If you’ve ever wanted to escape the clutches of gravity, and rocket through the trees like a hungry hawk chasing his dinner, consider taking a “canopy tour” through a nearby mountain forest. Provided through specially equipped outfitters, this adrenaline-fueled experience begins when you climb to the top of a high platform. Next, a trained “tour guide” securely harnesses you to a long steel cable (or zipline) that’s strung between a series of trees.
After pushing off the platform, you’ll cruise through the forest canopy far above the ground, and arrive at the next platform for a repeat performance. Whether you fly over the forest floor, sweep along a river, or get a panoramic view of the mountains, it’s an experience you won’t forget. Fortunately, you can find some top-notch canopy tours within easy driving distance of Murphy, NC. So choose an enticing tour, pile your family or friends into the car, and get ready to enjoy some quality air time!
RIDGE RUNNER ZIPLINES
750 Wakefield Road, Andrews, NC. 828-421-8119.
RidgeRunner Ziplines is located right in Cherokee County, with its Andrews basecamp just minutes away from downtown Murphy and the Nantahala Gorge. RidgeRunner offers eleven ziplines and a suspension bridge, with some sections 80 feet above the forest floor.
You’ll begin your two-hour tour at the top of a scenic mountain. Two capable guides will harness you up and provide a helmet and leather gloves. Next, you’ll get some “ground school” basics, giving you the confidence to safely operate the ziplines. Note that each time you reach a new platform, the guides will make all your trolley and safety line connections.
Finally, you’ll push away from the platform and fly through the forest. While you’ll travel at a good clip, you’ll be in a great position to enjoy many sights and sounds you can’t see from the ground. When your zipline adventure ends, you’ll be back at RidgeRunner’s basecamp – giving you the perfect opportunity to swap stories over lunch or dinner in nearby Andrews.
NANTAHALA GORGE CANOPY TOURS AND KID ZIP!
Located at Wildwater Nantahala, 10345 Highway 19 South/74 West, Bryson City, NC. Reservations: 866-319-8870.
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours and KidZip! are affiliated with the adjacent Wildwater Nantahala rafting operation. This Nantahala River Gorge complex, located in nearby Swain County, also includes lodgings for families and groups.
Adult Zipline Canopy Tour
The 20-acre adult zipline course features 13 ziplines (including 4 side-by-side ziplines) and eight aerial bridges.
Your three-hour tour begins with “ground school,” where you’ll learn about zipline travel and get comfortable with some easier ziplines. Next, you’ll jump right into the canopy tour, traversing high platforms and getting up close and personal with sky-high trees.
While cruising through the course, you’ll enjoy views of waterfalls, gorgeous Fontana Lake, and even Clingman’s Dome in the distance. If visibility permits, you might be rewarded with a 50-mile mountain view.
If your family includes children from 4-12 years old, and they’re chafing at the bit for their own zipline adventure, KidZip! can treat them to a super-fun two-hour experience. They’ll begin with their own “ground school” session, and then tackle 13 zipline sections targeted to different skill levels. A continuous cable-and-roller system means no clipping and unclipping, allowing the kids to soak up the action with minimal interruptions.
The KidZip! Course includes several tree-based platforms, along with eight climbing challenges, giving your young adventurers a run for their money. In fact, if they really race through the course, they can tackle it again and again within the two hours.
Depending on your child’s age, you might be required to accompany them on the course or serve as a course-side chaperone. Check the KidZip! website for details.
1985 Highway 64, Old Copper Road, Benton, TN. Reservations: 1-877-7ZIP ZIP (1-877-794-7947).
If the Land of Oz sounds like a good zipline destination, Ocoee Zipz will be glad to take you there. Located on 40 acres along the scenic Ocoee River in east Tennessee, this seven-zipline operation offers two hours of Wizard of Oz-themed fun.
Each Oz-friendly zipline highlights one of the major characters in the famous movie. Ocoee Zipz’s certified Flying Monkey Guides will lead your adventure, giving you the basics of zipline safety and brake training before you take to the skies.
Ocoee Zipz offers Land of Oz tours on weekends all year ’round, with private tours available on weekdays. Make your reservations on the Ocoee Zipz website.
Dressing for Your Canopy/Zipline Tour
Although each canopy tour company has its own guidelines, follow these general tips for maximum safety and comfort. First, while zipping through the canopy will be highly addictive fun, you’ll wreck your feet by braking with sandals or flip-flops. So, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended and might be mandatory.
Next, long pants or longer shorts, plus a collared shirt, will help prevent potential chafing problems from your harness and seat. If you have long hair, tie it back so it won’t tangle in the zipline gear. And leave your mobile phones in the car.
Why Good Physical Conditioning Matters
Your canopy/zipline tour will involve considerable air time, but you’ll also be expected to complete short hikes and/or stair climbs between platforms. To minimize your risks, and increase your enjoyment of the trip, you should be in reasonably good physical shape. Also, remember that your weight will affect your momentum along the ziplines. Finally, check your tour operator’s regulations about riding with existing injuries, or attempting the trip while pregnant.
Avoiding That “Lost in the Mountains” Look
When driving to your canopy/zipline tour destination, remember that some Internet mapping and/or vehicle GPS systems get their signals scrambled in our rural locations. To lessen the chances of getting completely lost, bring along a printout of the operator’s directions to the site.
After finishing your high-energy canopy tour, swap stories and photos over a tasty meal in downtown Murphy, NC. Then, make plans for a return trip while the thrill is fresh in your mind.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team