It’s called a zip line because that’s exactly how it sounds: zzzziiiiipp! But what the word doesn’t convey is the adrenaline rush that ensues as you soar above and between canopies of trees with the ground far below (wearing a helmet and a parachute-like harness clipped to an overhead cable, of course!). Three popular regional ski areas now offer these dynamic zip line tours; here’s where you’ll find them. –Jay Lloyd
SPRING MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES
757 Spring Mountain Rd.
Spring Mount, PA 19478
Like Tarzan and Jane flying from vine to vine, at Spring Mountain in Montgomery County, you’ll soar between towering cable stations more than 40 feet off the ground. Launching from a tall platform requires a leap of faith, but Spring Mountain zip line operator Rick Buckman assures “Zippers” that it’s extremely safe. Staff members check the harness rigs and frequently inspect the cables, which are capable of holding 12 tons. Full tours can last up to four hours and include rappelling, bridges and zip lines that can be booked for groups of six or more. Less-challenging introductory level tours last 30 minutes to an hour. Since zip line rides have become so popular, reservations are a must. You can book for groups of 2 to 20 by calling 610-287-7900, ext. 100.
Operators recommend that participants be in good to moderate health and weigh in between 70 and 250 pounds. You must be able to climb stairs without help. Children must be 10 and older for all canopy tours.
What it costs: Spring Mountain offers a variety of tours grouped by challenge and duration, so prices vary accordingly from $25 to $115. Some tours have an added weekend premium. Check out all the prices here.
Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more. Swing over to the group rates here.
Getting there: From Philadelphia:
Take the Schuylkill Expressway (Route 76) West to the Blue Route (476) North to the Northeast Extension (still 476) to exit 31. Turn right onto Route 63. Take Route 63 through Harleysville, crossing over Route 113. After the 113 intersection, travel approximately 2 miles to Shelly Road. Turn left on Shelly Road. Go 2 miles and turn right on Spring Mount Road, then follow signs to Spring Mountain.
CBK MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES
One Camelback Rd.
Tannersville, PA 18372
As the snow melts away from the ski slopes, the base at Camelback Mountain in the nearby Poconos is transformed into a massive water park. The slopes become merely a pretty backdrop for new and dramatic adventures high above the ground. Imagine being tethered to a 1,000-foot zip line 85 feet above the slopes, and then zooming to the mountain’s base in a breathtaking 30 seconds. But wait—there’s more. CBK’s Treetop Adventure combines zip lines with rope bridges, cargo nets and obstacles. It’s an excursion through a jungle-like course, surrounded by nature and stunning Pocono Mountain vistas. Traversing this course offers a unique and exhilarating challenge.
Children as young as 6 can use the zip lines; ages 7 and up can participate in the Treetop Adventure. Six separate courses of varying levels are available. See where you fit in here.
What it costs: Prices for zip line rides and Treetop Adventure courses range from $15 to $49. You can just show up, but reservations are suggested, especially on weekends and holidays. Look up all the prices here.
Getting there: From Philadelphia:
I-476 (NE Extension of the PA Turnpike) North to Lehigh Valley exit 56 (old exit 33), then Route 22 East to Route 33 North to I-80 West to exit 299 (old exit 45) Tannersville. Then follow the signs to Camelback.
NEW Alternate Route (Avoiding Route 22 through Allentown): I-476 North to the Lehigh Valley exit 56 (old exit 33), then Route 22 East to the first exit (309 South). 309 South becomes I-78 East; proceed on I-78 East to Route 33 North to I-80 West to exit 299 (old exit 45) Tannersville, and then follow the signs to Camelback.
1000 Montage Mountain Rd.
Scranton, PA 18507
The zip line odyssey at Sno Mountain begins with a chairlift ride to the summit, followed by the ascent to the platform, which rises 50 feet above the peak and offers unobstructed 360 degree views of the Pocono Mountains, the distant Endless Mountains and the nearby cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. The scenic view alone is worth the price of admission, but the excitement truly begins when you’re attached to the overhead zip line and swing out into space on a cable that extends over a half a mile and carries riders up to 50 miles per hour. Oh, and if there’s any confusion over the name of this sprawling complex, take note that the name changes from Sno Mountain in the winter to Sno Cove in the summer (when the water park and Ziprider replace skiing and snowboarding).
There’s no age limit to ride the Ziprider here, but weight and height restrictions keep it safe. A rider must be a minimum of 75 pounds and 52 inches tall. The maximum weight to ride is 275 pounds.
What it costs: If you buy a ticket to the water park, a zip line ride costs $10. The zip line alone is $15.
Getting there: From Philadelphia: (Driving Time 2 Hours)
Take I-476 PA Turnpike to exit 115, Wyoming Valley. Pick up I-81 North. Take exit 182, Montage Mountain Road, and follow the signs.
A few tips for zip line rides: Wear sensible clothing, avoiding anything baggy or loose. Shorts and tee shirts are fine. Wear sneakers. Ditch the bling. Remember, you don’t want to be wearing anything that can get snagged.
Also, be aware that Treetop Adventures and overhead obstacle courses are more strenuous than zip lines. Know your personal limits. Now have a swinging time!