Take flight this summer at a zip line course, which offer airborne adventures for all.
Looking to hitch a ride in the sky? Zip line courses can be found across the nation that offer everything from daring glides to more laid-back aerial adventures for family travelers – or those devoid of the daredevil gene. Check out these 10 spots for a sky high adventure.
Durango, Colo.: What does the historic Durango & Silverton "Narrow Gauge" Railroad have to do with a zip line adventure? It is the only way to reach the longest zip lining course in the world - Soaring Tree Top Adventures in Durango, Colorado. Here, thrill-seekers zip over a mile and a half of cable on 27 different zip lines. After you zip through the trees for five incredible hours, you'll be treated to a four-course gourmet lunch while overlooking the Animas River.
While Soaring Tree Top Adventures is committed to making sure visitors have a good time, they're also serious about sustainability. The entire zip lining course is built without hooks, bolts and screws that could penetrate the trees. This eco-friendly system helps preserve the rare old-growth Ponderosa forest where the course is located, and ensures that sap flow and growth will never be impeded.
Smugglers' Notch, Vt.: Located at the Smugglers' Notch resort in Northern Vermont, ArborTrek offers climbing adventures, treetop obstacle courses, and three different zip line tour options depending on the season. Don't miss one of their award-winning winter tours, complete with stunning views of the snow-covered canopies of the Green Mountains. Depending on your experience level, you'll spend one to three hours on a fully guided zip line canopy tour that combines the thrill of up to 4,500 feet of high-speed zip lines and commentary on the local ecology and natural history. During this adventure, you'll cross sky bridges high above the forest and rappel from trees, exploring areas that can't be reached by hikers.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.: Care to zip line by moonlight? DC Adventure offers guests the opportunity to zip beneath the stars, following a route lit by glow sticks. Talk about a fun alternative to the traditional date night, and unimaginable excitement for families with kids! The center also provides multiple zip line tour packages, so you can find the outdoor adventure best suited for your family or friends. This course for all ages has no restrictions on age or ability level, and has hosted zip-liners from 11 months to age 75 along its cables.
Gaston, Ore.: Perched high above Oregon's Willamette Valley, just outside of Portland, Tree to Tree offers aerial adventures for the entire family. With a focus on safety, entertaining guides escort guests throughout the zip line tour, including across a 1200 foot long Super Zip. For an all-day adventure, challenge yourself on the aerial obstacle course, complete with wobbly bridges, tight ropes and additional zip lines of varying difficulty. Or, make it a weekend trip with a Zip, Sip and Stay adventure package including a deluxe suite at a local hotel, zip line adventure, local wine tasting voucher and gourmet lunch.
Rockbridge, Ohio: Famous for their steep "Super Zip," Hocking Hills Canopy Tours can get you going up to speeds of over 50 mph as you sail down over a stream, caves and rock cliffs. Get a bird's eye view of the native wildlife, plants and rocks at one of Ohio's top attractions. They also offer nighttime zips, and separate tours for young children.
Maui, Hawaii: America's first zip line (started in 2002), Haleakala Skyline Adventure is still terrifying and delighting customers against a backdrop of Maui's lush landscape. Take a side trip on your way up to Haleakala Crater for a tour on one of five zip lines – a true carbon-neutral adventure. Experience a new side of paradise as you zip over canyons and eucalyptus tree canopies. Highlights of the tour include crossing a long Indiana Jones-style swinging wooden bridge and the "Pendulum" - an up & back line that allows zippers to reach speeds of over 45 mph. Expert tour guides will keep you safe and educate you about Maui's eco-tourism, native wildlife, and flora and fauna along the way.
Big Sky, Mont.: For a change of scenery, Big Sky Resort will allow you to fly high along the rocky ridges just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park after some mild hiking. At Big Sky Resort, you can soar past expansive views of Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks of the Madison mountain range, or take the nature zip, which consists of three zip lines 30 to 60 feet in the air. Up the fun factor even more by racing your travel partners on a twin zip line.
Park City, Utah: Hold on tight as you experience a 500 foot vertical drop on the steepest zip line in the world at Olympic Park in Park City. The XTREME ZipRider course runs parallel to the 120 meter Nordic jump (you might even be in the air as the same time as athletes during practice). Sound a little too terrifying for you? Olympic Park also offers a shorter "Ultra ZipRider" - a four cable zip line that's 750 feet long for the non-daredevils.
Charlemont, Mass.: The Berkshire East Zip Line is a great option for adventure lovers on a budget, with tours starting at just $30. They also offer something for everyone on their three family-friendly tour options. The Base Tour will introduce newbies to zip lining, while the Mountain Top Tour offers seven zips, two hikes and two great ski lift rides with incredible views of the valley. Once you're ready for something more extreme, sign up for the Valley Jump, which consists of two 1/2 mile long zips approaching 200 feet off the ground. For one of the most colorful tours, take a trip in the fall during "leafing" season when the Appalachian Mountains look afire with red, yellow, and orange hues among the forest canopies.
Eagle Creek Park, Ind.: The higher you zip into the trees, the more exciting your excursion with Go Ape gets. They offer a full treetop obstacle course, with five sections of challenging rope ladders, platforms, and 39 crossings. This adventure takes place in Eagle Creek Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the USA with over 3,900 acres of land and 1,400 acres of water, all located just minutes from downtown Indianapolis. Go Ape's treetop tours offer thrilling experiences with a fantastic view of the picturesque Eagle Creek Reservoir.