• Heather

Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Adrenaline Seekers Adventure Park

There are mountains in Central Florida. Really? Yes, there are! The Cliffs, located in Ocala, are over 155 feet high. Even though these mountains were man-made by the mining of phosphates for over a century, it doesn’t diminish the excitement of zip lining high above the spring fed lakes and through the forested land. This quarry was mined for nearly a 100 years until the aquifer was reached and the lakes were formed. Then the mining company was required by the state to hold the property undisturbed for a minimum of 30 years to allow the ugly scar to heal and go back to its natural state. If our guides didn’t share with us the history of the property, it would be very difficult to tell that this was once a mining facility because it looks so pretty and natural now. Over 11 years ago, Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park purchased the property and spent a year designing and building the zip line courses and creating a nationally recognized and award winning adventure park.

When you were a kid, did you ever try to fly? It's not too late. Here’s your chance to truly fly and race through the air like Superman, Spiderman, and Storm.

Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park offers several adventures:

  • Zip Lining

  • Horseback Tour

  • Horseback Ride Fireside

  • Kayaking

  • Gem Mining

  • Taste of History Tour (Wine & Chocolate Tour)

ZIP LINING

My husband, Andy, and I decided to embark on the zip lining and kayaking adventures. There are several different zip lining adventures: tours with 3, 5, or 9 zip lines and a Full Moon (night) tour. The Sky High Tour is an express tour consisting of 3 zip lines which is the shortest tour requiring about an hour and costs $44.99. I think this option would be a good introduction into zip lining for someone who is apprehensive about it. Andy and I opted for the max adventure, the Big Cliff Canyon Zip Tour, with 9 zip lines, 2 rope bridges, and a rappel. This tour is scheduled for 2.5 to 3 hours and costs $99.99. The tours host a maximum of 10 adrenaline enthusiasts. There are various start times (i.e. 9:40 am, 12:40 pm, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 4:20 pm) so there is hopefully a time that will work for you. The Big Cliff Canyon Zip Tour is the only tour that takes you flying over Lost Spring Lake zipping at heights over 130’ and distances as long as 1,100’. This package also includes soaring over two canyons and 4 lakes.

The adventure began with an introduction and safety briefing followed by equipment donning and fitting, and a short trolley ride to the beginning of the course. We started with a very tame, easy, close to the ground practice line to introduce us to the equipment, how to brake, other important safety procedures, and provide newbies an opportunity to get comfortable with the experience. Then we were off for lots of fun and the adrenaline rush! The course is well designed in that the first few lines are short and not very fast and escalates to longer, faster, and more thrilling zip lines.

The exhilarating course is very scenic zooming through treetops, tunnels through the canopy, and over canyons and picturesque lakes. The first rope bridge was relatively close to the ground and not wobbly so it wasn’t frightening or thrilling. However, the second rope bridge was high above the ground spanning a canyon and it wiggled and wobbled with each foot step. Don’t worry, you are clipped in with your safety harness. It was exciting and fun! At the end of the course, we had to rappel down from the treetop platform. It was my first time and it turned out to be super easy. There was some kind of automatic pulley system and all I had to do was let go. It was over too soon.

Our flight attendants, ToniAnn and David, were superstar guides. They were friendly, amiable, a little quirky (especially David), and passionate about their jobs and making sure we had a good time. Simultaneously, they were professional, constantly checking our equipment, stringently followed a safety procedure, cognizant of all safety concerns, and giving tips and suggestions to get the most out of the experience. The whole event was well orchestrated. I felt completely safe and comfortable in their competent hands.

You are permitted to use your own GoPro. The helmets are equipped with an attachment for your personal GoPro. If you don’t own a GoPro, you can rent a one to videotape the whole excursion. In the middle of the second bridge, ToniAnn had us stop and turn around for a photo opt. There were several other photo ops on the course and you can purchase the photos afterwards. I brought my iPhone XS and I was happy that at the launch for the zip over Lost Spring Lake which is a beautiful spot, ToniAnn offered to take a photo of us with our own camera. Remember it is very easy to lose or drop something while zip lining so leave personal items in your vehicle or have some way to secure the items you bring on the tour. I also recommend a Croakie or strap for your sunglasses. There is no need to bring water because there were several rest stops on the course with a cooler of cold water. I recorded the course with the Activity Function on my Apple Watch and we covered a distance of 1 mile and the zip lining part of the tour was a little less than 2 hours (1 hour 50 minutes). Most often, we took off and landed from the same treetop platform but there were a few lines in which we had a short hike to reach the next tower platform. This required climbing several flights of stairs too. The whole tour took 2.5 hours due to the introduction and preparation and the awards ceremony at the end. The Big Cliff Canyon Zip Tour was awesome and I had the best time…lots of fun plus heart pounding excitement.

The Canyons has a few requirements for zip lining:

  • Must wear closed toe shoes

  • Weight restriction: 70 lbs. to 270 lbs.

  • Minimum age: 10 years

  • Shirts with short or long sleeves and no short shorts

  • Arrive 20 minutes early

  • Reservations are required

  • Guests must be in reasonable good health for this active tour with short hikes and several sets of stairs

KAYAKING

Andy and I went on the “Kayak and Explore” tour, which is a scenic paddling tour through Big Cliff Canyon on Lost Spring Lake. The tour was 1.5 hours and costs $45. There are several start times (i.e. 9:15 am, 11:15 am, 1:15 pm, 3:15 pm). Since it was summer and hot, we opted for the first tour in the morning at 9:15am. We took a short trolley ride to the campfire beside the lake where Tony, our guide, told us about the history of the Canyons and the lakes. It was very interesting and informative. Then we walked up the hill and down a flight of stairs to the kayak launch dock. The spring fed lake is 12 acres. There’s no current and the lake was smooth as glass which made it a very leisurely paddle…not strenuous at all. This paddle adventure would be a great introduction to kayaking. The petite lake was picturesque, intensely quiet, and peaceful. The canyon is full of trees and plants and very green. The glass-like waters provided breathtakingly beautiful reflections.

Tony was another superstar guide. He was very personable, easy going, nice, and funny. It was obvious that he thoroughly enjoyed his job and loves adventure and nature. He was a captivating storyteller too. I was particularly entertained with the stories about big bass, water cannons, and the bobcat climbing the cliffs. He made sure we felt comfortable in the kayak and paddling and that we had fun.

The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park is conveniently located less than one mile from I-75 (Exit 358) in Ocala. It’s an easy, 2.5 hour drive north on I-75 from Sarasota. Currently, The Canyons is running a deal offering $10 off when booking 2 tours. Use the coupon code: Combo. I couldn’t get the discount to register online so I called and made my reservations over the phone to receive the discount.

I highly recommend the Canyons Zip Lining and Adventure Park for an action packed, electrifying adventure that will make your dreams of flying a reality and create a very memorable experience. And I can’t wait to go zip lining again…next time at night. That will be Fun!


For a video of the Big Cliff Canyon Zip Line Tour, check out my video on my YouTube channel: "Zip Lining at Canyons Zip Line & Adventure Park".


Address: 8045 NW Gainesville Road, Ocala, Florida 34475

Phone: 352-351-9477

Website: www.zipthecanyons.com

Email: info@zipthecanyons.com