Ropes Challenge Course

Ropes CHallenge course

Outward Bound California’s Challenge Course in McLaren Park was built in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Through the Challenge Course, we are increasing equitable access to meaningful outdoor experiences and programming. Students from across the Bay Area have the opportunity to challenge themselves, take positive risks, develop teamwork and leadership skills, and become stewards of nature.

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Who Can Attend the Challenge Course

Schools and Non-Profit Groups

Corporate Groups

Community Days

Native Land Acknowledgment

About the Ropes Course:

A Typical Day

We offer different activities with varying levels of challenge to meet the needs of our participants. A typical day begins with a welcome circle and a few icebreakers before jumping right into low elements and ground-based initiatives, in which teams tackle challenges to develop confidence, group cohesion, and leadership and communication skills.

The high ropes feature eleven high elements, each presenting a different challenge several feet off the ground. If a participant attempts one of the high elements, they conduct pre-climb safety checks with their belay team, comprised of a group of their peers under the supervision of an OBCA Instructor, manage the rope and prevent the climber from falling. The student sets their goal and then steps off the ground, ready to embrace the physical and emotional challenges and trust themselves and their teammates to support them. After being slowly lowered back to the ground, the climber is often filled with pride, having climbed farther and accomplished more than they had imagined.

Each program is highly customized to meet the goals of the group. Each course includes an intentional progression of skills, elements, and reflections designed to achieve the group's learning outcomes throughout a fun and balanced sequence of activities, and therefore doesn't include every element on the course.

Who Can Attend the Challenge Course

We host all types of organizations: schools, from 7th grade through university, non-profits, government organizations and corporate groups.

For more information about booking a ropes course program for your group, fill out a Contact Us, and select "School and Group Ropes Course and Expeditions (corporate, non-profit)" or contact Eli Fox at [email protected].

The Nuts and Bolts

Check out our calendar for availability


Schools and non-profit groups: 

For a day on the course for schools and nonprofits, 2024 prices are as follows:

  • Up to 24 People: $1950* 
  • 25 - 32 People: $2675*

*Title 1 schools and organizations serving students from low-income communities may receive up to 75% scholarship for a day on the course.*

We recommend checking out Yoots.org for your travel needs.


Contact Us for Information about Group Programs 


Corporate Groups:

Companies come to OBCA to shake up the traditional team building model and provide their employees with real, experiential learning opportunities in one of the many beautiful parks around the Bay Area including John McLaren Park where our Ropes Course is located. Our programs range from half day on-site or remote programs to multi-day team building workshops which can include a day on the Ropes Course.

The core of our corporate courses is to work with teams to overcome the challenges they face - now and in the future. We use activities including the Ropes Course and the inherent challenges it presents as our teaching tool. Our experienced professionals will work with you to design a custom program addressing your specific goals and driving the results you seek for your team.

This combination of experienced, highly skilled facilitators and our high impact program model provides our clients with a powerful ongoing resource for developing exceptional leaders and high performance teams.


Download our Corporate Programming Flyer 


Community Days:

One Saturday each month from Feb - Oct, the course is open and free to the community. The program is led by Outward Bound Instructors. Participants on community days should plan to attend the entire program (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). All participants must be at least 12 years of age to attend. Pre-registration is required and capacity is limited.

To be notified of dates, please fill out the Contact Us form, and select Ropes Course Community Day Email List. As spots are released, we will send an email with specific date availability, which you can then register for. On that form, each participant must fill out a separate sign-up form.

2024 Community Days (subject to change)

Saturday, February 24
Saturday, March 30
Saturday, April 27
Saturday, May 18
Saturday, June 22
Saturday, July 27
Saturday, August 24
Saturday, September 28
Saturday, October 26

Contact Us

If you're interested in booking a program or would like more information, use the contact form to get in touch!


Support students on the Ropes Challenge Course

If you would like to support students on the ropes course, please consider giving to the Challenge Course scholarship fund. You can donate here.

Native Land Acknowledgment

At Outward Bound California, we work with thousands of students in John McLaren Park. When we share, protect, and learn from a space, it’s important to understand and acknowledge the place’s past, present, and future, and to understand our place within that history. The Ropes Course lies on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples who have cared for this land since before California was a part of Spain, Mexico, or the United States. We pay our respects to the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples for their commitment to Mother Earth and its peoples, and for their work restoring their land and revitalizing their culture. At https://www.ramaytush.org/, you can learn more about Ramaytush Ohlone and support their efforts with donations.

Rodger high fives a student after their climb
Students problem-solving and supporting each other on the "Islands" Low Element.
A student balances their way across the "Zigzag"
Using physical strength and teamwork skills to summit the "Vertical Playpen"
A brave student takes "the Leap!"
Having an absolute blast on our "Universal Access Element"
A corporate staff team using communication skills and counterbalancing to cross "Bridge is Out!"
Louis spotting a student while they attempt a difficult maneuver on a low element.
A climber traverses the "Multivine"
Students poised to execute their plan and solve a team building challenge.
Timing, Communication, and Perseverance are keys to success on "Turnstyles"

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