My five-year-old has become a climbing fiend lately — we actively seek out playgrounds with challenging climbing structures (like some of these). On a recent mother-daughter date, I wanted to up the ante and booked us a spot at High Trek Adventures in Everett.
Most ropes courses focus on high-elevation thrills, but very few offer options for the younger crew. Located 15 feet above ground (still high enough to get my adrenaline going) with a lower safety line, High Trek’s Cadet’s Course is much more accessible for the 4-7 age group.
Nervous nelly parents need not worry — the unique lobster claw belay system only allows one carabiner to open at a time, so kids are always locked onto a sturdy steel cable in the air. A thorough safety briefing places everyone in helmets, harnesses and gloves before practicing their belay techniques.
It took us a while to get started on the first rope challenge. My daughter looked down at the ground far below and whispered “I can’t.” Luckily, there was no one else there on a misty morning and she had plenty of time to work up to taking her first steps on the rope.
Once we got across that first bridge, though, it was like a dam broke. She was excited! I watched her carefully navigate the belay system and strategize for the best way to work across each unique rope challenge. She even helped “coach” me across a couple of them. I loved that the course gave her a chance to practice risky play in a way that felt relatively safe and comfortable.
A cherry (or zip-line) on top
Unsure about how my daughter would feel about the experience, I had only booked an hour-long slot. We definitely would have extended our stay for more ropes course fun (or a mini-golf session), but I didn’t want to wear out my younger son’s welcome with my babysitting in-laws. Hurrying down from the course, we capped off our time together with my daughter’s favorite activity — the zip line. Each Cadet’s Course ticket comes with three rides on the new Junior zip line and she loved every minute of it!
As we headed to pick up lunch at Moodoo Korean, we had a very animated conversation about all the friends and family my daughter wants to take with her on our next visit to High Trek. She’s even counting down the time until she can tackle the bigger course!
Hours: Timing varies by day of the week, but generally reservations are available from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. on weekends.
Limitations: The Cadet’s Course is designed for children ages 4-7. A parent is not required to climb with them, but must be present. The Captain’s Course is for children 7 and up, but participants must be able to reach up to 70” to the safety line. There is a maximum weight of 265 pounds for safety.
Cost: A Cadet’s Course ticket is $35/hour. Captain’s Course tickets are $40 per hour at off-peak times and $50 per hour at peak times. Discounts are available on longer time slots or with reservations made at least five days in advance.
Facilities: Free parking is available in a gravel lot. There are porta potties at High Trek Adventures, or walk across the parking lot to the playground area for flush toilets. There are covered areas where non-climbing adults can observe, but I highly recommend climbing with your kids!