/ The Atlanta Traveler
Atlanta — By Linda Erbele on March 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm
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Forget the passport – take a canopy tour in Georgia

There are several zip line adventures within a few hours drive of Atlanta — two within the state and three just across the state line.  Historic Banning Mills Eco-zip line Canopy Tour is listed among the top ten zip line tours on www.Americasbestonline.net. Banning Mills is located in Whitesburg, about an hour and a half west of Atlanta on I-20. Take the “Flight Pattern” Tour or the “Flight Pattern Plus.” If you really have no fear, go for it with the “Full Extreme Adventure” which includes the “Screaming Eagle,” a half-mile long high-speed zip down the middle of Snake Creek Gorge.

Rest assured that you don’t have to be an athlete to do this — but you’ll feel like one afterwards. You need to be able to lift your arms above your head. (That guides the direction you face as you zoom along, hundreds of feet above the ground.) You should be able to climb several flights of stairs. You’ll wear a harness and helmet and be securely fastened to the cable by trained guides. Still on the platform, you can test the security of your connections, then step off into the trees when you’re ready. Most tour companies start you with a fairly short, not-far-off-the ground zip to begin with, so you can quit at the beginning if it scares you too much. (But you probably won’t get your money back!) If your kids are over ten and weigh more than 70 pounds, this is a super way to create lifetime memories during spring break.

Georgia’s newest canopy tour opens next month in Lula, just above Gainesville (an hour to an hour and a half north of Atlanta. See map.) North Georgia Canopy Tours has dual lines (so you zip with a buddy if you like) and opens its Sky Bridge Tour (two hours, eight zips, two sky-bridges) on April 1. Then on April 16, they will open the Adventure Tour (twelve zips, two sky-bridges and rappelling.)  Their tours include ravines, ponds, pastures and the North Oconee River.

Wildwater, Ltd., the company you may be familiar with through its whitewater rafting adventures offered since 1971, (see my post about the Chattooga River here) has three Canopy Tours — Chattooga Ridge in Long Creek, South Carolina (two and a half hours from Atlanta, see map) Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours near Bryson City, North Carolina (see map) and Plumtree Canopy Tours at the Toe River Lodge in Plum Tree, North Carolina. (Over three hours from Atlanta. See map.) Chattooga Ridge is the company’s newest adventure, and it features a helicopter hoist to the tree tower.

(Photo: Courtesy Wildwater, Ltd.)

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