In 2010 we visited Navitat Asheville for the first time with our church group. Being one that is pretty afraid of heights, I honestly wasn’t too thrilled at the idea, but I decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did.
Navitat was my first zip lining experience, and honestly caused me to become very addicted. We took our older boys last year and they had a blast as well. We’re planning to visit again this fall to zip through the expected gorgeous fall colors.
Up until 2010, we had never zip lined before. We had heard of zip lining, but never tried it. Since then we’ve talked to a number of people about the various zip line options here in Western NC, and the one message we continue to hear is that Navitat Asheville is the cream of the crop.
Navitat is located about 20 minutes north of Asheville NC in Brevardsville, NC. The course consists of 10 different zip lines, ranging from 120 feet to 1100 feet long. The highest being 200 feet in the air, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute. Navitat is incredibly professional and it’s clear from the moment the guides start talking to you that your safety is of the upmost importance to them.
When we first arrived, we entered into the main building, registered, filled out our liability paperwork and waited to get called in to the prep room. We didn’t have to wait long, and two young men, probably mid 20s told us they would be our guides and that we should come on into the prep room. Arranged in a circle were chairs, and below them safety harnesses right about where your feet would sit.
We were immediately impressed with how energetic and friendly our guides where. After a few minutes we recognized this wasn’t an act or a show, these guys really loved their job, and it showed throughout our tour. Our two guides explained how everything would work, showed us the mechanics of zipping and then helped us get our safety harnesses on and secured. They were very thorough and made sure everyone was correctly adjusted and that the harnesses were on correctly.
We then proceeded outside where we hoped on John Deere Gator’s and headed up a fairly steep and rocky trail to the area of the first zip line. We walked down the path to the first platform, and prior to stepping up our guides clipped us on. At this point, I was sweating bullets and a nervous wreck!
One of the things with Navitat Asheville is that once you step onto that first platform you are always connected to a secure line. Your harness has two clips, and one of them is always attached. When you move from one line to another, the clips are moved one at a time. The zip lines themselves can hold around 14,000 pounds, and the clips 5,000 pounds. So you’re definitely safe!
The first zip line is low to the ground and not fast at all. It’s really just a “get you started” zip. These first few zips also give you guide a chance to help you with your technique and evaluate you. As you progress through the 10 different zips, they get progressively higher and faster. The second zip, we were about 10 foot off the ground, and by the 3rd or 4th 60 foot off the ground.
Standing up in those trees and seeing the surrounding woods at “tree level” is really pretty amazing. One of the things I enjoyed almost as much as zipping was the guides telling us all about the history of the land, pointing out wildlife and teaching us how to identify trees. Navitat is also very environmentally conscience. The way they wrap the zip cables around trees is designed to minimize tree damage, and all of the wood from any trees or branches cut down during construction was reused to build the platforms or as mulch for the trails. Impressive.
While going through the 10 different zip lines, you also get to walk across a 2 rope bridges, climb a tree using a log staircase, and repel down from a platform for a water break. Turns out, the repelling was the hardest thing for me mentally, but I did it and had fun.
The highlight of the zip lines for me was about half way through where the zip line is 200 feet above the forest floor! I (Lar) was scared to death, but really enjoyed it. The view was just beautiful and feeling of flying through mid air was breathtaking. What’s really neat is that for the first 25% of that zip line, you are zipping through trees, then all of the sudden the forest floor drops out from you, and you are zipping 200 feet in the air! The tour ends on the last line which is the fastest, and you are almost zipping through a tunnel of trees.
We hated to leave, but knew we wanted to bring our teenagers back.
Last year we returned to Navitat Asheville with our three older boys to zip line again. There are some minimum requirements for children, so please consult the Navitat website for more information. Like me, they were very nervous, but loved it and we had a blast zipping and spending time together.
Given our second trip was almost 2 years later, I expected the equipment to look a little more worn, and maybe the staff not seeming so “upbeat”. Not the case at all. The equipment, staff energy and enthusiasm and friendliness were all still there. Trust me, after the first 15 minutes with the guides, you’ll feel like they’re your best friends. They make the whole experience that much more fun.
Our boys really enjoyed it, and we highly recommend it for teenagers.
Some of you more perceptive types might be wondering why, if we had such a good time, haven’t we been more than 2 times in 3 years. While I totally think the price is 100% worth it, it is a little costly for two parents that have 6 mouths to feed.
If you go during the week, the cost is $89/person. On weekends or holidays the cost is $99/person. They do offer group rate discounts, and a discount for locals (only available on a particular day of the week). The entire experience is about 3 hours and two guides will be with you constantly.
Again, not something we can afford to do very often, but given the high quality of the experience and level of safety, it’s completely worth it.
Here are a few tips we learned during our two trips:
Navitat Canopy Adventures in Asheville, NC is an experience we would highly recommend. We’ll post an update after our upcoming fall trip!
Visit the Navitat Asheville website for more information and to book your trip. They have some great photos.
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