is closed each night between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. 

If a late arrival has been approved and you anticipate arriving after 10:00 p.m., contact the registrars or retreat staff prior to arrival to receive the 4-digit gate code.

Departure: The retreat ends by 11:00 a.m. on closing day. Breakfast is served on the closing day, but not lunch.

Early Departure: Early departures from the retreat are not allowed without approval from the teachers. If your plans have changed since you registered, please contact the registrars immediately.

COVID-19 Safety

Our COVID-19 protocols are based on county, state, and federal (CDC) health guidelines, best practices for our retreat setting, and feedback from our community. These protocols include a requirement that all retreat participants, teachers, and staff be fully vaccinated and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test on opening day of the retreat. At least one booster is required and must have been received two weeks or more before arrival.

Effective June 5, 2023

On June 5, Spirit Rock implemented the following important, new updates to our COVID-19 safety protocols:

For Residential Retreats

  • Masking: Optional for all participants, staff, and teachers, attending a residential retreat. If you choose to mask, any masking type will be allowed. Please bring your own supply of masks.
  • Vaccination: All staff, teachers, and practitioners must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which includes at least one booster. If you have not received at least one COVID-19 booster since your first COVID vaccination, you will need to have a booster before you attend retreat. The first booster must have been received no less than two weeks (14 days) prior to the retreat start date. Any FDA-approved booster is acceptable. If you have had more than one booster, in addition to your first COVID-19 vaccination, you are fine to attend regardless of the timing of the boosters. Proof of vaccination with booster(s) will be required. Individuals will not be admitted to the retreat if not "fully vaccinated."
  • Negative COVID test: All practitioners must arrive with proof (picture or actual test) of a same-day negative antigen test that they have taken prior to arrival. Practitioners who do not arrive with a negative test will be given one prior to admittance. Individuals will not be admitted to the retreat if the test result is positive for COVID-19. Spirit Rock will administer a second test to everyone on day four or five for all retreats that are seven nights or longer. Anyone who tests positive at that time will need to exit the retreat.

Click here for more details on COVID-19 safety for in-person retreats

Practitioner Questionnaire

As part of registration, you will complete an online practitioner questionnaire. In this required form you’ll submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination + booster, a headshot photo, and answer questions about your meditation practice and psychological health. This form is confidential and will be disposed of after the retreat.

Final Payments

If you are not paid in full, please be sure that your full balance is paid before the start of the retreat by contacting the registration department. If we have a credit card on file for you, we are happy to charge the remaining balance for you. Payment plans are not available following a retreat.

Cancellation Policy & Fees

Standard Cancellation Fees:*

  • $100 On or before 8 weeks
  • $175 8 – 4 weeks before
  • $300 4 – 2 weeks before
  • No refunds less than 2 weeks before

Scholarship and Commuter Rate Cancellation Fees:*

  • $75 On or before 8 weeks
  • $100 8 – 4 weeks before
  • $200 4 – 2 weeks before
  • No refunds less than 2 weeks before

*Fees reduced for serious illness, including COVID, or death in family

Dāna: Generosity & Giving

The cultivation of generosity is at the heart of the Buddha’s path. Dāna is the Pāli word for giving, and refers to the spiritual practice of generosity and letting go. Your giving supports our teachers and staff to continue offering the Dharma in an accessible and open-handed way. To read more about the practice of dāna, go to Dāna: The Practice of Generosity

Dāna for teachers: At the end of your retreat you’ll be asked to offer financial support to your teachers. Registration fees do not support retreat teachers and most retreat teachers receive no compensation for teaching at Spirit Rock beyond what practitioners offer. Your gifts support teachers to continue their Dharma practice and teaching. Please offer what makes sense for you, giving from the heart.

Dāna for Spirit Rock Staff* & Operations: Spirit Rock depends on the generosity of our community (saṅgha) to continue offering the Dharma in an accessible way. Retreat registration fees gather only about half of our budget, and donations are needed to supply the rest, including scholarships, staff, and all other expenses.

* Changes in “staff dāna”: As of Fall 2021, retreat staff are no longer paid through dāna contributions at the end of each retreat. Retreat staff, including cooks, managers, and retreat coordinators are now paid as employees, which increases stability and equity for these valued members of our community. Please consider this change as you plan your dāna contributions to Spirit Rock both at retreat and throughout the year.

Any amount you pay above the base rate of the sliding scale registration fee, or any dāna or donation, is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Please retain your payment information as evidence of your gift. Deep appreciation for your generosity!

Travel and Ridesharing

Airport information and driving directions

Community Ridesharing Bulletin Board

Your fellow practitioners are traveling from near and far, and may need help getting to and/or from the retreat. Consider offering a ride to, from, or both ways. Our rideshare board can be used to coordinate rides or to share an airport shuttle to the retreat. We do not monitor this board. It is the responsibility of the practitioners to coordinate between themselves via this platform. Your generosity is appreciated.

Emergency Phone Number

If you need to be reached in an emergency during the retreat, the retreat staff office number is 415.488.0164 ext. 262. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. PT daily. Please leave a message and know that it will take some time to get a message to you. They will get a message to you as quickly as possible. Please let people know this number should be used only in case of emergencies.  

