By Micaela Williamson
Updated September 23, 2022. Adventure courses and zip lines are a great way to challenge yourself to take risks and build confidence. Virginians can soar to new heights at these local attractions.
Tree Top Zip Tours by Empower Adventures includes a 20-acre course with interconnected suspension bridges, platforms, and zip lines through the woods of Loudoun’s hunting country. Children must be at least 70 pounds and 7 years old to participate. Those younger can check out the new Kiddo Zip Line, a 200-foot zip line that launches kids from the ground level. Guests wanting an even more unique and challenging experience can take flight under the stars during Empower’s Moonlight Tours (on select dates). Don’t leave hungry — take advantage of the on-site restaurants at Salamander Resort for an after-adventure meal or snack. Salamander Resort: 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg
This recreation hotbed known for rafting, water sports, and camping has taken to the trees. The adventure park features a three-level challenge ropes course. The first level is designed with kids 5-12 in mind, presenting them with just the right amount of mind-body challenge. Those over 10 can test their skills on the middle and upper levels. In addition to the adventure park, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center offers zip line tours that boast “the best views in the area.” Visitors over 70 pounds can tour the two-hour course, complete with seven zips and a sky bridge. You’ll fly through the treetops. 37410 Adventure Center Ln., Purcellville
Another great place for adventures near the Harpers Ferry area, the Aerial Adventure Park at Harpers Ferry features over 100 challenge elements and allows participants to “choose their own adventure” based on level of difficulty. Each trail contains elements such zip lines, rope bridges, ladders, and rock walls to challenge and build confidence in visitors. Little ones ages 4-6 will love the Chicken Little’s course filled with opportunities for kids to climb, crawl, and swing.
The company also operates the Harpers Ferry Zipline Canopy Tour along the scenic Potomac River. With eight zip lines, several belayed ladder climbs, suspension bridges, and a final free fall on the belay, it’s a dream for adrenaline junkies. Plus, kids 5 and older (40 pounds or more) are allowed to participate tandem on several zips. Older children and teens can skyrocket at new Mega Zip Line, racing “Superman style” on a 1,200-foot zip line with speeds up to 50 mph. 408 Alstadts Hill Rd., Harpers Ferry
The newest addition to the DMV-area’s adventure zone scene is Climb UPton, Upton Hill Regional Parks’ 40-foot-tall climbing structure, complete with a grand total of 90 climbing elements. Climbers of varying fitness levels and climbing expertise are welcome – each level has options for difficulty levels of easy, medium, or hard – but kids must be at least eight years old to participate. An entry pass will get you a two-hour timeslot to try your hand at ziplining, swinging, and climbing through the towering structure at your own pace. 6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Explore the urban oasis of Rock Creek Regional Park from a bird’s eye point of view. Go Ape’s treetop adventure course has many challenging obstacles and six zip lines, including the first skateboard zip line in the United States. Participants are required to be at least 10 years old. Make a day out of it by discovering the surrounding hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing opportunities, and boat rentals in Rock Creek Park. 6129 Needwood Lake Dr., Derwood
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Micaela Williamson is a coauthor of local travel guide “Kid Trips Northern Virginia,” an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award-winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.