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|West Virginia: Daniels, ACE Adventure Resort – Guided Zipline Tours for Family Adventure.
It’s not just about whitewater rafting anymore even though the New River and the Gauley continue to provide ways for families to share awesome adventures. Now at ACE there’s a chance to soar like a bird through the air with your 10-year-old.
ACE's Zipline Tour is a popular mountaintop adventure for families seeking earth friendly thrills because the hang and glide experience is suitable for first-timers and experienced thrill seekers. Located in the heart of the New River Gorge, the network of ziplines allows riders direct access to the cliff side area and the private rock climbing areas where participants can clip on and zip from cliff to cliff. The all-season customized route accesses a series of zipline perches making it is possible to look down into the ancient New River Gorge more than 800 feet below.
Fly like Peter Pan and Wendy. It is true that Peter and Wendy did not wear padded, full body harnesses but the rules are different in West Virginia. The ACE system of ziplines uses a gravity braking system which means it both hands-free and worry-free. During the glide there is no need to worry about controlling the pace – gravity determines the speed. Like river rafting, with ziplining no two trips are alike. The time of year, time of day, and who is in your group create each unique adventure.
Here’ the scoop. After fitting the equipment and leaving the Climbing Barn, there’s a short 5-minute drive on property to the Climbing Area and the launching site for ziplining ACE style. For first timers there’s a practice zip, only a few feet off the ground with hands-on instruction.
And you’re off. Zip 1: The first zip, perched on top the Entrance Climbing Area, is just over 200' long and 40' high. It is calibrated (angled) for moderate speeds, giving a great introduction to the soaring experience. This is the overlook vantage point yields a terrific view into the Rush Run Canyon and the Gorge. Wintertime and early spring always provide the best views.
Going up to Graybeard.
Zip 2: The second zip steps it up with a much steeper angle. It takes you flying through the air on a 240' breathtaking ride from White Wall to Natural Arch rock formations. Following the cliffs nearly 60' in the air, the course passes next to a giant old Hemlock, affectionately known as Graybeard. There are two spectacular overlooks here. The more scenic one provides an excellent view of Historic Thurmond, an old railroad town with legendary history and characters; it's the last town still surviving in the gorge. The other overlook peers downstream into the gorge, toward Fire Creek where the ruins of many old ghost towns can be found along the river's edge. Go as the crow flies.
Zip 3: This is a challenging 140' zip that soars out to Crow’s Nest, a tree platform located over 60' in the air to provide an awesome bird’s eye view of the surroundings. This is one of the most popular landings where you will clip directly into the next zip.
Leap into “Middle Earth”. Zip 4: The "Leap-of-Faith" zip begins with a jump off Crow’s Nest perch, speeding you 145' toward the Middle Earth Climbing Area. There are huge overhangs and tall climbing routes here that many guests use when learning to rock climb.
Short and sweet. Zip 5: Over 135' feet long, this is the shortest zip with one of the more interesting landings near surrounding steep cliff lines. After landing it is a short hike to "The Plunge" Zip.
Take the plunge. Zip 6: Featured on the Travel Channel, THE PLUNGE is not- to-be-missed for thrills. Measuring more than 350 feet in length, this unique zip starts participants out sitting on the edge of the launching platform. Once comfortable with the idea soaring from this spot, each person simply edges off the platform and plunges into the air often screaming just before the attached zipline catches.
Zip the steep way home. Zip 7: The last zip is a steep ride that offers speeds similar to The Plunge. Only 20' feet off the ground, this 300' zip parallels the gorge, landing at the River Road Climbing Area. Another great overlook here provides views over the edge and down to the climbing area below. A short hike up to the road ends the incredible adventure.
Zip 8 & Zip 9: When ACE created the first canopy tour in the state they wanted something different - something unique and with 1,500-acres they had plenty of options. In ACE fashion, they planned to build the canopy tour in stages with the vision of making it the biggest and the best. Stage one has been successful. ACE will be doubed the zip tour route in 2010 and in doing so added the longest, fastest and highest single zipline in West Virginia measuring more than 1,200' feet long and hundreds of feet in the air.
The longest zip now measures 680 feet and runs along the lip of the mountain with providing thrilling New River and Gorge views.
More to come.
Stage one started out on private cliffs along the side of the gorge.
Stage two will be phenomenal allowing participants to cross and re-cross the Rush Run Canyon. Beyond 2010 expect stage four - already on the drawing board. The vision to keep adding to the zipline course until it is the most incredible canopy tour in the country.
If your family bonds over adventures then adding ziplining to the mix is ideal – for high energy teens a must. Ziplining causes many reactions from scarred silly to laugh out loud but in all cases fun is part of the mix. You or your kids may cream “holly molly” the first time but undoubtedly you will find the fun ended too soon. ACE makes it is easy and rewarding to share adventures with your kids. Because everything is right there on the grounds, it is easy to arrange a zipline adventure; go rafting on two rivers or have our own kayak clinic; go mountain biking or try rock climbing; enjoy horseback riding or embark on an ATV quest. And it’s even a good place to simply chill out. For us it remains an awesome family vacation spot because it is a stress free zone any time of the year. During the colder months there’s less to do but more time to bond. And the low season rates provide the perfect excuse to go ziplining, hiking, or mountain biking. The professional staff at ACE can take care of everything from start to finish - reservations, guides, food service, lodging, transportation. Make it happen.
Check them out on FACEBOOK.
ACE Adventure Center and Resort. Oak Hill WV, 25901. Toll-free 1-888-ACE-RAFT (1-888-223-7238), (304) 469-2651 or www.aceraft.com
Content provided by ACE. Images provided by ACE and Scott Kamps-Duac. Comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Founder & Editor FTF. Copyright 2013.