Zip Lining (also known as ziplining) is a sport that has become popular in recent years. Zip lining consist of participants “zipping” between platforms on a series of cables.
Zip line courses can consist of one or many cables that are suspended between trees or man-made structures. Participants (often referred to as “zippers”) are suspended from a pulley that moves across the cable, propelled by gravity. The cables are mounted descending from a higher to lower point. The amount of incline as well as the weight of the zipper determines the speed at which the participant travels from point to point.
Zip line courses can be designed purely for speed (adrenaline rush), while others are designed to allow zippers to enjoy the natural surroundings such as forest, jungle or waterfalls (often referred to as canopy tours). Others employ elements of both.
Zippers: The name given to zip line participants
Zipping: The action of zip lining.
Flying: Another term used to describe the act of zip lining
Guides: Professionals who accompany groups of zippers through the zip line course.
Professional zip line courses offer mandatory training sessions for participants. During the training sessions guides teach participants, proper form, how to take off from a platform, how to land on a platform and how to break/slow down. Depending on the complexity and difficulty of the course, training sessions can take anywhere from a few minutes to a half-hour.
Since courses are built to deliver varying experiences, it is a good idea to research courses to ensure you get the kind of experience that is most appealing to you. It is also important to keep in mind that courses have different age, health and weight requirements, so check with the tour provider before heading out for your adventure.
It is likely you will get all of the gear you need from the zip line operator including gloves, harnesses and helmets. However, many courses do require:
Since courses are almost always outdoors, be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
Be sure you are provided with and wear a helmet, leather/suede gloves (if using your hand to break/slow down) and that the course has a good safety record. Professional US zip line courses often have double cables, ensuring that if one cable is compromised, a second will continue to carry the zipper. It is also important to adhere to all safety requirements given during the training session and to advise guides of any health issues.
Courses have different age an weight requirements, so check with the course operator before heading out on your adventure.
Zip Line courses include:
Tsitsikamma Falls – over gorges across the Kruis River, near Storms River and the Tsitsikamma National Park
Tsitsikamma Forest – in the indigenous Tsitsikamma forest, over ancient yellowood trees, near Storms River and the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Drakensburg – over indigenous forest in the Drakensberg Mountains .
Karkloof – over mist belt forest in the Karkloof Forest Reserve near Howick.
Magoebaskloof – over indigenous forest and ancient mountain cliffs overlooking the spectacular Groot Letaba River gorge, near Tzaneen.
Cape Canopy Tour – in the Hottentots Holland Mountains near Grabouw.
United States of America
Alaska Zipline Adventure, toll-free: +1 740 385-1627.
Sonoma Canopy Tours.
Tamarack Canopy Zipline Tour.
Lake Lanier Canopy Tours.
ZipQuest Waterfall & Treetop Adventure.
Hocking Peaks Adventure Park, St. Rt. 664 South, Logan, Ohio.
Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center, 455 Camp Road, Stevens, PA (PA Turnpike (I-76) Exit 286), ☏ +1 717 738-1490, toll-free: +1-888-353-1490, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday-Saturday: 9:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: 1:00pm-5:00pm. 7 different canopy ziplines
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, 14529 Pocahontas Trail Leander, Texas 78641.
Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours, 24 Camelot Close, Cape Tribulation, Queensland.
Hollybank Treetops Adventure, 66 Hollybank Road, Underwood, Tasmania.
Malolotja – over the pristine mountain wilderness of the Malolotja Nature Reserve.
Zip Trek Park, Alvie, near Aviemore. 14 zip wires over a 2km course.
Zip World Velocity, Penrhyn Slate Quarry, near Bethesda, North Wales. The longest zipline in Europe, over 1600m long.
Zip World Titan, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales. Includes a four-person zipline.