Guests must be clipped in at all titmes on the course // © 2017 Josh Friedman
Feature image (above): A zipliner zooms across the pond on the course's last and longest zipline at 600 feet. // © 2017 Denali Zipline Tours
With more than 650,000 square miles of land, the opportunities for discovery in Alaska are endless, but nothing compares to soaring at 40 mph through trees and over mountain ponds.
Located in Talkeetna (about a two-hour drive north of Anchorage), Denali Zipline Tours offers an excursion that includes three suspension bridges, one rappel, a spiral staircase and nine ziplines. Requiring a minimum age of 10 years old, this activity is an excellent choice for families, while still being thrilling enough for all ages.
“People from all over the world put ziplining high on their bucket lists,” said Bailey Stevenson, the lead receptionist for Denali Zipline Tours. “Our company is proud to offer guests a once-in-a lifetime trip zipping through the canopy of the Boreal Forest in rural Alaska.”
We started our adventure in the quaint town of Talkeetna, which I highly recommend exploring before or after the tour. It was only a short ride from there to the course, where we were greeted by Denali Zipline Tours’ guides. After a brief lesson and a bit of practice (or “kindergarten zip,” as the guides called it), we were ready to go.
Along with my friends and me, there was a family of four in our group including a thrill-seeking 10-year-old girl and a slightly apprehensive mom. The guides were encouraging to everyone, pushing us to get out of our comfort zones, while still being accommodating to the tentative members of our group.
Additionally, being in a small group with two guides made the tour feel very personal; throughout the course, the guides shared interesting stories and fun facts.
Blessed with clear weather, we were rewarded with unparalleled views of the Alaska Range, including Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley), the highest peak in North America. As we progressed through the course, the zipline sections got faster and longer. What really sets this course apart from many ziplines is the lack of lag time between stops; it’s an action-packed tour from start to finish. Despite the fast pace, there was still plenty of time to soak in our surroundings.
The final 600-foot zipline — the grand finale of the tour — did not disappoint. As we soared at 40 mph through the trees and over a reflecting lake, this zip provided a one-of-a-kind experience that only Alaska can offer.