8 unique zipline adventures » Flying in the National Parks

In Southern West Virginia near the National Parks, you can grab a unique perspective of the area’s cavernous valleys and lush mountain tops from a zipline above.

Watch daredevils jump off a nearly 900-foot bridge as you lower yourself on a cable into the raging river gorge below. Swoop from treetop to treetop among ancient hemlocks. Zip straight into a refreshing spring-fed mountain lake. The choice is yours!

Here’s where to take a zipline trip around the SWV Parks:

1. Ride a Guinness World Record canopy tour

ACE Adventure Resort in Fayetteville gives zippers a unique view of the New River gorge area. Spend a few hours following the rim of the gorge on 9 zips and 2 skybridges. Their fastest zip, hilariously named Rigor Mortis, clocks in at 40 miles per hour and is 680 feet long and 100 feet above the rafters below. (Make sure to wave to your buddies in adventure!)

The canopy tour made Guinness World Record history in 2012 for the most people down a zipline in one hour— more than 183 zippers flew down “Sunshine,” a 203-foot cable that reveals beautiful overlooks of the historic ghost town of Thurmond.

As if flying through the trees at up to 40 miles per hour isn’t wild enough, you can also slap on a headlamp and clip into their Canopy Tour at night.

2. Swoop into the waters at ACE Adventure Lake

If a full-on canopy tour sounds like adrenaline overload, don’t worry. There’s a much more low-key option at ACE Adventure Lake, which is basically an inflatable playground on water.

One of the coolest features at this spring-fed mountain lake is their zipline, where the starting point is an almost 40-foot tower and the destination is the water. Walk, run or tiptoe off the edge of the tower and gradually zip over the refreshing lake below. When you hit the water, you’ll make a splash, slow to a stop and swim to the shore (or back for another trip!)

3. Get a unique perspective of Bridge Day

Bridge Day is one of the most unique events in the state— and arguably in the nation.

Want a view of the action as unique as the event itself? We don’t blame you. You (yes, you!) can zip 700 feet from the catwalk, which spans the underside of the highest vehicle-carrying bridge in the U.S. You will end up on State Route 82, deep within the New River Gorge hundreds of feet below.

Enjoy views of stunning foliage leading down to the area’s main attraction, the surging white waters of the New River. Gawk at daredevils as they hurdle from the colossal steel span above, close enough to see whatever emotion splashes across their face as they drift to safety under a colorful parachute.

4. Race your friends in LED gear

Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park is a self-proclaimed “family-fueled, mom-approved, razz-your-buddies, go-big-or-go-home, beginners-always-welcome” way to get down and dirty in Southern West Virginia.

The adventure park boasts a unique ziplining experience. Unlike many of the full-blown zipline tours throughout the state, Burning Rock’s zip, “The Express,” is a half-mile long dual-racing zipline. Watch your friend drool as their face battles with the wind. You’ll be racing them at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour on a 300-foot descent.

More of a night owl? Burning Rock also has night zipping. Let the professional zippers deck you out in an LED vest and wristbands. Flying through the darkness at speeds as fast as a car? Now that sounds exhilarating!

5. Zip from tree to tree on The Ridges canopy tour

The Ridges canopy tour at River Expeditions in Oak Hill will take you across 4 ziplines and 1 skybridge.

It’s just you and the cable as you quietly zip through the forest canopy from treetop to treetop. Grab an extraordinary view of the wildlife and flora in the rugged terrain below as you glide from one landing platform to the next.

Cap it off with a rappel station at the end of the tour, using an auto-belaying device. Chances are, you won’t want to touch the ground after your incredible time among the trees.

6. Traverse a playground in the sky at TimberTrek

Adventures on the Gorge’s TimberTrek Aerial Adventure Park is your own personal playground in the trees. Test your bravery and balance on 5 different courses featuring obstacles like rickety skybridges and ziplines to more than 60 platforms.

There are obstacles for every age and ability, and each tour is self-guided, so there’s plenty of time to think and rethink before making your next move. No worries, there are professional TimberTrekers sprinkled throughout the course to give you a helping hand or a word of encouragement where it’s needed.

If wobbly obstacles in the daytime aren’t giving you your needed dose of adrenaline, then Moontrek is for you. It’s the same aerial obstacle course. But at night. At night in the forest, which means it’s very dark. Lit only by a string of holiday lights. Exciting!

7. Glide among ancient hemlocks on Treetops Canopy Tour

Fayetteville’s Treetops Canopy Tour is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Fly through ancient hemlock trees on 7 different zips and 4 skybridges. Cap the scenic tour off with an extra dose of adrenaline as you rappel from the final station.

Resting on platforms in between breathtaking zips, the knowledgeable guides will give you a quick lesson about the history and botany of the area. The canopy tour was built with conservation in mind, so a portion of the rate goes to help treat, preserve and protect the area’s beloved hemlock forest from Wooly Adelgid, a small invasive insect with the potential to destroy the ancient trees.

8. Ride the longest zipline on the East Coast

Clip into Adventure on the Gorge’s Gravity Zip Lines for a 2-hour “ride in the sky.” Gravity offers a truly unique view of the area’s forests, since it stretches over the bowl of the mountain and above the canopy. The tour starts out with two 500-foot long warm up zips, but before you know it, you’ll be looking down at the trees from cables that stretch up to 1,800 feet.

Gravity goes out with a bang on AdrenaLine, the longest zipline on the East Coast! You’ll reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour and heights of more than 200 feet!

What’s your favorite Southern WV zip trip?

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