World's Coolest Zip Lines

  • World's Coolest Ziplines

    Photo: Jason Soza

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    Hitch a ride on one of the coolest zip lines: you'll be surprised where they'll take you.

    From April 2012 By

    Nothing will shake you out of your daily routine quite like zipping through the air at 85 miles per hour, courtesy of South Africa’s Pronutro Zip 2000, the world’s longest, fastest, and highest zip line.

    Adventurous types know that zip lines deliver an adrenaline rush as well as a bird’s-eye perspective on beautiful surroundings. But there’s no thrill quite like a new one, and operators are continuing to push the limits by introducing cool zip lines in unusual places and at unusual times.

    After the sun goes down in St. Lucia, for example, zip liners are on their way up to the launch platform. AdrenaLUNA lets participants get a peek at nocturnal creatures and feel the special sensation of racing through a jungle by night. The experience includes a scramble up floating steps, a zip through the rainforest from tree to tree, and a rappel back to the jungle floor under the glow of a full moon—and a headlight.

    Another species of nightlife is on parade in Sin City, where you can now clear your head after a night at the casino with a 1 a.m. ride on Flightlinez. Zip liners pass beneath a laser light show set to music (this is Vegas, baby) as they soar through the Fremont Street Experience.

    It’s part of a growing trend of urban zip lines—popularized by a temporary zip line at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics—and a far cry from the early zip line days. They began as a practical means to move bulky items across mountain ranges and even made an appearance in H. G. Wells’s 1897 novel, The Invisible Man. Graduate students in Costa Rica began using ziplines in the 1970s to get close to plants and animals along the rainforest canopy.

    Tourists love that kind of wildlife exposure, too, and some of the earliest offerings began in Costa Rica and other ecotourism destinations. Yet Costa Rica has upped the ante with the launch of the Miss Sky zip line, described as the world’s longest canopy tour—propelling folks over a jungle forest, across a river and a turtle-nesting habitat, and ultimately dropping them on the fifth floor of what will be a disco bar.

    If that doesn’t give you enough of a visual, check out the video clips we’ve paired with each of the world’s coolest zip lines. Then strap on that helmet and harness and take your own leap off the edge.

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    Flightlinez, Las Vegas

    It wouldn’t be Vegas if zip lining didn’t take place at night beneath a laser light show set to music. But before the ride even begins, Flightlinez amps up participants with a psychedelic light show projected on the Viva Vision canopy (who needs the jungle canopy?). After jumping off, you cruise across Fremont Street at a civilized speed of 30 miles an hour—granting 360-degree views of Vegas in its neon glory. $15–$20 or $50 for an all-day pass.
    fremontstreetflightline.com

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    3 of 16

    Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

    Two of the biggest cruise ships ever to set sail have plenty of room for zip lines. So if gazing at the ocean loses its thrill, just head to the Sports Deck for a zip line ride that soars from one end of Oasis of the Seas to another. Not only is it a rush, but it’s also a chance to get a peek at what’s happening across nine decks of the ship. Look forward to a similar joy ride on Allure of the Seas. Free. royalcaribbean.com

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    4 of 16

    Flightline Safari, San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park

    Look out for birds, rhinos, and other creatures as you fly high through the Safari Park. This zip line takes animal lovers as high as 160 feet on a 470-foot run past fragrant trees. And you can relive the experience over and over thanks to the Flightline Helmet Cams that will record your ride. $70.
    sdzsafaripark.org

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    5 of 16

    Toro La Bestia, Orocovis, Puerto Rico

    The nature park Toro Verde, about an hour outside San Juan, injects some audacious thrills into the eco-adventure genre. Case in point: its facedown zip line, Toro La Bestia, sends you flying across a misty 4,745-foot-long, 853-foot-high rainforest valley at up to 60 mph. It could be the most memorable two minutes of your trip. $65. —Adam Graham
    toroverdepr.com

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    Pronutro Zip 2000, Sun City, South Africa

    If you want bragging rights, drive two hours from Johannesburg to the Sun City entertainment complex to conquer the world’s longest zip line: roughly 1.2 miles of uninterrupted thrills. Strapped into the Pronutro Zip 2000, riders soar over rugged terrain as high as 900 feet above the ground. And if that isn’t enough, consider that you’re traveling at more than 85 miles per hour, one of the fastest zip line speeds. $41.
    zip2000.co.za/

