A zippy way to catch Georgian Bay views 0
Soaring 300 feet above the ground at up to 65 kilometres an hour is not something I learned in journalism school, but I was up for the assignment of riding the Thunderbird Twin Zip at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures park — despite my crippling fear of heights.
Offering some of Georgian Bay's most beautiful views, the zip line is terrifying, exhilarating and breathtaking – in that order.
I was focused on the terrifying aspect as I said my prayers at the mere thought of flying 2,500 feet through the air with a 300-foot drop.
The steep steps leading up to the 50-foot-high take-off point made me look for a place to latch my harness as I held on tight, my knuckles whitening.
Once hooked on and hanging off of the zip line, my irrational thought of the harness being insecure were put to rest.
And then, take off – the initial drop is steep and where the rider builds up most of the speed. The Thunderbird Twin Zip allows riders to control their velocity.
After getting past the trees surrounding the take-off tower, breathtaking views took over any remaining fear I had about how high I was hanging.
From lush forest out to the expansive Georgian Bay, complete with the iconic Collingwood grain elevator — it's the best vantage point I've been to in the region.
The toughest part about the adventure is deciding whether to slow down to take in the views, or go through the ride as fast as possible for the exhilaration; Scenic Caves staff had clocked 77 km/hour on one test ride.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures decided to put in the Thunderbird Twin Zip after the success of their other two zip lines – one 330 feet long, and the other 1,000 feet long.
“We thought, maybe if we get something half-a-mile long, people would sit up and take notice,” said Scenic Caves Nature Adventures chairman Rob Thorburn.
The Thunderbird Twin Zip line is the longest in South Georgian Bay. Thorburn says they would have gone longer if they had more room.
“We ran out of property,” said Thorburn. “You have to start high and finish low. And in our case we have to pass over three trails.
“We tried to go further but we didn't get clearance at the cliff face.”
The Thunderbird Twin Zip is not only longer than the other two zip lines, it is also a double line so people can go down in pairs.
“It's just that much more fun,” said Scenic Caves Nature Adventures manager Chris Westbrooke. “People really enjoy it, especially if you're scared, you can go down with someone else.”
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures has been steadily expanding with new attractions or improvements to existing attractions every couple of years.
“We're going to put in a two-acre cedar boxwood maze,” said Thorburn. “We're expanding our Nordic trails this winter, and our snowshoe trails. They'll be expanded by about 25%.”
Scenic Caves recently purchased 850 acres of property. The adventure park will be developing some of the land for the winter.
Thunderbird Twin Zip costs $43.36 to ride; the price includes access to the caves, caverns, and suspension bridge.