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New Way to Take in Fall Foliage: On a Zipline!

The Catskills Mountains are a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and a great place to soak in the best of fall, with picturesque hiking and horseback riding trails, quirky antique shops to explore, and gourmet restaurants and markets. But if bucolic tranquility isn’t enough to get you pumped for fall, I’ve got a suggestion for all you thrill-seekers out there.

Hunter Mountain is a popular spot in the winter with skiers and snowboarders in the northeast, but it's also home to the largest Zipline course in North America, with 4.6 miles of runs at higher than 600 feet in the air. I sought out the ultimate thrill not too long ago, with New York Zipline Adventure Tours’s Skyrider course, which includes five dual runs (so you can challenge the person opposite you to a race), a 500-foot jungle bridge, and a self-powered Zipline, where "take off" means taking a running jump into thin air on a downhill slope.

No matter your skill level, you’ll swing through the air at up to nearly 50 miles per hour after take off—and can I just say, it's a pretty sweet ride.

Here’s the drill: arrive in the morning, and meet your group. Your instructors will fit you with a stylish helmet, and fashionable harness (it's heavier than it looks). Then you’ll drive up to the training grounds while the convivial guides try to loosen up the crowd.

First stop? A vintage-looking lodge and clubhouse in the middle of the mountain decorated with antique skis and poles. Welcome to pilot training school. This is where your instructors will teach you the dos and don'ts of Ziplining: “Don’t put your hand here while you’re ziplining, because it will be swiftly chopped off” and “Balance yourself like this if you want to maximize your speed,” – that sort of thing. Once everyone is comfortable enough, you’ll hit the first, and most nerve-racking zipline—it also happens to be the longest—at 3,200 feet. (I didn’t make it all the way to the end on this one, and had to be reeled in by one of the instructors—it was only slightly embarrassing.)

After the first line, it's smooth sailing through the rest of the course, where you can work on your form. I was particularly a fan of the Superman pose.

If you'd like, check out this video for some real, Zipline footage!

Prices range from $89 to $119, and the company recommends calling ahead to reserve a space.

Marguerite A. Suozzi is an Assistant Research Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Video courtesy of Marguerite A. Suozzi

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