Thursday, July 05, 2012


My daughter Emma, (seen zipping away above), gave me a trip to the Canyons Zipline and Canopy Tours near Ocala, Florida this year.
Now, my birthday is in January, but we were so busy with school, we just never had a chance to go play ... until this week.

Oh my, oh my ... This place is TOTALLY AWESOME.

Just the scenery alone, is worth the trip. 

I love my home state, but she's flat as a board folks.
We get a few soft mounds on the central ridge and again in the panhandle, but mostly, there is no relief in sight.

The Canyons are different.

Set in an old limerock quarry, the Canyons Zipline property is just spectacular with valleys, canyons, vertical limestone cliffs, and lakes.

If it weren't for the cabbage palms, you would not think this was Florida at all.

Neither Emma or I had ever zip lined before, so we didn't know exactly what to expect, but everything about that day exceeded our expectations.

Our two zip line guides, "Jonesy" and "Rob" were funny, safety conscious, and just a heck of a lot of fun to be around.

(When you go, be sure and give them a little extra tip ... I didn't think about that ahead of time and had a total of $4.00 in my wallet. They deserved better.)

The guides kit you out with the safety harness and give you a short tutorial on a tiny zip line and then its off to the races.
The zips start out small for the first two.

After that they get pretty dang A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

This is the view as you break out of the treeline, pass over a cliff, and head out over the lake.

See those cliffs!
This is Florida?

Looks more like Arkansas.

This is the view from the highest platform in the park. According to Jonesy and Rob, this is the longest (1100 ft) and fastest zip line in Florida.
At this point, you are 130 feet above the lake.

And there goes Emma!

Here's my view as I leave the 130 foot tower.
All the photos on this post are video captures from my GoPro camera.
I know this sounds like a commercial, (it's not), but this little GoPro Hero is absolutely a fantastic little camera.

I thought I was going to have to use my head mount strap for the GoPro, but The Canyons has some of their helmets outfitted with standard GoPro mounts so you can just snap your camera to the helmet.


Its not all zip lining, there is a bouncy fun rope bridge that crosses a chasm.

This is called a "self rescue".
If your momentum doesn't quite get you to the next platform, you just spin around and hand over hand pull yourself those last few feet.

This only happened to me once on the 1100 foot zip.

Its effortless, so stop worrying.
All day long, the safety harness and zip equipment did all the heavy lifting.
You can do it.

After the final zip, you wind up on a platform, high above the ground with no way down but rapelling.

This too is effortless.
Once again, you are in control, but the rope and hardware are doing all the work.

Going down.

All in all, I think we did 9 different zips, plus the neat rapel at the end.
Emma and I were the only ones on this late afternoon tour, so we had no waiting and no delays.
As a result, our tour time was a little quicker than most, but that beats waiting in line any day. Tour groups are up to 8 people and a full one takes longer.
Rob and Jonesy (our guides) were up front about this when we first met, since the brochure mentions 2-3 hours.

You can get all the particulars at the website.

Dress comfortable and the rest is up to the Canyon folks.

I'm posting about it here on Pure Florida because it truly was a quality experience.
And, it was a real experience, as opposed to the superficial NonPureFlorida MouseWorld experience.

The price isn't cheap, but neither is the experience. When you consider what people pay for a few hours of boat rental, fishing guide service, or other outdoor activities that require special equipment or knowledge, then the Canyon's price of about $89 is not unreasonable.

Plus, if you ride 3 times within 2 years, you can get a 4th Zip free. Sweet.

Just as a disclaimer, I'm not getting reimbursed for this review in any way. If it had been a Zip Rip Off, you would have heard about it here, but it wasn't. Neither GoPro (who I gush about constantly) nor the Canyons folks have any input here at Pure Florida.

I'm just telling it like I see it and my advice for anyone looking for a unique experience is go ZIP THE CANYONS!


Sandcastle Momma said...

Sweet!!! I had no idea there was a canyon in Florida. I was just at the highest point not long ago and it was only about 3 small steps up a slight hill lol That looks like a lot of fun and something my entire family would enjoy. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

so cool FC! !! A perfect gift for u. Glad Emma came along for the ride.

cinbad122 said...

Fun! I know I told you that I found something here in FL about ziplining. I am so glad Emma made you go! :)

cinbad122 said...

PS...wish I was with you guys.

edifice rex said...

Wow!! SO cool!!......again!! lol!

Island Rider said...

I've done my share of zip lining and while it looks beautiful, I won't be going again. However, I know some people near and dear to me who will love to know about it. And perhaps a gift certificate is in their future. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Long time no talk to! This was very cool. I actually got dizzy on your second zip! What a great gift Emma gave to you!


Unknown said...

Had so much fun with you Pop! Love ya!

Linda said...

Printed this post out (as I have others) to put in my "must do when we make our roadtrip to Florida" file. Thank you for the great pictures & story. (Needless to say, we don't have many zip lines here in Kansas!)

Anonymous said...

That totally looks so awesome. What a nice, adventurous gift for you. I have never done it, but my sister did near Princeton, W.Va. when she visited relatives over Memorial Day and sent me a video of it. W. Va. as you probably know, is a very mountainous state!

Floridacracker said...

Hey Y'all,
Thanks for the comments! And Emma, thanks again for a fun adventure. This place is pretty awesome and so unique in the sandbar we call Florida.

robin andrea said...

What a great birthday present. Looks like a very cool way to fly through the air!

Miz S said...

Stop distracting me with cool videos. I'M SUPPOSED TO BE UPDATING MY BLOG!

Julie Zickefoose said...

As it happens, we're giving Phoebe a zipline trip with several friends in WV for her sweet 16th. We've done it before but both Phee and I had strep throat and terrible fevers that day and it was still awesome.

None of your sweet sweet vids will load for me this evening, baaaaah. I love that you took your Go-Pro and will be back to see your videos.
And your photo of the kids lined up on the pilings is primissimo.
Funny how constantly creating great content makes for even better content. Hats off, FC.

Suwannee Refugee said...

FC, used to run a ropes course in Lakeland. Nothing of this magnitude, but still totally fun. Zoom Air over in Daytona Beach just sent me some comp tickets to go check them out. Plan on doing that in early August. Might have to check out these dudes too.

Zipline in Kanab Utah said...

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