What to Bring

  • Proof (photo or test sample) of your own negative COVID-19 test result. The test must be completed the same day as opening day of the retreat. If you are not able to test prior to your arrival a test will be administered onsite.
  • A variety of loose, comfortable, casual, layered clothing
  • Outdoor walking shoes (and hiking shoes if you intend to hike)
  • Slip-on shoes and indoor slippers, if you need. No outdoor shoes are allowed in the retreat hall or residence halls
  • Hat and scent-free sunscreen in the spring and summer, rain gear in the late fall and winter for outdoor walking
  • Flashlight or headlamp, with fresh batteries (our campus is quite dark at night!)
  • A wristwatch or timepiece can be helpful; "smart" watches or "fit bit" type watches will need to have notifications and alarms turned off. (We have a few loaner wristwatches available and there are numerous clocks around campus including small digital alarm clocks in every dorm room.)
  • Earplugs, if you’re a light sleeper (we have some for purchase)
  • Shawl or lap blanket (for use during meditation practice)
  • Checkbook, cash, or credit card, for dāna contributions
  • Water bottle. Filtered water is available onsite in several places. We have water bottles available for purchase.
  • Optional: Sleeping bag or your own personal linens. Linens (towels and bed sheets), blankets, and a pillow are provided. You do not need to reserve these ahead of time. Linens are available in self-serve linen closets in each dorm on the 2nd Floor.
  • Optional: Sitting cushion(s) or bench, if you have special sitting supports or you require a large number of pillows, consider bringing your own supply so there are enough cushions for everyone. The meditation hall has zafus (round sitting cushions), zabutons (floor mats), and chairs available.
  • Optional: Personal scent-free soaps, if you prefer. We provide fragrance-free shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in each shower of the dorms.
  • For yoga retreats only: If you have specific blocks, straps, or other yoga equipment that you need, you may want to bring your own. We have a good supply, but not enough for everyone on a dedicated yoga retreat.

Laundry Note: There are no laundry facilities available. Bring enough clothes for the entire retreat. We do have laundry drying racks at each dorm if you would like to hand wash small items. Exception is for the monthlong retreats and laundering details will be included in your pre-arrival email.

What NOT to Bring

  • Please leave all technology at home (including computers, tablets, ebook readers, and other devices). Plan to leave your phone locked up in your vehicle or in the Retreat Staff office at check in.**
  • Silence all notifications on smartphones and watches if you bring them **
  • Printed books, ebook readers, magazines, or other reading materials
  • No intoxicants including alcohol, chemical, and psychoactive/hallucinogenic plant-based drugs such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, and others. (But DO bring prescription medications and continue taking your prescribed medications through the retreat.)
  • Scented personal hygiene products. PLEASE READ
  • Candles or incense
  • Clunky jewelry, which can be noisy in the retreat hall

** Many retreats have a renunciation ceremony the morning of the first full day of the retreat, where you can choose to relinquish your smartphones and watches for the duration of the retreat.

Lost and Found

If you leave anything behind, please email us at: lostandfound@spiritrock.org. We will keep items for 30 days before giving them to charity. Spirit Rock can ship items if needed. You will be responsible for all costs related to shipping your lost items.

Safety & Security

To ensure that our retreat environment remains one of safety and refuge for those who come here, all retreat center dormitory rooms have locks. You may request a key at retreat check-in and keep it for the duration of your retreat. In addition, we have installed a gate at the main entrance near Sir Francis Drake Boulevard that will prevent automobile access to the land at night. The gate automatically opens from the inside and emergency vehicles have full access at all times. The gate is closed from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

If commuters are allowed on this retreat and you are a commuter, you will be given the gate code so you can exit and enter as you need to daily. Lastly, please lock your car and leave valuables out of sight or bring them with you into the retreat center.


Spirit Rock is located in the coastal hills of northern California. The wooded campus includes separate buildings for dining, meeting, and sleeping. Spirit Rock has two-story residence buildings with single and double rooms. Go to Spirit Rock Accommodations to read more details about our residence rooms and dining hall.

There is a 6% slope from the dining room to the residence halls. Practitioners will need to navigate this steep incline several times throughout the day including for meals. The incline may be a challenge for some. In addition, the second floor residence dorms as well as our upper and lower walking halls in the upper meditation center require the use of stairs. If you have physical access needs that prevent you from climbing stairs, please contact us in advance so that we can have a conversation about how we may be able to support you to the best of our ability.

If you have other mobility limitations, please let us know in advance, so we can assist you with your participation in the retreat. We do have four (4) electric scooters for those in need.

Our center has some limitations due to various ages of construction, so if you are a person with a disability, we would greatly appreciate a conversation with you in advance of your arrival. If you need support and you haven’t yet let us know, please contact us at: registration@spiritrock.org and we will be in contact with you.

Spirit Rock is not able to house anyone prior to or after the retreat. However, there are places nearby in Woodacre, if you need to arrive early or stay after the retreat. These accommodation arrangements would be at your own expense. View Off-site Accommodations.


Some retreats allow a limited number of retreat commuters—retreatants who stay off-site. Commuters are expected to attend the entire retreat and follow the daily schedule. While you will not have a room on campus, we will have a resting area with futons for folks to use. Commuters will be given the gate code so you can exit and enter as you need to daily. The gate is closed from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Lock your car and leave valuables out of sight or bring them with you into the retreat center.

Continuing Education Credits (CECs)

We offer CECs for many retreats. In order to qualify for CECs, you must:

  • Pre-register and pay for CECs prior to the retreat. We cannot offer retroactive payment for CECs.
  • Attend and sign-in to all required sessions within 5 minutes of the start of the session
  • Submit your evaluation at the end of the retreat
  • Fulfill the attendance requirements, which includes completing the attendance sheet, and certificates will be available to you at the end of the retreat

If you have questions about CECs, please contact the registration department at: registration@spiritrock.org. CECs are not refundable once the retreat begins. Learn more about Continuing Education Credits.

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