Visitors to the scenic Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls can put a little zip in their sightseeing.
Zip-line riders travel on four cables varying from 320 feet to 1,750 feet in length. They wear a full-body harness that is attached to a pulley that rolls along a descending cable. The rider steps off a platform and rolls the length of the cable while suspended in midair.
Riders hoot, holler and spread their arms mimicking birds, or lean backwards as they fly along.
At the start of the tour, guides help guests put on their harnesses and helmets and everyone practices swinging in the harness while connected to a cable strung between two posts.
The warm-up demonstrates the security of the full-body harness and equipment.
The tour lasts about two hours and starts with a shuttle ride on an open-air flatbed trailer with bench seats.
While en route to the first zip line, a guide talks about the wildlife, geology and history of the area.
Jody Tatum, co-owner of Zip The Snake, said the information will vary to match the season.
Accessing the zip lines requires a short walk on trails and steps up onto a dirt and stone mound or metal platform. The guide hooks the rider onto the overhead cable.
The ride down the cable is smooth and thrilling and ends with a feet-first landing on an elevated mound at the other end.
A guide stationed at the end of each cable slows the rider and then assists him or her off of the cable.
On the last and longest cable, riders start on two parallel cables and race each other to the landing zone. The ride takes about 1 minute.
Tanya Valdez of Twin Falls recently took the tour.
I loved it, it was fun, and I would come back again, she said.
Melissa Hessen of Jerome suggested the zip line tour as a fun date with her boyfriend.
Its not something you can do every day; its not your typical dinner date, she said.
Her favorite part was intentionally riding upside down.
Zip The Snake co-owners Tatum and David Fairbanks originally planned a rim-to-rim electronic motorized trolley ride but adjusted their idea.
By process of evolution, the project changed to a traditional gravity zip line aerial trail, said Tatum.
Construction started in March and tours began in June.
The tours location near the city and the ease of accessing the zip lines makes it a convenient adventure for all ages.
Bring the whole family, Grandma included, Fairbanks said.
The oldest rider so far has been a 101-year-old woman.
Tours depart several times daily and are available year-round. No experience is required.
Minimum age is 3, though guests need to weigh between 40 and 300 pounds for safety reasons.
If a child weighs less than the minimum, he or she may double-up with a parent or guide.
Close-tied shoes are required, and tennis shoes or light hiking boots are recommended.
You will be strapped into a harness and gliding at high speed, so dresses and skirts are inappropriate.
There is no shade on the tour, so wear sunscreen and sunglasses, and a secure hat is advisable.
During summer, consider booking an early or late tour for cooler temperatures.
Natalie Bartley: email@example.com
GO DO IT
A tour costs $60 per person or $225 for four people. Other group discounts are available. Tours run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with flexible tour times. Reserve online or by phone. Walk-ins are placed on a tour within an hour of arrival.
Tours start at Canyon Springs Golf Course Clubhouse in Twin Falls. For directions, go to zipthesnake.com or call (208) 539-3486.
Zip The Snake is one of three line tours in South and Central Idaho. Others include:
- Zip Idaho, Horseshoe Bend, (208) 793-2947, zipidaho.com.
- Tamarack Canopy Zipline Tour, Tamarack Resort-Donnelly, (208) 325-1006, tamarackzipline.com.
First reported at IdahoStatesman.com