So, you’ve decided you want to try ziplining while in Asheville NC. The beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina are a prime spot for a ziplining adventure. There are several zip line tours—some closer to Asheville than others.
My goal is to help you decide, from a local’s perspective, which one is the best fit for you.
A Local's Perspective
Before I give you my local recommendations, let me explain what all these places have in common. All of these zipline tours will almost always go ahead with their tours rain or shine. You’ll want to be there as early as 30 minutes prior to your reservation time, have certain weight requirements (usually 70 pound minimum and 250 pound maximum, and options for smaller kids at some locations), and require you to have close-toed shoes.
The Gorge Zipline
Our first zipline highlight in Western North Carolina, The Gorge Zipline, is a thrilling ziplining experience in Green River Gorge, which is located in Saluda. Most zipline tours in the area, including those mentioned here, stay open only for the warmer months, usually March to November. The Gorge, however, is alone in that it stays open for zipline tours year-round. They stay open Fridays and Saturdays through late fall and winter, so if it’s a balmy day in February and you need something to do, you won’t have to wait till winter is over to enjoy your treetop experience!
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park
If you want to zip someplace that accommodates for small children, you have a couple options. The first one is very near downtown Asheville, The Adventure Center of Asheville. They are also known as Asheville Treetops Adventure Park and they have been dubbed “The best zipline in Asheville.” Truth is, they are the only zipline Asheville has to offer within the city limits.
One benefit of choosing the Adventure Center is they have a course called KidZip, which targets kids ages 4 to 10. The KidZip is a great idea for little ones, as most zipline places require that you be at least 70 pounds to zip. They have several other courses as well: regular ziplines for ages 10 and up, and a shorter express zipline course if you have a limited amount of time. In addition to this, Adventure Center of Asheville has an obstacle course in the treetops and a mountain bike park if you prefer to stay on the ground.
If you choose to try the Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventure zipline course, you will get to do 11 ziplines and zip as fast as 30 mph, while reaching heights of up to 70 feet.
One feature of this zip which could be a drawback, depending on your outlook on it, is the use of hand braking on the ziplines. To zip at this location, fliers must be able to raise their arms over their head to brake and regulate speed. Hand braking isn’t necessarily worse or more dangerous than hands free breaking, it just means you have control because you are the one causing yourself to slow down, although they do have backup brakes as well. There is also often less of a jolt at the end of the zip if you have control of it than there would be with the hands-free method.
Canopy Ridge Farm
Your best bet for an inclusive family experience where all the kids and adults can zip together is Canopy Ridge Farm, the second zipline location which caters to little ones. It’s further from Asheville than the other ziplines, but even the little kids can zip here with an adult. They do what’s called “tandem riders” for smaller children under 45 pounds, which allows them to ride with an older person on all the zips as long as the child is 4 years old or older.
Children from 45 to 75 pounds will do a combination of tandem riding and solo riding on the various ziplines (there are a total of six). This allows the whole family to participate in the experience together, and you’ll find ziplining is just as fun for you as it is for the kids.
While you’re there, check out Relish Food Truck, Canopy Ridge Farm’s food truck which serves both breakfast and lunch options 7am to 3pm, Tuesday to Saturday. This is not a zipline near Asheville NC
French Broad Zipline
To experience something as fun as a treehouse up in the trees while you’re ziplining, look no further than French Broad Zipline. You won’t want to miss the treehouse or the 100-foot-long bridge that leads to it, in between the 10 different zips included in the course. The unique thing about this zipline tour is if you are interested in going whitewater rafting as well, you can do both through French Broad Adventures, and get ten percent off both with their package deal. Multiple outdoor thrills found at the same location only about 25 minutes away from Asheville is hard to beat! French Broad uses hand braking, which they prefer over the slightly jarring feeling which often occurs at the end of hands-free braking ziplines.
Navitat Zipline Asheville
Last on our list we have Navitat Zipline Asheville, my personal favorite choice for ziplining near Asheville. If you are a thrill seeker who really wants an exciting zipline experience, this is your place. Even if you aren’t in this category, it’s still a great place for beginners wanting to try out ziplining for the first time.
The staff at Navitat is friendly and knowledgeable, their zips have a smooth hands-free braking system, and they even have corn hole out front for guests to play while they wait. The best thing about Navitat Asheville is that their ziplines are longer, faster, and higher up than any of the other locations.
Visitors will zoom through the air as fast as 65 mph, and as high up as 350 feet off the ground. It really feels like being up in the tops of the trees with mountains all around, making for breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience.
Whether you choose Navitat’s speedy zips, Canopy Ridge Farm’s family-geared experience, or a ziplining/rafting day at French Broad Adventures, you’re sure to be immersed in the beautiful scenery of Western North Carolina and witness its incredible mountain views. Ziplining is a way to see the mountains from a totally different angle than you ever could anywhere else; instead of being on top of them, you can soar through them!