Kids Find Their Fun on the Zipline

By Dan Shryock

Rogue Valley Zipline, near Medford, strings five lines on a progressive course that works its way up to a long zip. Across the Cascades, Crater Lake Zipline features nine runs and a few other rope tricks for adults.

Rogue Valley Zipline gets kids involved by setting its age limit at 8 years as long as a child weighs at least 65 pounds and is big enough to fit in a safety harness. Once a required safety lesson is completed, the kid is in the trees.

“Then you work your way up to the big line,” says owner Lindsey Rice. “It’s over a quarter mile across the canyon area and about 300 feet off the ground.”

Crater Lake Zipline took a different approach and created a new course this year specifically designed for smaller thrill seekers. Sasquatch Hollow is a series of eight ziplines and maneuvers – starting at six feet high and ending up at 16 feet at the highest point – all intended to build confidence and deliver excitement.

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“This is really designed for kids ages 5 to 12,” says Crater Lake Zipline’s Jen Roe. “Kids are limited on what they can do in big adventure and they can do this on their own.”

Each youngster clicks into the course’s safety system and rides the ziplines, crosses a suspension bridge, follows Sasquatch’s footprints across another bridge and eventually zips and climbs to the final lava tube slide back to earth. The safety system is never unattached until the end.

“They are connected into the system by the guide but they then self-direct themselves through the course,” Roe says. “They can be successful and challenged. We want kids to be able to play outside in the trees.”

And, they have two hours to loop the course again and again. Older people can watch from the perimeter, take pictures and see what fun really looks like.

“The first time through they’re timid. They’re figuring it out and problem solving,” Roe says. “By the third time, they’re like rock stars. They’re going faster. They’ve gained a lot of confidence and thinking ‘I’m doing this on my own.’”

Kids don’t get all the fun. Grownups get to scream as they glide along the metal wires at high speeds.

And there’s never a shortage of views. From atop the Rogue Valley system, you can see across the valley to the nearby Table Rocks, Crater Lake’s caldera rim and Mt. McLoughlin. From the Crater Lake zipline system, you can see the expansive Upper Klamath Lake, the Cascades range and Mt. McLoughlin from a different angle.

No matter your age or the height of your zipline, be sure to see important requirements, instructions and reservations information on each website.

Rogue Valley Zipline shuttle pickup location is in Central Point near Exit 40 on Interstate 5. See the website at rvzipline.com.

Crater Lake Zipline is located at 29840 Highway 140 West between Klamath Falls and Crater Lake National Park. See the website at craterlakezipline.com