History Facts

  • Rope courses date back to the late 1800s, when courses were built in France, mostly to serve as a physical challenge for participants. Rope courses were also used during the Second World War as a way to improve physical fitness in the British military
  • Ropeways or aerial cables have been used as a method of transport for over 2,000 years in parts of Asia, and were often used in places where bridges could not be built or were impractical. 
  • The first recorded use of the zipline as a form of entertainment was most likely in 1739, when Robert Cademan, a steeplejack, attempted to descend from Shrewsbury’s St. Mary’s Church. It did not end well. (But rest assured, safety technology has come a long way since then! And so far, we have no zip-lines from the tops of cathedrals at any of our adventure parks.)

Zipline & Equipment Facts

  • In Australia and New Zealand, zip-lines are referred to as “flying foxes.” 
  • Ziplines are an effective mode of transport for covering short distances, since it has low energy requirements and virtually no environmental impact. 
  • Ziplines were set up in the rainforests of Costa Rica in the 1970’s as a way to study the densely wooded area without disturbing the environment.
  • Ziplines that carry you primarily through treetops are called “canopy tours.” 
  • The type of pulley with a grooved wheel used in ziplining is called a “sheave.” 
  • Carabiner is a shortened form of the German phrase “karabinerhaken,” which translates to “spring hook.”
  • Rappelling is also referred to as “abseiling.” The technique is attributed to Roger Frison-Roche, a French mountaineer.

World Records & Notable Events

  • The longest zipline in the world, as of 2018, is the “Jebel Jais Flight” in the United Arab Emirates. It contains a single unbroken span of 9,290 feet (1.75 miles!) 
  • The fastest zipline in the world is the Zip World Bethesda in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Wales. 
  • The oldest person to ride a zipline to date is a British man named Jack Reynolds, who rode a zipline at “Go Ape” in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria at the incredible age of 106. 
  • Participating in adventure courses has been shown to promote mental health, improving self-concept and self-esteem, pro-social behavior, trust behavior and more! There is a whole branch of therapy called “Adventure Therapy” that seeks to help people by putting them through adventure courses!
  • The longest free-rappel in the United States is a nearly 3,000 foot descent from the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. 
  • It’s not exactly a rope-bridge, but the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world is the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland, spanning 1621 feet and as high as 279 feet off the ground. It spans a valley between the towns of Zermatt and Grächen. Because of this bridge, a trip that used to take four hours now takes 10 minutes!
  • TreeRunner Adventure Parks operate in two states and three (soon to be four!) locations. Visit us in Raleigh Durham, NC, West Bloomfield Township, Grand Rapids and Oakland University in Michigan! Schedule your group adventure today!