Taking to the sky: all thrills, no skills

From scenic treetop tours to full-speed side-by-side rides, Michigan offers a pick of zip-line excursions.
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Twin Zip Boyne Mountain Resort
Photography courtesy Boyne Mountain

First contrived for practicality in mountainous countries and popularized for fun in Costa Rica as “eco-tourism,” zip-lining takes harnessed riders across a suspended cable from one point to another with the greatest of ease — and speed, depending on chosen adventure.

“There’s something about the adrenalin rush of flying through the trees that appeals to the inner kid in everyone,” says Todd Wright. 

Wildwood Rush Zip Line Canopy Tour Bridge
Photography courtesy Wildwood Rush Zip Line Canopy Tour

The Boyne City-based builder knows the feeling. In 2011, he and East Jordan builder/partner Andy Poineau opened Wildwood Rush, a vast system of zip lines, tree platforms and suspension bridges they crafted with environmental care near Young State Park to share unique views of Lake Charlevoix and surrounding terrain. While participants can pick shorter zip trips or speed up to 40 miles per hour on a 1,200-foot triple racing line, Wildwood’s premier offering is a 21/2 – to 3-hour full canopy adventure led by safety-oriented guides who engage up to eight guests per tour with area insights and humor.

Both guide training and the course meet Association for Challenge Course Technology standards.

Wildwood Rush Zip Line Canopy Tour
Photography courtesy Wildwood Rush Zip Line Canopy Tour

“It’s usually the beauty of the Northern Michigan forest seen from a different perspective that brings the most comments,” Wright notes. “That, and the wind-in-your-face, heart-thumping, yee-haw ride that goes along with it!”

Resorting to New Heights

In Boyne Falls, the Zipline Adventure at Boyne Mountain offers rushes of its own — including tips (if desired) on how to zip sideways, inverted, backwards and upside down. This 21/2 – to 3-hour guided tour encompasses up to 4,300 feet of lines routed through the trees and across the slopes at Boyne Mountain, which also offers a Twin Zip Ride:

Wildwood Rush Zip Line Canopy Tour

Starting at the base of Meadows Lift, soar over a resort road, fountains, pond and trees before landing 25 feet above the lawn at Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa.

Catch more air at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, where Michigan’s longest zip-line journey of 1,350 feet descends over 50 stories from a mountaintop and another Twin Zip adventure awaits. 

Learn more about these excursions at:

boyne.com and wildwoodrush.com;

discover others at ziplinerider.com/Michigan_Ziplines.html.

— Lisa M. Jensen, Michigan BLUE Magazine. 

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