Asheville is surrounded by millions of acres of forest in every direction. In recent years, outdoor companies have taken advantage of this natural resource by adding ziplining to the slate of local outdoor adventures. Whether you go north, south, or west (or even stay in town), there are zips that offer different levels of challenge. Here are the 5 best....
1. Navitat, Barnardsville, NC
About 30 minutes from Asheville, Navitat has been around since 2009 and is known for its all-canopy based zips. The classic Navitat experience is called the Moody Cove Adventure, named after the secluded valley where it’s located. From the area’s 10 ziplines, ranging from 120 to 1100 feet in length, visitors zip 200 feet above the forest floor. There are two rappelling experiences, two sky bridges, and three short hikes if you want a break between zips. Just last month, Navitat opened the Blue Ridge Experience, with three pairs of “racing” ziplines that reach nearly three-quarters of a mile long, 350 feet above the ground. Friends can zip side by side and "race" each other. A weight range of between 90 and 250 pounds is required to zip at Navitat.
2. Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City, NC
The NOC is synonymous with whitewater in the South. But in recent years they’ve expanded beyond rafting and whitewater kayaking events to include among other outdoor adventures, ziplining. The word Nantahala means “place of the noonday sun" in Cherokee because the Nantahala Gorge is so deep that sunlight only reaches it during the very middle of the day. While the NOC’s headquarters are based at the bottom of the gorge, the zipline adventures are at the top, with views over miles of undeveloped forest land. The half-mile Mega Zip involves almost a whole minute of flying 350 feet above the forest floor. Nantahala offers several zip options, with some for riders that weigh as little as 60 pounds.
3. Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, Asheville, NC
With the distinction of being the only zipping adventure within Asheville’s city limits, Asheville Treetops Adventure Park is located just five minutes from downtown. As the name implies, it’s not just a zipline: there are 60 climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging, and rappelling experiences anchored to over 30 trees and poles. Challenges include balancing on a swinging bridge with slats spaced at different intervals and pulling across a rope rigging onto a platform. Visitors can go at their own pace and stop at the first level or continue on to bigger challenges. The park uses smart belays designed for extra safety, an appealing plus for beginners. Additionally, the park is home to Kid Zip, America's first zipline adventure designed for kids under 10.
4. Boulderline Adventure Programs, Lake Lure, NC
While it’s not necessarily easy to find, Boulderline Adventures , near Lake Lure, is a nice add-on adventure if you’re bouldering or biking in the area. The course, set on a wooded 40-acres, is family-friendly, offering zipping for those within the 40 to 225-pound range. The course takes about two hours to complete. Boulderline has a few unique features including a climbing tour and the hillside giant V-swing which sends guests on a free-swing experience out over a hillside. Another option is the night flight experience for which guests wear headlamps and glow paint so they appear to be glowing lights floating in the darkness. Boulderline specializes in small groups and advance reservations are requested.
5. Sky Valley Zip Tours, Blowing Rock, NC
To get the Sky Valley Zip Tour , visitors take an ATV ride to a remote location and climb towers up to platforms where the adventure begins. There are 10 ziplines about 300 feet above the valley as well as a cliff jump and a swinging bridge. Sky Valley calls their zip a “true canopy tour,” because so much of the action takes place in the treetops. Sky Valley has an age limit of 10 and only accepts zippers between 70 and 250 pounds.