At Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center we place a high priority on providing high-quality educational opportunities to all. Below is a collection of generalized resources to show how we can approach accessibility. Since everybody is unique, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can meet your particular access requirements.

Please click on each section to read more information!

Social Stories

Below are a collection of facility social stories made by Upham Staff. We are still working on expanding this collection, so if you need a story on a different topic, reach out so we can help. If you have made your own social stories and don’t mind sharing them, email them to us!

Visual Schedules

Below is one example of a visual schedule, which can be created if someone in your group would benefit from it. Since visual schedule formats are unique to each individual, we can work with you to create the visual schedule.

This image shows a visual schedule. The schedule is laid out in 6 small boxes with a time labeled at the top of the box. Within each box is an image with a caption. Box 1 shows an alarm clock and is labeled "wake up". Box two shows food items and is labeled "breakfast." Box 3 shows people with backpacks and is labeled "hike blackhawk island." Box 4 shows a plate and is labeled "help set-up for lunch." box 5 shows food items and is labeled "lunch." Box 6 shows a basketball and is labeled "rec time."

Trail descriptions

Below are basic trail descriptions so that you can assess your ability to participate in different hikes. An interactive map with more information is coming soon!

If you are concerned about hiking there are supplements we can provide, like having staff carrying camping chairs, taking extra breaks or lending out hiking poles for balance support, as well as alternatives, such as different/shorter routes or the ability to drive to some destinations. 

This image shows a map of Upham Woods main trails with building labeled.

Mainland Trails:

  • West Ridge:
    • Distance: 0.38 miles (one-way)
    • Trail surface: Dirt path with some roots and rocks.
    • Description: This trail starts by crossing County Road N. As this is a busy road, we encourage individuals to use the crosswalk, which is located at the end of the grassy field. Once across the road, the trail ascends a short hill then flattens out as it goes along the ridge line before descending towards the road again. At this point, we encourage individuals to turn around and proceed back along the trail.
  • River Bend:
    • Distance: 0.47 miles
    • Benches located after .17 miles (counterclockwise)
    • Trail surface: Dirt path with many roots and rocks.
    • Description (counterclockwise): This trail starts from our picnic area and ends in the parking lot. The beginning 0.17 miles from the picnic area to the benches is a gradual uphill climb on a mainly flat, hard-packed dirt path. After the benches there are about 20 steps downward towards the water where the path continues. From this point the path becomes harder to navigate as there are areas of erosion that present tilted surfaces with looser dirt.
  • Nature Center to the Slough (Wacky Water Critters class location):
    • There are 2 ways to get to the slough, a shorter (0.08 mile) steep trail with many roots and rocks, or a longer (0.15 mile) gradual dirt trail. Once at the slough, there is a boardwalk to get closer to the water.

Blackhawk Island Trails:

    • Once the river thaws and we have access to the island, we will work on updating these descriptions.

Partnership with Access Ability Wisconsin

Through our partnership with Access Ability Wisconsin we can brainstorm ways for inclusion and also help you reserve an all-terrain wheelchair for your visit. Check out this page for more information:


Accessible Equipment

Upham Woods has some accessible equipment to support your freedom and participation in many of our recreation activities including fishing, kayaking and swimming.

Check out our accessible equipment brochure!


Inclusive Facilities Policy


Upham Woods follows the policy set forth by UW-Madison which is intended to provide safe alternatives to multi-stall, gender-specific bathrooms, which can be problematic and unsafe for students, faculty, staff, and visitors who may be harassed or discriminated against based on their perceived or actual gender identity, gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, ability status or other identity as well as other factors that make the use of a private, gender-inclusive restroom facility preferable for certain individuals.

  • Some specifics at Upham Woods include:
    • Restrooms: If a single-stall or gender neutral restroom is needed, there are 4 on-site, three in the dorm and one in the lodge. One restroom in the lodge and the restroom on the ground floor of the dorm are ADA-compliant and include a toilet and sink. The other two single-stall restrooms in the dorm are in the basement and include a sink and toilet. The dorm restroom on the ground floor also includes a shower. There is no single-stall restroom on cabin hill, so individuals may need to stay in the dorm if a single-stall restroom is needed. However, the cabin hill bathhouse does follow best practices by having individual showers and curtains for changing and showering spaces
    • Gender: Visitors may choose any restroom in which they feel most comfortable. UW-Madison students, employees, and visitors should not assume an individual’s gender identity and should presume that an individual is using the correct facility. No person will be compelled to use an inclusive restroom facility regardless of gender identity, gender expression, or sex assigned at birth. 
    • Overnight guests: We will work with visiting groups to ensure all individuals have an overnight option that feels safe, whether that is in gendered or inclusive housing. Our cabin and dorm schematics may increase your understanding of our overnight accommodations.