Zip, Line and Away!

The zipline tour has taken Alaska by storm with four lines operating in the communities of Ketchikan and Juneau and additional tours slated to open in Girdwood and Hoonah next summer. A zipline tour (or a “canopy tour”) is a unique adventure tour that involves being clipped into safety gear consisting of a harness, lanyards, carabineers, and a zip pulley on a heavy-duty steel cable. Once participants are clipped in, trained guides send and receive participants across the cable from one landing platform to the next.

A new spin on wildlife viewing and flightseeing- ziplining offers a stunning sightseeing alternative for those who aren’t satisfied with staying on the ground.

Southeast Exposure in Ketchikan was the first to offer the zip tour experience in Alaska. Soaring above the forest canopy, visitors can embark on the ultimate nature experience by gliding through the rich rain forest canopy along a series of cables suspended between tall spruce, hemlock and cedar trees.

Alaska Canopy Adventures in Ketchikan features seven zips and two suspension bridges. This eco-adventure combines a flight over seven ziplines and 4,500 feet of high tension cables, three aerial bridges and a ground-based network of nature trails and boardwalks. The rain forest reserve embraces one of Alaska’s richest salmon spawning streams creating an abundant wildlife habitat with a high concentration of bald eagles, black bear and a variety of other species.

Alaska Canopy Adventures in Juneau is the same company that operates in Ketchikan, and they do their tours by the Treadwell Mine on Douglas Island, a short boat ride from Juneau via the Gastineau Channel. Alaska Canopy offers the longer of the two tours with zips, swinging bridges and nearly a mile of high-tension cables linking a network of platforms mounted high in carefully selected Sitka spruce trees.

Alaska Zipline Adventures in Juneau is locally owned and operated. The tour starts at Eaglecrest Ski area and transcends into the Tongass National Forest, the largest forest in the Unites States. This tour starts at a higher elevation and focuses on canopy and forest ecology. A perfect tour for rainy days, you will be suited up in raingear and will learn about the fascinating eco-systems of Southeast Alaska through photographs and narrative under the protection of the forest canopy.

The Tlingit native village of Hoonah will soon be home to the fifth zip line in Southeast Alaska. Hoonah is located 1.5 miles from Icy Strait Point, the new port of call for 73 cruise ships in 2006. The zipline is scheduled to open in May 2007 and will be 5,360 feet long and only take 90 seconds to get from top to bottom. Six available lines will allow groups of four to “zip” at the same time.

Related Articles