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    Haleakala Skyline Tour, Maui, Hawaii

    A father-and-son team launched the Skyline Tour—America’s first zip line—in 2002. The location itself is exhilarating: on the way to the summit of Haleakala Crater, which is thousands of feet above ground and above the clouds. The Skyline’s five zips and swinging bridge pass over forest and hiking trails, and are even certified as a “carbon-neutral” adventure. And there are more zip lines to tackle across Hawaii; on the Big Island, one goes by Akaka Falls. $95.
    zipline.com

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    8 of 16

    AdrenaLUNA, St. Lucia

    Zip lines have become a common feature of the Caribbean, but newcomer AdrenaLUNA provides the special treat of exploring a rainforest by night (available only three days a month around the full moon). Guests scramble up a set of floating steps, zip through the rainforest, and leap from a platform with a Tarzan’s vine onto a nest. When it’s all over, you’ll rappel back down to earth. $79.
    rainforestadventure.com

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    Zip Adventures, Vail, CO

    Get your Rocky Mountain highs along this zip lining tour, available four times daily in summer. It starts with a short trip in a six-wheel-drive Austrian military vehicle that will get you in the mood for a Colorado-style adventure. You’ll then zip across six lines, each strung high above the rushing Colorado River. Expect a few short hikes between platforms. $150.
    zipadventures.com/

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    Gravity New River Gorge Zip Lines, West Virginia

    For unspoiled views of the forests of West Virginia, head to the recently opened Gravity, the longest zip line in the state. Riders soar for a mile over the New River Plateau, past poplar, hemlock, oak, and maple trees and what was once a strip mine. The last of the six zips is the AdrenaLine—perfect for competitive types since it lets two people race against each other at up to 60 mph. $109. newrivergorgecanopytour.com

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    11 of 16

    Miss Sky, Nosara, Costa Rica

    Costa Rica was a zip lining pioneer and continues to raise the bar, so to speak. Consider this—the world’s longest zip lining tour at nearly seven miles (not to be confused with the longest single zip line in South Africa). Most of the 21 runs are at least 1,500 feet long and several hundred feet high and take place within a pristine forest reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys, a waterfall, and river pools. You might need a drink after that adrenaline rush, and soon there will be a disco bar to oblige—opening within a building at the zip line’s final stop. $45–$65.
    missskycanopytour.com

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    12 of 16

    Ziprider, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

    Cruise-ship passengers who dock at Icy Strait Point can opt for an excursion to Ziprider—and might luck out with a bear sighting en route up a mountain to the jumping-off platform. Folks zip along six side-by-side cables at once for more than 5,000 feet. And that’s with a vertical drop of more than 1,300 feet, higher than any zip line in the world. And although the speed can reach up to 60 mph, it’s still possible to spy bald eagles and maybe even a whale. $129.
    ziprider.com/rides/icy-strait-point/

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    13 of 16

    Flight of the Gibbons, Bangkok, Thailand

    The chaos of Bangkok feels more than an hour away when you’re within ancient Chonburi rainforest, the roaming grounds of giant squirrels, deer, monkeys, and elusive gibbons. Here, in between invigorating zips, prepare to take on an aerial obstacle course of 16 challenges, including suspended bridges, spider nets, Tarzan jumps, and flying swings. $105.
    treetopasia.com

  •  

    14 of 16

    Tzuk Manara, Kiryat Shmona, Israel

    The longest zip line in Israel also boasts the most acute angle in the world—a steep 37 degrees—and empowers riders to adjust their speed as they zip along. The attraction is in the Galilee region and delivers views of the Hula Valley, the Golan Heights, and Mount Hermon.$14.
    israel-tours-hotel.com

  •  

    15 of 16

    Arbortrek, Smugglers’ Notch, VT

    Thanks to Arbortrek, guests can take a break from the slopes to glide along six zip lines, walk across two skybridges, and rappel down a descent—even in the middle of winter. The tour provides a gorgeous bird’s-eye view of the Green Mountains and century-old hemlocks, mature sugar maples, and paper birch, all covered in snow. $65–$100.
    arbortrek.com/

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    16 of 16

  • World's Coolest Ziplines

    Nothing will shake you out of your daily routine quite like zipping through the air at 85 miles per hour, courtesy of South Africa’s Pronutro Zip 2000, the world’s longest, fastest, and highest zip line.

