The Challenge Course

What is a Challenge Course?GiantsLadder

Tilikum’s Challenge Course (sometimes called a ropes course) is a collection of “elements.” Each element is built out of ropes, cables, wooden beams and logs and is used to climb up, climb through, climb over, traverse across or balance. These elements are placed anywhere from ground level to 120 feet up in the trees and are designed to facilitate individual and group growth. Tilikum’s course is located in an impressive stand of 120-year-old Douglas fir trees. Tilikum’s Challenge Course was originally built by Project Adventure Inc. in 1993 and is currently inspected and maintained by Synergo, a Northwest leader in the field of challenge course construction, training, and inspection.

From New Zealand to New Delhi to Newberg, after visiting four continents, the Amazing Race came to Tilikum. The Amazing Race’s 30,000-mile world tour made a high-flying visit to Tilikum. With a $1 million prize on the line, three teams competed high above the ground on Tilikum’s challenge course to collect clues to their next destination. The season finale for the Emmy-winning reality show was filmed in May and aired Dec. 7, 2008.

Your Experience

Activities on the challenge course are planned for INTENTIONAL FUN. Each experience is designed to spark group discussions around:

  • Teamworktilikum-high-ropes-01
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Goal Setting
  • Confidence
  • Encouragement
  • Leadership Development
  • Group Bonding
  • And more…

Your experience may include games, initiatives, low elements that focus on group trust and teamwork, or high elements designed to challenge individuals and groups within a controlled risk environment. Participants on the high elements are required to wear harnesses and helmets and are connected to a belay system. All challenge course activities are designed and presented with a great consideration for your psychological, emotional and physical safety.

Partnering with You

Our challenge course is an excellent teaching tool for many groups. We customize your program to fit the specific goals and needs of your group, enabling you to get the most out of your experience.

Your Choice

Tilikum works under a “choose your challenge” philosophy.

In all of our activities:

  • You are able to choose your level of involvement and commitment.
  • You are encouraged to accept challenges beyond your normal comfort zone.
  • You are not coerced or forced to participate at a level beyond your choosing.
  • You will experience a setting of care and respect for each individual and his or her choices.

Tilikum FacilitatorsFacilitators2015

Each facilitator is carefully trained for leadership and safety on the challenge course to provide your group the highest quality experiential adventure program. All facilitators hold a current certification recognized by the Association for Challenge Course Technology.

Groups who benefit from the Challenge Course:

  • Management Teams
  • School & College Groups
  • Church Adult & Youth Groups
  • Athletic Teams
  • Counseling Groups
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Staff Development Teams
  • Small Business Teams

Rates, Policies & Paperwork:

Corporate Teams

Non-profit Groups

  • IMG_32291Groups must have a minimum of 10 people and participants be over 10 years of age.
  • Please schedule your challenge course event at least 3 weeks in advance to guarantee the best possible experience.
  • All guests must fill out a Tilikum Participant Agreement before engaging in challenge course activities. Guests without completed Participant Agreements will not be allowed to participate.

Contact Information:

To schedule a tour of Tilikum or to reserve time on the Challenge Course, contact:

Amy Watson, Challenge Course Manager


Phone: (503) 538-2763