Ziplining in Ohio: Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

Zipline courses have popped up everywhere over the past ten years—and Ohio seems to add new ones constantly.  So, why had I not ventured out for a zip?  Literally, every time I plan to schedule a zipline tour—I get sick.  Once it was bronchitis.  Another time it was strep.  Then, there is always the problem of finding someone willing to go with me.  75 plus feet off the ground, dangling from a wire, isn't “fun” for most of my family and friends.  I finally did it!  I scheduled a trip to visit the Hocking Hills—and just had to experience the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.   How was it?

The Arrival at the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.  We arrived and checked in at the clubhouse—then signed our waiver forms and made one last restroom visit.  It was the weekend before Halloween, so most of the staff was dressed in costume for the occasion.  One guide was especially into the spirit—his long blonde wig was only slightly rivaled by his "strapp"y black heels.  It was time for our group to venture out.

The Orientation.  We lined up along a bench with our gear all laid out before us.  It was incredibly organized.  All nine of us were harnessed and strapped into our zipline gear in minutes.  We were then shuttled to the training area:  a mini zipline, several feet off the ground, that was designed to let us give it a little try—and learn how to finish a zip if we didn't quite make it to the end of the line. 

The “Bunny Zips”.  The first couple of ziplines were mild, like the bunny slopes at a ski resort,  to let us get our “zipping” skills honed a little.  The guides were wonderful.  There was not a moment of silence—between giving us tidbits of info about the area and joking with those in the tour group—they really put everyone at ease and made it fun.  Of the nine of us, only four had zipped before—and we all needed a little comic relief at the onset!

The ziplines—and the scenery.  Some of the lines disappeared completely through the trees, others took us along the Hocking River, and others parked us in the tops of amazing beech trees.  We were there about a week too late to experience much of the fall colors of the Hocking Hills—but, even the treeless landscape is amazing.  As a side note, I think this is a great exercise in trust and team building—you really do need to let go and put your trust in the guides.  I followed Jake the guide’s braking instructions to the second and only had to pull myself in a few feet one time—they are really good at what they do and they certainly have patience like none other!

A Rappel to the Ground.  The tour ended with a short rappel to the ground—which oddly enough, was met with the most resistance and reservation from a few of our group. 

Zipline Graduation.  After a quick snack and a short ride back to the Clubhouse, we received personalized graduation certificates in a quick little graduation ceremony.  Again, the guides couldn't have been better—they kept it fun and entertaining until the very end.

Our final thoughts on the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours?  It was well organized, the guides were fun and professional, and the scenery was wonderful.  I think it’s an activity that anyone healthy enough to visit is capable of enjoying.  They even operate a Dragonfly line for younger zipliners who just aren't quite ready for the adult sized version.  We loved it--and we will certainly zipline there again when we are "in the neighborhood"!

A few tips if you go:  
Dress for the weather—they really do zip rain or shine and the tours run begin in early spring and run through the end of November.  It gets cold in Ohio in early spring and late fall with little warning!  

Wear appropriate shoes—while there isn't much hiking required--there are tree roots and rocky terrain that beckon for trips and spills if you are wearing the wrong shoes.  

You can take a small camera—just make sure it has a strap that allows it to be secured via a little tether cord to your harness.  

Bring cash for guide tips—you will want to tip them—they are awesome.  

Be ready to laugh at yourself a little—and relax.

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