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challenge course

Challenge Course

The RecWell Challenge Course provides programs that create space and opportunities for both personal growth and group development. Challenge Course programs are designed to meet your group’s needs, whether you’re a student club or a corporate group going on a workplace retreat. Our highly trained student facilitators custom design each program based on the group’s unique dynamics and goals which can include anything from leadership skills and problem-solving abilities to team effectiveness and individual self-confidence.

A program can consist of the following types of activities and are chosen based on the goals of your group. In your program request form, you can indicate how much of your program you’d like to dedicate to each activity type.  Note: all programs will consist of some communicating building activities so that our facilitators can get familiar with the group members. 

  • Community Building Activities  (in-person and virtual program option): Community building activities are activities or games or used to welcome the group, warm up the conversation among participants, make everyone familiar with another, and get folks moving. If participants already know each other, community building activities can serve to set the tone by generating laughter and conversation.  
  • Team initiatives (in-person and virtual program option): Initiatives are team building challenges that focus on planning, problem solving, and creative thinking, rather than physical ability. Initiatives are a great way to challenge groups, begin or enhance the team-building process, or simply have fun.
  • Low ropes course (in-person program option): The low ropes courses consist of a series of real and imaginary obstacles designed to challenge groups and individuals to work together to accomplish a task. Low ropes elements often consist of a series of cables, ropes, and obstacles strung between trees or poles, 12 to 18 inches above the ground. Low rope elements present tests of physical ability, stamina, agility, balance, and flexibility, and invite participants to confront fears of potential failure or losing control. Risk is managed by group members who assume critical spotting roles. Note: our facilitators can make accommodations to ensure all group members can participate in some way, regardless of their ability level.
  • Climbing and High Course (in-person program option): Climbing can be done on our Alpine Tower or Climbing. We also have the High Course, Leap of Faith, and Giant Swing.At least an hour will be dedicated to climbing if you’d like this activity included in your program. The High Course, Leap of Faith, and Giant Swing have group size and time constraints= that the Coordinate for Challenge Course and Climbing Wall will discuss with you should you express interest in these activities on your program request form.

​​Escape rooms (virtual program option): Virtual escape rooms allow groups to work together to uncover clues and solve puzzles. They are great for collaborating as a team or for pure enjoyment. 

Escape room options:

  • Escape the USS Nautilus: Oh no! All of the commanders of the USS Nautilus have come down with some sort of viral infection. Even worse, the engines have stopped running and you are 1.3 miles below sea level in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! You and your crew mates must work together to bypass the new security system and get the engines up and running again so we can get our commanders the required medical attention! Are you up to the task?" (Time: 1.5-2 hours)
  • The Outlaw's Bounty: Travel through Horseshoe Canyon as a deputy in this wild-western themed adventure. Search to find the hidden gold left behind by a band of outlaws and solve puzzles to discover the code to open their safe. (Time: 1.5-2 hours)
  • Mission Impossible: Calling all Agents! The infamous Codename X, one of our own former operatives, has turned to crime and based his operations at the University of Maryland, where he’ll launch his next scheme. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to work with Agents Lee and Rollins to uncover Codename X’s plot and take him down! To complete this mission, you’ll need to use your training to solve puzzles and decode intelligence collected from Codename X’s team. Good luck! (Time: 1.5-2 hours)
  • Terp Falls: It's a beautiful day at the McKeldin Mall Fountain, when suddenly, you and your friends get pushed in--transporting you all to an alternate dimension! With the fountain shut off, the portal is closed. To return home, you must help the Testudos recover the spell that reopens the portal. (Time: 1.5-2 hours)
  • University of Maryland: Calling all Terps! Do you think you're a UMD expert? Think again! This escape room will test your knowledge on UMD and hopefully teach you something new! You will solve clues and learn UMD fun facts to escape! (Time: 1-1.5 hours)
  • State of Maryland: Let's go O's! Old Bay Seasoning! Smith Island Cake! Black-Eyed Susans! This escape room is all about learning about the state of Maryland. You will work with your team to solve puzzles and clues, all while learning about the Old Line State. (Time: 1 hour)
  • National Parks: Did you know that the United States has over fifty National Parks? This escape room will require participants to navigate the National Park website to learn all about National Parks, from the trails inside of them to animals you may see along the way! (Time: 1-1.5 hours).
  • Team Building Program (virtual program option): Virtual team building programs can closely mimic our in-person team building programs. They can be goal focus, or community building focus. The group will be led through a variety of community building activities and team initiatives.(Time: Up to 2 hours)

There is a 10-person minimum charge for all programs. For in-person team building, our minimum participant count is 6 and our maximum participant count is 40. The 40 person max is due to COVID restrictions and will be updated when permitted. 

UMD Student or Staff Group Community Group or Non-UMD Participants
Up to 2 hours $14/person $20/person
Up to 4 hours $20/person $28/person
Up to 8 hours $32/person $44/person
UMD Student or Staff Group Community Group or Non-UMD Participants
4-10 people $90/group $120/group
11-20 people $130/group $160/group
21-30 people $170/group $200/group
31-40 people $210/group $240/group
41-50 people $250/group $280/group

To reserve a Challenge Course program, complete the program request form. The Coordinator for Challenge Course and Climbing Wall will reply to confirm a program, ask any follow-up questions, or suggest alternate dates. This form allows us to design your program with your goals in mind.  

Program request forms should be completed at least two weeks prior to the desired program date. As a reminder, at this time, the group size minimum is 6 participants, and the group size maximum is 40 participants. 

Once a program is confirmed, you will be emailed the Program Agreement. The Agreement must be signed and returned (along with a deposit of 50% if a non-UMD group) by the dates indicated on the program agreement.

Cancellation Policy: Programs must be cancelled no less than 7 business days prior to the event date. A service charge of $50 will be assessed for such cancellations.

Program Request Form


This semester, we are offering three programs that are free to students! These programs will give you the opportunity to experience some of the high course elements that the Challenge Course has to offer!

Registration is required and can be found here or under Reservations and Adventure Program: Open Enrollment Challenge Course on

  • Friday, September 10 from 7 PM - 9 PM: Alpine Tower 
  • Friday, September 24 from 12 PM - 2 PM: Giant Swing
  • Friday, October 15 from 6 PM - 8 PM: Leap of Faith


The Challenge Course is located behind the ERC and next to the climbing wall. Get to us by using the steps outside the west end of the ERC near the Outdoor Aquatic Center. Groups meet our staff and begin at the pavilion on the course.


The RecWell Challenge Course operates year round when the University is open. Specific hours of operation are based on scheduled group programming. There are no drop-in hours at the Challenge Course.

Contact Us

Portrait of Meghan Loughry

Meghan Loughry

Coordinator, Challenge Course & Climbing Wall
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