Grant's Getaways: Southern Oregon zip line
The sound gives it away –– a distinct, whirring and metallic noise as a dozen steel rollers spin across a thick cable.
It’s a high-wire act that lets you soar over tree tops and leave all your troubles behind on the Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure.
It’s a ride that requires you “gear up” for safety, so zip line guides Steve Carlino and Katie Fawkes showed us the ropes of handling a harness and helmet before leading you up a short trail to zip line number one.
As we walked toward the first zip line, called “Bunny Hop,” (it offers newcomers a short practice ride to get the feel of the flight) Carlino, a 10-year zipping veteran, was sporting a beaming smile and said, “Our biggest rule for the day is to have fun guys!”
It’s hard not have a blast when you ride across 2700 feet of high-wire zip lines through and above scrub oak and pine in the arid climate of Jackson County, just outside Gold Hill, Oregon.
As our small troop of zippers, led by Fawkes, rode the practice run without a slip, she said, “Ok – the easy part is done – now we zip above the canopy of trees and enjoy the views we were talking about earlier. Welcome to Southern Oregon!”
The zipping speed can reach 50 miles an hour or more – Carlino said that’s a fact not lost on some first-timers.
“We do get some folks who are a bit nervous about both speed and height,” she said. “They’ll say, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this,’ but by end of the run they say, ‘Wow, let’s get going. I want more.’”
Each of the lines (They are numbered 1-5 and get progressively longer and higher), allow the zippers to gain more and more confidence.
Katie said she loves it when she hears the zippers scream.
“I do, because I know they are out of their comfort zone,” she said. “I was out of my comfort zone when I first tried it too, but that’s when amazing things happen. I grew and gained more confidence. I’ve been guiding here ever since!”
Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure is the brainchild of owner Lindsey Rice, who zipped her first high wire in Hawaii.
As she flew through the air above Oahu, she thought, “We’ve got better views back in Oregon!”
So, six years ago she built the Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure across 83 acres that she owned. The longest zip line is over a quarter-mile long and takes advantage of something special.
‘Oh, it’s all about the views – they are beautiful,” noted Rice. “You look down and across to both the Upper and Lower Table Rocks, you can see Mt. Mcloughlin and even the rim of Crater Lake.”
Newcomer Jessica Sites agreed.
“I almost wish I could have stopped in the middle of the last run to admire the scenery…sort of hang out for a bit and check it out – it was gorgeous,” she said.
There’s more: Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure is open to everyone!
“We are ADA-friendly,” said Rice. “We do whatever we can to accommodate all folks who come out. They may be in wheelchairs or they may be blind -- even grandmothers in their 90s can go zipping with her grandkids. We encourage the entire family to come out and enjoy this fun activity together.”
You can learn more about many of Grant’s favorite Oregon adventures in his new book: "Grant's Getaways: Guide to Wildlife Watching in Oregon."
Grant's Getaways is produced in partnership with Travel Oregon, as well as: