Climb Upton Vertical Adventures

Story by Andrew Gates | Photography Courtesy of NOVA Parks

Nestled in a quiet residential Arlington neighborhood, Upton Hill Regional Park is a family-friendly outdoor activity destination. Operated by NOVA Parks, Upton Hill Regional Park is already home to walking paths, a batting cage, a food hall, a waterpark, and a mini-golf course. The park's offerings will soon expand to include an all-new vertical adventure course, Climb UPton! The equivalent of a four-story building, Climb UPton is a custom-built superstructure that guests can freely explore as they traverse 90 interconnected obstacles spanning three levels. The structure has something to offer for guests of various physical abilities with easy, medium, and hard obstacles. When guests arrive at the Climb UPton course, they are suited in a harness, then given a quick safety and "how-to" tutorial. After the tutorial, guests ascend the course from one of two staircases. Once in the structure, guests freely choose which path to take or not take. Paths are better taken individually and groups are discouraged from traversing the course together. This allows for a tremendous degree of customization so that every participant can follow the path they want. Easier obstacles are found mostly on the lower levels, while more challenging obstacles are found mostly on the upper levels. Easy obstacles include stepping across boards or zipping across a line. Difficult obstacles can be challenging to traverse and, if done properly, could leave your arms and shoulders sore the next morning. With 90 total obstacles, there is something for everyone. Notable obstacles include zip lines, rock walls, moving rings, and a freefall. The idea to build a vertical adventure course in Upton Hill Regional Park came from a NOVA Parks Board of Directors plan as far back as 2010. It was one of several initiatives developed at the time. "Other [initiatives] included a redevelopment plan for Occoquan Regional Park, which was completed several years ago and includes the River View Events Center and Brickmakers Café, and a Holiday Light Show at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, which is now going on 10 years as a popular holiday destination for over 75,000 visitors annually," says Chris Pauley, Director of Park Operations at NOVA Parks. Other new projects in Upton Hill Regional Park include a new playground, a small pavilion with walking paths, and improvements to the parking lot. Climb UPton itself is fully constructed, but NOVA Parks is still working to complete the nearby admissions building and hardscape around the feature. The course is expected to open to the public sometime this summer, although an exact date has not yet been set. A perfect choice for a family-friendly outdoor summer adventure, tickets will cost $39 to $49 per person with promotional pricing and group sales opportunities offered.