    Adventurous types know that zip lines deliver an adrenaline rush as well as a bird’s-eye perspective on beautiful surroundings. But there’s no thrill quite like a new one, and operators are continuing to push the limits by introducing cool zip lines in unusual places and at unusual times.

    After the sun goes down in St. Lucia, for example, zip liners are on their way up to the launch platform. AdrenaLUNA lets participants get a peek at nocturnal creatures and feel the special sensation of racing through a jungle by night. The experience includes a scramble up floating steps, a zip through the rainforest from tree to tree, and a rappel back to the jungle floor under the glow of a full moon—and a headlight.

    Another species of nightlife is on parade in Sin City, where you can now clear your head after a night at the casino with a 1 a.m. ride on Flightlinez. Zip liners pass beneath a laser light show set to music (this is Vegas, baby) as they soar through the Fremont Street Experience.

    It’s part of a growing trend of urban zip lines—popularized by a temporary zip line at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics—and a far cry from the early zip line days. They began as a practical means to move bulky items across mountain ranges and even made an appearance in H. G. Wells’s 1897 novel, The Invisible Man. Graduate students in Costa Rica began using ziplines in the 1970s to get close to plants and animals along the rainforest canopy.

    Tourists love that kind of wildlife exposure, too, and some of the earliest offerings began in Costa Rica and other ecotourism destinations. Yet Costa Rica has upped the ante with the launch of the Miss Sky zip line, described as the world’s longest canopy tour—propelling folks over a jungle forest, across a river and a turtle-nesting habitat, and ultimately dropping them on the fifth floor of what will be a disco bar.

    If that doesn’t give you enough of a visual, check out the video clips we’ve paired with each of the world’s coolest zip lines. Then strap on that helmet and harness and take your own leap off the edge.

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Flightlinez, Las Vegas

    Flightlinez, Las Vegas

    It wouldn’t be Vegas if zip lining didn’t take place at night beneath a laser light show set to music. But before the ride even begins, Flightlinez amps up participants with a psychedelic light show projected on the Viva Vision canopy (who needs the jungle canopy?). After jumping off, you cruise across Fremont Street at a civilized speed of 30 miles an hour—granting 360-degree views of Vegas in its neon glory. $15–$20 or $50 for an all-day pass.
    fremontstreetflightline.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

    Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

    Two of the biggest cruise ships ever to set sail have plenty of room for zip lines. So if gazing at the ocean loses its thrill, just head to the Sports Deck for a zip line ride that soars from one end of Oasis of the Seas to another. Not only is it a rush, but it’s also a chance to get a peek at what’s happening across nine decks of the ship. Look forward to a similar joy ride on Allure of the Seas. Free. royalcaribbean.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Flightline Safari, San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park

    Flightline Safari, San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park

    Look out for birds, rhinos, and other creatures as you fly high through the Safari Park. This zip line takes animal lovers as high as 160 feet on a 470-foot run past fragrant trees. And you can relive the experience over and over thanks to the Flightline Helmet Cams that will record your ride. $70.
    sdzsafaripark.org

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Toro La Bestia, Orocovis, Puerto Rico

    Toro La Bestia, Orocovis, Puerto Rico

    The nature park Toro Verde, about an hour outside San Juan, injects some audacious thrills into the eco-adventure genre. Case in point: its facedown zip line, Toro La Bestia, sends you flying across a misty 4,745-foot-long, 853-foot-high rainforest valley at up to 60 mph. It could be the most memorable two minutes of your trip. $65. —Adam Graham
    toroverdepr.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Pronutro Zip 2000, Sun City, South Africa

    Pronutro Zip 2000, Sun City, South Africa

    If you want bragging rights, drive two hours from Johannesburg to the Sun City entertainment complex to conquer the world’s longest zip line: roughly 1.2 miles of uninterrupted thrills. Strapped into the Pronutro Zip 2000, riders soar over rugged terrain as high as 900 feet above the ground. And if that isn’t enough, consider that you’re traveling at more than 85 miles per hour, one of the fastest zip line speeds. $41.
    zip2000.co.za/

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Haleakala Skyline Tour, Maui, Hawaii

