Taking in awe-inspiring treetop views as your soar through the air, wind in your hair, legs dangling and heart racing. If this sounds like the sort of excitement you’re looking for, it’s time to check out one of Virginia’s several zipline courses. The following companies offer tours that provide thrills, a sense of accomplishment and a bonding experience for your entire family, group of friends or co-workers. Plan a zip adventure as part of your next weekend getaway or as an extra exhilarating day trip this summer.
Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure
5537 Centerville Rd., Williamsburg
South Run Park
7550 Reservation Drive, Springfield
When: Courses in South Run Park open March 24. They are typically open early spring through mid-to-late fall.
On Course: Go Ape has 16 locations in the U.S. They operate Treetop Adventure and Treetop Junior courses. Currently, they have six Treetop Junior courses. The Treetop Adventure courses feature high ropes with various obstacles and zip lines. The Treetop Junior courses provide a great introduction to an aerial adventure course. On average, it takes between two and three hours to complete the Treetop Adventure course and about an hour for Treetop Junior.
Before You Soar: Participants must be 10 years old or older. Minimum height requirement is 4 feet, 7 inches, and maximum weight is 285 pounds. They also feature a supervision requirement for the adventure course—one participating adult can supervise up to two 10–15-year-olds. Adults cannot supervise from the ground on Treetop Adventure. Treetop Junior has a minimum height of 3 feet, 3 inches, but weight is the same.
Special Adventures: Treetop Adventures make a terrific team bonding activity. They offer special rates for groups and can make special accommodations depending on the size of your group.
Zip Tips: Go Ape is on a mission driven to inspire everyone to live life adventurously. They believe in the value of our public parks, which is why they partner with parks and share revenue to ensure that we are investing actively back into our local communities.
Register: Call 800-971-8271 or visit GoApe.com.
500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg
When: The Tree Top Zip Tour runs year round.
On Course: The Tree Top Zip Tour is a guided experience that spans more than 20 acres and is comprised of five different zip lines that range in length from 250 to 670 feet. Additionally, there are two suspended bridge crossings that are about 100 feet each. All seven elements are interconnected in the tree tops from 35 to 65 feet off the ground, and zip liners’ feet won’t touch the ground for two hours. They also have a KIDDO zip line experience that consists of three zip lines and is a great way to ease young kids into zip lining. Age range is 4–6-years-old with maximum weight of 60 pounds.
Before You Soar: Minimum age is 7 years old, and maximum weight is 270 pounds.
Special Adventures: Private group tours and events are available, as well as team building facilitation. They also offer rappelling, a Survival 101 course and Moonlight Zip Lining (evening). Additionally, in conjunction with Salamander Resort, they offer a Zip & Zen package (zip lining and massages), Zip & Ride (zip lining and horseback riding) and Zip & Sip (zip lining with celebratory adult beverages following zip line experience).
Zip Tips: Views range from 35 feet to 65 feet off the ground overlooking the Shenandoah Mountains in Middleburg. During the fox hunting season, zip liners will see fox hunters on horseback riding through with their pack of hound dogs. Empower Adventures is located on the property of Salamander Resort & Spa. Guests are able to take advantage of everything the resort has to offer as a zip participant.
Register: Guests may book online at EmpowerAdventures.com or by calling 540-692-9471.
Sandy River Outdoor Adventure
147 Monroe Church Rd., Rice
When: Tours are offered year round.
On Course: The high ropes course offers six different course levels that include 60 obstacles and more than 20 zip lines. Yellow, the beginner course that anyone can start out on, is about 15 feet off the ground. A shorter green course has two obstacles and a bigger zip line into the park. The long green is more challenging if you are a beginner. Both green courses are about 25 feet off the ground. Blue is about 30 feet off the ground, and black is the highest course at about 40 feet up. Participants must complete the courses in order but may skip yellow if they are up for a challenge.
Before You Soar: Minimum age of 7 years old and height of at least 48 inches tall. Weight restriction is 260 pounds.
Special Adventures: Any sort of tour can be arranged. Sandy River has hosted special events such as weddings, business parties, family reunions, school field trips and birthday parties.
