With more than 25 zipline spans, Soaring Treetop Adventures might have the best collection of ziplines on Earth. Some spans reach more than 1/4 mile long.
The San Juan National Forest provides some of the most ruggedly beautiful mountain scenery in the United States. The Animas River carves its way between the towering peaks, and abandoned mines keep the door to a bygone era ajar.
This picturesque landscape welcomes hikers, campers, and anglers who use Durango’s town as the starting point of their various outdoor adventures. But, another type of thrill seeker is also drawn to the incredible natural surroundings. To see them in action, look up.
Soaring Treetop Adventures in Colorado
Located between Durango and Silverton, Soaring Treetop Adventures is the longest ziplines course in the world. Well over 20 separate spans, with a total length of more than a mile, take people soaring through the forest’s treetops and across the Animas River numerous times.
Zipline riders of nearly any age enjoy the canopy tour through the old-growth Ponderosa pines. Among the spans on the course is a recently added 1,400-footer and a pair of side-by-side 600 foot long ziplines, where riders can race their friends.
The Ponderosa pine trees that support the ziplines are a few hundred years old. Due to careful planning and ingenuity, the platforms that support the ziplines and their riders do not harm the trees. No nails, bolts, or metal fasteners of any kind penetrate the bark, and nothing restricts the growth of the trees.
Upon arriving at Soaring Treetop Adventures, guests are fitted with their riding harnesses and given instructions about riding the ziplines. Then, it’s off to the course. The first few spans are shorter and designed to allow riders a chance to get the feel of the ziplines. When the outdoor adventure is about half complete, the chefs at Soaring Treetop Adventures produce a four-course feast that you enjoy on an above-ground platform, with the rushing Animas River providing a relaxing soundtrack.
The second half of the course includes the longest and fastest of the spans. Trees, rocks, and undulating terrain zoom past, and riders cross the river time and time again. This canopy tour ends much too soon, but the outdoor adventure is far from over. The only way to get to these ziplines is an adventure all by itself.
Outdoor Adventure on a Narrow Gauge Railroad
No roads penetrate the old-growth forest in this part of Colorado. The only way to get to the ziplines is on the Durango & Silverton Railroad. Dating to 1880, this railroad build to move people and both gold and silver.
Coal-fired, steam-powered locomotives have changed little in the last hundred years or so, and a ride on the railroad, both to and from the zipline course, is included in the cost of a full day’s canopy tour.
Outdoor Adventure Gift Certificates
For the adrenaline junkie who has everything, Soaring Treetop Adventures offers gift certificates, which can apply to a day’s cost on the ziplines. Only 70 guests can fit on the train on any given day, so call 970-769-2357 to make reservations and get gift certificate details.
Ziplines can find in various parts of the country, including some nice ones at Ace Adventure Resort in West Virginia, but good luck finding one that throws in a round-trip ticket on a 100+-year-old train. Only the trees have been here longer.