Difficulty: Easy/Medium (some bridge climbing)
Time: Between 3 hours
Ages: 8 years old AND 70lbs/32kg
Last week, my sister-in-law Elle and I got to go on a zip line tour with Denali Park Zipline!! WHAT a thrill! I had been on this tour once before in 2016, and the tour this time was even better than ever!
I found out about Denali Park Zipline serveral years ago when they started out as a company, but I LOVE following them online on their Instagram page. Our guests are ALWAYS wanting to know the best companies to go on an adventure with, and I've recommended them since we started hosting guests at our VRBO! Plus, when our family visits from out of state, I enjoy playing tour guide.
Communication prior to booking with Denali Park Zipline was excellent. Staff is knowledgable about the area and are eager to help you plan a great trip for your family.
Meet up with Denali Park Zipline at their storefront in what locals refer to as "The Canyon" near the Denali National Park entrance. Here, you'll sign wavers prior to loading up in their company van to head the 11 miles from near the Denali National Park entrance to the tour in nearby Healy.
My sister-in-law Elle on the left, and myself on the right. All guides and tour participants were COVID-19 safe with masks at all times.
After you arrive at the tour beginning, you'll hop on an off-road vehicle for a 3 mile ride driven by your guide. This 10-minute(ish) ride was a great start to our adventure! It was raining that day and there were lots of puddles on the trail - which made for some splashy fun.
Next, you'll get geared up and prepare to zip!! Your gear includes a fancy harness, helmet and gloves. If you need a place to store small belongings while you're on the trip, they are able to hold onto keys, etc here as well. Guides will go over LOTS of safety information, including asking to be made aware of any medical conditions. In our trip, one guest had asthma and was given a medical belt to wear in addition to her harness to ensure easy access if there were to be a medical emergency in which she needed to be assisted.
When you arrive, your gear will already be laid out for you to step right into. Guides hand out helmets and ensure they fit snuggly. Then they come around and tighten up your harnesses to fit appropriately. Next, you'll listen to a safety briefing and a demonstration on what to do (or not to do) while your on the ziplines.
Now, onto the fun!! There are 6 Sky Bridges that you'll get to climb over the duration of your tour. EPIC! Some are long slats of wood and some are open step-bridges and both are exhilarating. Honestly, these were probably more nerve-wracking than the ziplines themselves! Look down to watch your footing, but don't look through the slats at how high you are!
Before entering any of the sky bridges, you'll be clipped to a safety wire by your guides. This happens through the entirety of your trip, from one bridge to the next, and from one zipline to the next. Safety is their top priority, and you can relax knowing that you're always tethered to security.
Now, ZIP ZIP HORRAY!!! The first step off the platform is exhilarating, and the ziplines just keep getting better from here. It was fun getting to know the rest of the guests on our tour - two folks from Michigan, and a family of five from Anchorage.
Zipline guides take care of all the the braking for you, and hook you safely to each line. Because of this close proximity, you get to know the guides well! Our guides, Emily and Molly, were fabulous. Top notch customer service, encouraging conversation for those who were a little cautious and they were witty too! Right from the get go, the guides let us know that this wasn't a "you MUST jump" sort of tour. If we felt uncomfortable at any point, they would help us exit the tour.
These red cables tethered us to walkways and ziplines and the guides spend a considerable amount of time transferring guests to each. While you'd think it would get boring waiting on these safety procautions, it goes by fast as you have (new!) friends on the tour taking the plunge down a zipline. Guests can bring their own cameras on the tour (many had iPhones in their pockets and I had my Canon 6D Mark II strapped to my harness) but you can also rent one of their GoPros to record your experience. I wouldn't recommend taking such a large DSLR on the trip as I was worried about dropping it even though it was secured well.
Later on in the tour, you'll get to climb a GIANT ladder! You are securely tied to a safety rope should you lose your footing. Guides are helping from the top platform and the bottom one you leave from. The view from the top is worth every ladder rung!
Guides will let you know how to exit each platform. Some lines have different preferences - some you need to leave the platform almost sitting down, others you can just step off, and even others you can begin backwards! Guides clearly state the cans and shouldn'ts of ziplines, including don't flip yourself upside-down! If you have a question at any point, your guide is a knowledgeable resource.
The last sky bridge is a doozy! The guides quipped that it was like it was off of Indiana Jones. One of the guests on the tour was particularly nervous about climbing up and the whole tour sang the Indiana Jones theme song to help lessen the pressure. (Or maybe this added more pressure as we all were watching AND singing at her? I don't know but she had fun with it too!)
At this point in the tour, the rain REALLY started coming down. (You can even see water droplets in the first picture!) I was nervous to keep my nice DSLR out in the rain. I'm so grateful it only lightly sprinkled until this point because we really did have a fabulous time, even in the light drizzle.
The last zipline of the tour is a racing one! It was enjoyed by the WHOLE tour to see who would travel faster down the ziplines or which zipline itself was faster. It was a great bow on the experience of the whole day.
After the last zipline, you'll head down a set of stairs and be right back where you started! Gear is returned to the office there and helmets are left to be disinfected. You'll load back up on your off-road vehicle and head to the tour vans next to the Parks Highway.
It was back at our vans that we tipped our guides. Denali Park Zipline has a GREAT resource of FAQs on their website that suggest tipping your guide at 10% of your tour. Our guides were certainly worth that and were appreciative at the gesture.
At a tour time of right at three hours, this is great value for your dollar! Plus, an insider tip, Denali Park Zipline regularly runs promo codes on their social medias and website. This was family fun for lots of ages, and includes a small off-road adventure as well. Thanks, Denali Park Zipline, for a great Alaskan adventure!!
This trip was generously given to us by Denali Park Zipline!
Opinions expressed here are genuine and our own.