Cornell Tree Climbing Institute

Hoffman Challenge Course

The Hoffman Challenge Course

towerhcc solarhighs

Cornell Team & Leadership Center's primary facility is the Hoffman Challenge Course. One of the largest collegiate ropes courses in the country, it is situated on scenic Mt. Pleasant, just 5 miles from the Cornell campus. Our other facilities include the 5500 square foot Phillips Outdoor Program Center, complete with classroom and equipment outfitting center, and the Lindseth Climbing Wall, the largest natural rock indoor climbing wall in North America. Taken as a whole, the Hoffman Challenge Course represents one of the most comprehensive facilities of its kind. With over 50 low and high element challenges, the range of activities has been selected to cater to groups with diverse goals and abilities. The course is also extensive enough to accommodate groups for several days at a time without exhausting or repeating the available options.

High Elements:

The high elements are challenges situated 20-40 feet above the ground, and navigated individually or in pairs while participants are secured by a belay system. The centerpiece of the facility is a 64-foot high replica of Cornell's McGraw Tower, complete with "tree fort" platform, rappelling stations, a 400-foot double Zipline, and a 40-foot Giant Swing. Other high elements include high Balance Beams, Pamper Poles, a Flying Squirrel, and many others.

Low Elements:

In the wooded areas around the tower are over 30 low elements, a group obstacle course of sorts designed to challenge groups and teams to work together in a variety of ways. Some low activities are physically challenging, but most emphasize teamwork through problem-solving and mutual support. Among the low elements are classic activities such as the Spiders Web and Trust Fall, along with more recently designed elements such as the Whalewatch (a balance platform for groups of up to 25).

Yurts:

The Hoffman Challenge Course also includes two spacious and enchanting yurts that can be used for retreats, workshops, or even overnight trips. These yurts feature solar powered lights and wood burning stoves for the colder months. In the case of inclimate weather, activities can also be moved inside the yurts.

Hoffman Challenge Course Address:

466 Mount Pleasant Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

Directions to the Hoffman Challenge Course from Cornell:

  1. Take Campus Rd. (location of Bartels Hall) East (uphill) to its end at Caldwell Road.
  2. Turn right onto Caldwell Road and go to stop.
  3. Turn left onto Rt. 366 and go about 2 miles.
  4. In the hamlet of Varna, turn right onto Mt. Pleasant Rd. at the four-way intersection (no light or stop sign). Go exactly 2.7 miles.
  5. At 2.7 miles (just before the white observatory on the right) turn left at the gates onto the dirt road. A signpost has the street number 466.
  6. Follow the road back to the attached parking lot on the right.

A map from Cornell to the Hoffman Challenge Course is available for download (214KB) [PDF]. Or view online at:
View Larger Map


Directions to the Hoffman Challenge Course from Cortland/Syracuse:

  1. Take I-81 to Rt 13 at exit 11 (or Rt. 281 at exit 12, and then Rt. 281 to Rt. 13)
  2. Follow Rt. 13 through the village of Dryden, where it turns right. Go 6 more miles after right turn.
  3. Bear left on Rt. 366. Go 1.6 miles
  4. In the hamlet of Varna, turn left onto Mt. Pleasant Rd. at the four-way intersection (no light or stop sign). Go exactly 2.7 miles.
  5. At 2.7 miles (just before the white observatory on the right) turn left at the gates onto the dirt road. A signpost has the street number 466.
  6. Follow the road back to the attached parking lot on the right.

View directions online:

View Larger Map


**If you pass the white observatory you've gone just a little too far.