Zip Tips: If you would like to have an overnight adventure there are four cabins on the property and three luxury glamping teepees. A pool is planned for the future, as well as three more teepees and a pavilion for events. When you book the accommodations, you get 20 percent off any of the activities at the park.
Register: Call 434-392-7275 or book online at SandyRiverOutdoorAdventures.com.
Virginia Canopy Tours
1371 Daughter of the Stars Drive, Bentonville
When: Open seven days a week from mid-March to the end of November.
On Course: They offer one Canopy Tour that takes 2.5 hours to complete. It includes a UTV ride, eight zip lines, a set of air stairs, a sky bridge, two nature walks and a rappel. The highest point on the course is approximately 90 feet above ground level.
Before you Soar: Participants must be at least 10 years old and weigh between 70 and 270 pounds. They must also be able to pass ground school, walk about a mile, and be in reasonably good health. Guests who are pregnant, have heart conditions, back or neck injuries, epilepsy, or other medical concerns that might prevent them from participating should not zip.
Special Adventures: They can accommodate Scout troops, birthday parties, work retreats and more. Two guides will accompany groups of up to nine guests at one time. Therefore, groups larger than nine are sent out in tour groups 20 minutes apart.
Zip Tips: All participants receive individual safety and braking training and are accompanied by two certified eco-trained guides. Zippers are attached to cables by lanyards whenever above the forest floor. All safety equipment is handled by the guides 100 percent of the time.
Register: Visit ZipThePark.com and click on “Rates and Reservations” or call 540-622-2000.
Bear Mountain Ziplines
2354 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray
When: An online reservation system is open from mid February through December. When not open phone or email reservations are available.
On Course: The Mama Bear Zipline Canopy Tour is a 1–1.5-hour tour of seven ziplines, with the tallest being 25 feet. Reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour on 2,700 feet of line through the forest canopy with two experienced guides. The half–1-hour Baby Bear High Ropes Course features 10 obstacles including tow line bridges, cargo net, wobbly log and mini zip.
Before You Soar: Closed-toed shoes required for all adventures. Minimum of 8 years old for Mama Bear and weight of 70–250 pounds. Minimum age of 5 for Baby Bear and weight of 40–250 pounds.
Special Adventures: Discounts offered on Mamma Bear for groups of eight or more.
Zip Tips: Your trip starts with a rustic ride up a mountain road behind the tractor, where you’ll get comfortable with the zipline safety gear and procedures on the training zipline. Professional guides have all been trained according to Association of Challenge Course (ACCT) requirements. Safety is a top priority.
Register: Online at BearMountainAdventure.com or call 540-843-4083.
The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium
801 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach
When: Open year round.
On Course: The three-hour Aerial Forest Adventure has 15 Trails, 21 zip lines, six difficulty levels and almost 200 challenge bridges. At the heart of the park is the main platform with the 15 separate trails heading off and up into the tree tops. Each is color coded, indicating the difficulty of the trail. Like a ski mountain, each climber chooses their own level of challenge. The most challenging trails are up to 55 feet above the ground. The longest zip line runs 315 feet and crosses Owl Creek. A special section of the park, The Labyrinth, provides an ideal climbing environment for families with children ages 5–10.
Before You Soar: Wear well-fitting clothing that won’t hang loose or get tangled in cables or ropes. Sneakers or hiking shoes are recommended. Minimum age is 5. Weight limit is 265 pounds.
Special Adventures: Two-hour birthday parties include a reserved table, T-shirt for the guest of honor and goodie bags for everyone. Groups of 10 or more can reserve starting times with seasonally-available special rates. Local and visiting groups of students, scouts, youth groups, families, co-workers, sports teams, singles, conventioneers, and active adult tours climb in the park. They also provide team bonding and team development programs for corporate clients, community organizations, students, teams and clubs.
Zip Tips: At night, The Adventure Park is lit by low-intensity lights, creating a magical twilight effect. Summer night climbs are an ideal way to beat the heat. Glow in the Park events are lit up with colored lights and feature house music, DJs or musicians.
Register: Visit VirginiaBeachAdventurePark.com or call 757-385-4947.