Take exploring the local autumn foliage to the next level by experiencing it from above the trees. The High Country offers ziplining from locally owned family ventures that are never more than a few minutes away from Boone proper.

Hawksnest Ziplining has more than 20 ziplines in Seven Devils, near Boone, including two zips that are more than 2,000 feet long which allow riders to reach speeds up to 50 mph. Hawksnest offers two different tour packages for all levels of experience.

“We do have the option for a full refund if you zip to the first platform and don’t like it,” said Lenny Cottam, owner of Hawksnest. “Not many do that, though. Wind in your hair, birds flying below you, it’s a great sensation.”

The Hawk Tour is 1 1/2 miles long through trees and over lakes, and it’s ideal for first-timers. The tour is $70 per person and lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete. Children must be 5 years old or older, and riders must weigh less than 250 pounds with a waist no larger than 40 inches.

The Eagle Tour is billed for “thrill seekers” who want higher speeds throughout the 3-mile tour. This tour is $80 per person, children must be at least 8 years of age and riders must be between 80 and 220 pounds or have a waist no larger than 40 inches. Experience is preferred for this 1.5-2 hour tour.

Hawksnest is open seven days a week with tours beginning at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and reservations are required for both tours. Guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes early to their scheduled tour.

High Gravity Adventures in Blowing Rock offers two ziplining packages and an add-on activity. All attractions at High Gravity Adventures are for ages 7 and up, but ages 7-10 must be accompanied by an adult. Tweetsie Rail Road ticket holders can receive a discount when making reservations.

The High Altitude Zip Line Tour is $69 per person between 75 and 265 pounds, and guides control all of the breaking so no experience is needed. This tour lasts up to two hours and builds experience as riders zip. The lines start off shorter and lower to the ground, and they grow as the tour goes on.

The Ultimate Adventure offers three activities for the price of $89 per person. Zip from treetop to treetop, climb at the Aerial Adventure Park for up to three hours, then enjoy the Giant Swing where riders can reach as high as 45 feet in the air. The Giant Swing can be added on to any High Gravity Adventures Activity for $19 per person age 7 and older.

In the ziplining tours, High Gravity Adventures also features the Dropzone, which is a 70 foot optional free fall for those who want to take the leap at the end of the line. There’s a slower alternative way back down for those who aren’t yet ready for the free fall.

Sky Valley Tours offers a 1,600-foot-long zipline, lovingly called Big Mama, that allows riders to soar through the valley. Beforehand, Sky Valley educates visitors on the best safety practices and provides an ATV Ride through the river and to the course. The Canopy Tour is $85 per person over the age of 18, and tickets are $75 person age 10-17. This tour lasts for about three hours.

At the heart of the tour is the cliff jump, followed by a swinging bridge that is 50 feet above the lush forest ground. This tour perfect for taking in views from new heights and can be combined with other aspects of Sky Valley to extend the fun. Riders can add Zip and Sip to the tour to quench their appetite after the course. Tour tickets become $91 per person when adding Zip and Sip to the package, which is exclusively for ages 21 and above.

For adventurous children age 4 and older, there is a Kid Zip option that includes seven ziplines, a bridge and a slide through the forest. Participants must be able to reach up and touch 48 inches above them, be between 4-18 years of age and be under 5 foot 6 inches tall and weigh less than 180 pounds.

This two hour long adventure is $45 per person, and there is a $35 per person rate for residents of Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties.

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