When the idea of shooting an episode about ziplining was proposed, I'll admit I was hesitant -- I needed time to think about it. But it wasn't long before I decided to take a leap of faith, and I'm so glad I did. The feeling of flying through a forest's canopy, high above the ground, is just so incredible.
We shot this episode at Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood, the city mostly known for skiing on the eastern edge of the San Gabriel Mountains. The area, with its steep terrain and pine-forested environs, is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to go back. And for those who are looking to zip through the numerous ecosystems in Southern California, we've created this guide for you. Enjoy!
Guide to Ziplining in Southern Cailfornia
As an alternative to your last repel at Navitat, you can choose to do the TruBlue. It's a quick repel that gives you an eight-foot free fall before catching you and lowering you down. If ziplining doesn't get that adrenaline going, this might!
Navitat Canopy Adventures
With 10 zip lines, three sky bridges, one set of sky stairs, and three repels, this three-and-a-half-hour tour is a thrill. When all is said and done, the course gives you 1.5 miles of linear zipping, the longest zip being one quarter-mile long and the fastest zip pushing you to speeds of 55 mph. Added bonus is that guides will teach you about the local ecology and wildlife (maybe you'll even spot a bighorn sheep or bear from a tree platform). Open April through November.
Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour
Avalon (Catalina Island)
Unique to this course are the ocean views and the opportunity to zip at night. One of the many activities offered by the Santa Catalina Island Company, the tour takes you on five zip lines that zig-zag down Descanso Canyon to the beach. On a clear day, you should be able to see the mainland across the San Pedro Channel. Like Navitat, this is also an ecology tour, so you're going to learn about the local environment between zips on this two-hour journey. Open all year.
Action Zipline Tours
In the middle of the forest at 8,200 feet elevation with views of Johnson Valley, this three-hour course takes you through nine zip lines, the longest at 850 feet and topping speeds of about 45 mph. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try going backwards or spin as you fly across. Open all year.
Escondido (San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park)
If you happen to be at San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, here's a different way to experience checking out the animals ("soar like a condor," as the zoo says). This tour is a little different than others because you are in a seat rather than a traditional ziplining harness. Besides a short training zip (or in zoo talk, "fledgling flight"), there is only one zip line to cross, a two-thirds-of-a-mile stretch over the Asian and African field exhibits full of exotic animals, including giraffes and rhinos. Open all year.
How about some wine with your zip? This tour offers four zip lines, totaling about 3,300 linear feet on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch. You'll get panoramic views of the vineyard and the Santa Lucia Mountain Range combined with a tour of the ranch and vineyard. Wine tasting included. Open all year.
Notes for all Zip Line Tours: Before deciding to go, make sure you read all the requirements on tour websites. Most all zips require a certain weight and age range. Prices vary, but are generally in the $100/adult range with lower prices for children.