    Haleakala Skyline Tour, Maui, Hawaii

    A father-and-son team launched the Skyline Tour—America’s first zip line—in 2002. The location itself is exhilarating: on the way to the summit of Haleakala Crater, which is thousands of feet above ground and above the clouds. The Skyline’s five zips and swinging bridge pass over forest and hiking trails, and are even certified as a “carbon-neutral” adventure. And there are more zip lines to tackle across Hawaii; on the Big Island, one goes by Akaka Falls. $95.
    zipline.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: AdrenaLUNA, St. Lucia

    AdrenaLUNA, St. Lucia

    Zip lines have become a common feature of the Caribbean, but newcomer AdrenaLUNA provides the special treat of exploring a rainforest by night (available only three days a month around the full moon). Guests scramble up a set of floating steps, zip through the rainforest, and leap from a platform with a Tarzan’s vine onto a nest. When it’s all over, you’ll rappel back down to earth. $79.
    rainforestadventure.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Zip Adventures, Vail, CO

    Zip Adventures, Vail, CO

    Get your Rocky Mountain highs along this zip lining tour, available four times daily in summer. It starts with a short trip in a six-wheel-drive Austrian military vehicle that will get you in the mood for a Colorado-style adventure. You’ll then zip across six lines, each strung high above the rushing Colorado River. Expect a few short hikes between platforms. $150.
    zipadventures.com/

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Gravity New River Gorge Zip Lines, West Virginia

    Gravity New River Gorge Zip Lines, West Virginia

    For unspoiled views of the forests of West Virginia, head to the recently opened Gravity, the longest zip line in the state. Riders soar for a mile over the New River Plateau, past poplar, hemlock, oak, and maple trees and what was once a strip mine. The last of the six zips is the AdrenaLine—perfect for competitive types since it lets two people race against each other at up to 60 mph. $109. newrivergorgecanopytour.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Miss Sky, Nosara, Costa Rica

    Miss Sky, Nosara, Costa Rica

    Costa Rica was a zip lining pioneer and continues to raise the bar, so to speak. Consider this—the world’s longest zip lining tour at nearly seven miles (not to be confused with the longest single zip line in South Africa). Most of the 21 runs are at least 1,500 feet long and several hundred feet high and take place within a pristine forest reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys, a waterfall, and river pools. You might need a drink after that adrenaline rush, and soon there will be a disco bar to oblige—opening within a building at the zip line’s final stop. $45–$65.
    missskycanopytour.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Ziprider, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

    Ziprider, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

    Cruise-ship passengers who dock at Icy Strait Point can opt for an excursion to Ziprider—and might luck out with a bear sighting en route up a mountain to the jumping-off platform. Folks zip along six side-by-side cables at once for more than 5,000 feet. And that’s with a vertical drop of more than 1,300 feet, higher than any zip line in the world. And although the speed can reach up to 60 mph, it’s still possible to spy bald eagles and maybe even a whale. $129.
    ziprider.com/rides/icy-strait-point/

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Flight of the Gibbons, Bangkok, Thailand

    Flight of the Gibbons, Bangkok, Thailand

    The chaos of Bangkok feels more than an hour away when you’re within ancient Chonburi rainforest, the roaming grounds of giant squirrels, deer, monkeys, and elusive gibbons. Here, in between invigorating zips, prepare to take on an aerial obstacle course of 16 challenges, including suspended bridges, spider nets, Tarzan jumps, and flying swings. $105.
    treetopasia.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Tzuk Manara, Kiryat Shmona, Israel

    Tzuk Manara, Kiryat Shmona, Israel

    The longest zip line in Israel also boasts the most acute angle in the world—a steep 37 degrees—and empowers riders to adjust their speed as they zip along. The attraction is in the Galilee region and delivers views of the Hula Valley, the Golan Heights, and Mount Hermon.$14.
    israel-tours-hotel.com

  • World's Coolest Ziplines: Arbortrek, Smugglers’ Notch, VT

    Arbortrek, Smugglers’ Notch, VT

    Thanks to Arbortrek, guests can take a break from the slopes to glide along six zip lines, walk across two skybridges, and rappel down a descent—even in the middle of winter. The tour provides a gorgeous bird’s-eye view of the Green Mountains and century-old hemlocks, mature sugar maples, and paper birch, all covered in snow. $65–$100.
    arbortrek.com/

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