Unless you’re a squirrel or a monkey you probably don’t spend much time gliding from treetop to treetop. But that type of activity really isn’t limited to animals with furry tails; humans too can experience the thrill of flying through the air with the greatest of ease! It may sound like a wild dream but people do it every day in the Hocking Hills.

Located in southeastern Ohio about an hour’s drive outside of Columbus, the Hocking Hills area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The thickly wooded hills are easily explored by land (hiking) by sea (OK, by river in a canoe) and most uniquely by air on the network of zip lines at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours (hockinghillscanopytours.com) in the village of Rockbridge. It’s easy to see why the tour was named “Ohio’s Best New Outdoor Attraction” last year –the generous course of 10 zip lines and five “sky bridges” offers an incredible bird’s-eye view of acre after acre of lush woodland. By the time you finish the course, you’ll have soared over a cave and a waterfall, zipped past fern-covered rock formations and zoomed high alongside the Hocking River.

The first launching site is on a hillside but that zip line takes you to a landing platform in a huge tree and you never touch the ground again until near the end of the course. The lines get progressively longer and faster as you go along and there’s a leap-of-faith line that’s so lengthy that you can’t see the landing platform from where you launch. And the line called “The Screamer” is self-explanatory!

Everything on the course (including the swaying sky bridges) is built to be thrilling but not scary. The guides that are with you up in the trees are well-trained and professional and also very personable, and all of those qualities make it easy for even a first-time zipper to relax and enjoy the rides and the scenery with confidence. The tour finishes with participants using a rappel line to get back to the forest floor where everyone is given a nice certificate for having completed the course. But being back on solid ground doesn’t mean your adventure has to stop!

Just a short drive away in nearby Logan is the ATV playground known as Hocking Hills Nature Trails (hockinghillsnaturetrails.com). ATV riding here is another activity that you can indulge in whether you’re a beginner or very experienced since they have trails suitable for all skill levels and thorough training is provided before you get started. Your big Suzuki King Quad ATV 4X4 will get you through anything the Hocking Hills can throw at you and expert riders will find challenging trails full of twists and turns, ruts, cambers and embankments.

And while you’ll find a few minor ruts on the “easy” trail, it’s mostly a not-too-bumpy voyage through the forest that allows you to appreciate the nature around you, including curious wildlife (The Hocking Hills are full of deer.). All of the trails at one point come to a large open field where riders can open the machines up a little since there is only grass and no obstacles. The field has one area that is especially popular if you want your ride to get rowdy – the mud pit! Many of the trails here have naturally muddy spots, but the pit has been purposely dug for riders to muck through. Needless to say, if you plan on doing this, you need to bring a change of clothes!

Don’t let all the daytime excitement give you the wrong idea about the Hocking Hills; this truly is an area where you can get away from it all if you want. At night it’s so quiet that if there’s a deer nearby eating his supper, you can hear him chewing! The outdoor fun goes on all year in the Hocking Hills, but if you want to ride the zip lines you need to visit from April through November.



For more information, visit 1800hocking.com.