There are a lot of fantastic ways to travel and explore a new city, community, or natural area. You can hike, bike, do a shopping tour, go swimming, and so much more. Really, we’d say there is no wrong way to experience a place — but, some ways of exploring are a bit more adrenaline-inducing than others. Like ziplining.
For Love of Ziplining: Why Choose a Zipline Adventure On Your Smoky Mountain Vacation
Ziplining is a thrilling activity that has really exploded in popularity over the last decade. Most ziplining companies, such as those in and near Boone, either own or hold an operator’s lease for a large swath of land in an undeveloped area. Within this area, they’ve built up several tall platforms that are connected with massive cables. The activity of ziplining requires you to put on a harness, helmet, and other related gear and use it all to attach to a cable. Once attached, you leap from your platform and let gravity propel you from the higher platform down to a lower connected platform.
How fast you go down a zipline will depend upon a variety of factors, but generally, it’s all about the height differences in the platforms, the distance between, and how much force you take off with. A shorter zipline might average around 20 miles per hour, but some of the longer ones with a taller platform or steeper angle of descent can send a person screaming across the air at speeds of 40 miles per hour or even more.
Flying across a river valley or above colorful autumn canopies at great speeds is a big part of the draw for ziplining. But so too is that simple experience of flying and getting to see a place from a different perspective. Here, it’s just you on the line, high above the world. It can very much feel like you are a bird or even something of a superhero with how you soar.
Feel like ziplining might just be the adventurous activity you’ve been looking for? Check out the following fantastic zipline outfitters based in the Boone, NC area:
1. Hawksnest Zipline
Hawksnest Zipline is located a bit southwest of Boone, NC, and is one-half of the larger recreational center called Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zipline. You’ll find this unique recreational hub at the top of a mountain and, when there’s snow on the ground, boasting four snow tubing areas with thirty lanes and moving carpets. Once the snow melts, the business transitions into one that focuses on thrilling zipline canopy tours.
Hawksnest Zipline features two zipline courses, the Hawk Zipline Tour and the Eagle Zipline, as well as a packaged deal entitled the Do It All Package that enables guests to complete both courses.
The Hawk Zipline Tour features eleven cables that span 1.5 miles, including two lines that stretch for over 1,500 feet. Traversing through the tour also includes going over two swinging bridges that have their own draw.
The Eagle Zipline Tour features nine cables over a more lengthy three miles of high-flying trails. This tour will take you less time than the Hawk Zipline Tour, but that’s largely because you are going to be taking off at higher platforms and going at greater speeds across those cables. Thus, we’d suggest this Eagle tour for more experienced zipliners or for those who’re otherwise looking for the highest thrills.
2. High Gravity Adventures
High Gravity Adventures is conveniently located just off of US Highway 321, making it a convenient ten-minute drive south of Boone. This outdoor activity center first opened its doors in 2015 and has been steadily expanding its options every year. In May 2022, they became one of the first aerial parks and zip tour operators to receive the more formalized Operations Accreditation from the Association for Challenge Course Technology due to their teams’ ability to demonstrate their ability to meet and exceed industry standards in terms of equipment and course quality and professional practices.
High Gravity Adventures has several great activities to choose from at their location, but for ziplining, the primary option here is their High Altitude Zip Line Tour. This canopy course features five ziplines and one free-fall run that will take guests an average of two hours to complete. What we really like about this course and company is that they have slow-moving rappel options for those in your group who don’t much like the idea of reaching those larger double-digit numbers.
3. Sky Valley Zip Tours
Sky Valley Zip Tour has a traditional multi-platform canopy tour like the others, theirs spanning across ten ziplines with one 45-foot vertical descent, but it has two unique things that the others on this list and in the area don’t: A specific kid-friendly ziplining tour and a night ziplining tour.
Their Kid Zip is available for kids as young as four years old and is done on the company’s Whistling Pig course, a course that was specifically designed for children ages 4 to 12. The course starts with an ATV ride and features seven ziplines, a quirky bridge, and a massive 20-foot slide.
The Night Flight tour is an incredible evening experience in which you get to zip across a moonlit course. This tour features the first five lines of their standard canopy tour. The highlight here is the 1,600-foot-long cable entitled Big Mama which will have you soaring across a valley with just the open sky above you. It’s a truly magical experience on a cloudless night.
Learn More About Boone, NC
Boone is a beautiful mountain town that’s located in westernmost North Carolina. This is a community that really loves the outdoors, and if you likewise love doing things outside, you’ll feel right at home here. Learn more about the different adventures this area has to offer, including premier hiking trails and unique activities like hot ballooning, by visiting our other pages listing the best of Boone and beyond!