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Published: Sunday, 5/19/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

SUMMER GUIDE: SOUTHEAST

Summer zips through the treetops

BY THOMAS HODSON
WOUB PUBLIC MEDIA
Images of Hocking Hills zip-lining. Images of Hocking Hills zip-lining.
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From wild to mild, a variety of outdoor adventures beckons in southeastern Ohio. If “flying” at treetop levels appeals to the senses, then adventurous folks won’t want to miss the zip-lining options in the region.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours — ranked as one of the top 10 zip-lining experiences in the world, according to news.discovery.com — offers a nearly three-hour excursion above the treetops of the Hocking Hills in Hocking County.

Or perhaps the SuperZip, more than a quarter-mile long, in which riders travel up to 50 mph, is more your speed. And, starting later this month, a “Night Flight” option will be offered after sunset on Fridays and Saturdays.

RELATED CONTENT: Southeast Ohio attractions and activities

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours was the first zip-lining center in the region, according to co-owner Dan Eckel.

“We are always trying to improve and create new customer-friendly experiences for our clientele,” Mr. Eckel said. Information: www.hockinghillscanopytours.com.

Just south of Lancaster in Fairfield County, you’ll find Valley Zipline Tours, which bills itself as “one of the longest zip-line courses in the Midwest.”

Features include 11 zip lines, including three Monster Zips that span more than 1,000 feet, and “the Duel” — side-by-side zip lines. Prices vary and reservations are required. Information: www.valleyziplinetours.com.

Or, for a different type of zip-line thrill, visit the Wilds, a wildlife-conservation area in Muskingum County near Cumberland, Ohio. The facility consists of almost 10,000 acres of reclaimed coal-mine land dedicated to a nature preserve and conservation park.

To observe the animals in their natural habitats, try a 2½-hour Zipline Safari guided tour above the preserve. Reservations can be made at the Web site, www.thewilds.org.

The cost is $84; children ages 10 to 15 can tour at half-price with an accompanying adult.

To take summer adventures to a higher level consider hot-air ballooning.

Hocking Hills Hot Air Ballooning, based in Lancaster (Fairfield County), offers bird’s-eye views of the hills and dales of southeastern Ohio.

The flights usually launch from the Lancaster Fairgrounds and average from 45 to 60 minutes — but the total outing requires two to three hours. Reservations are suggested four to five days in advance.

The cost: $265 for one passenger, $450 for two, $185 for each additional person.

Earth, Water, Rock Outdoor Adventures in Hocking County offers both rappelling and rock-climbing opportunities.

Multiple options are offered, including the standard three-hour excursion and half or full-day guided adventures. No experience is needed, and equipment and instructions are provided.

For those who have a need for speed — and own an all-terrain-vehicle or off-highway motorcycle — there are many scenic places to ride in southern Ohio.

The Wayne National Forest winds its way through 12 counties and offers more than 300 miles of ATV trails in three designated areas.

“We believe our trails are popular because visitors like to come to enjoy the natural scenic beauty that southeast Ohio has to offer,” said Chad Wilberger, forest recreation program manager.

For a slower pace, consider seeing the countryside by horseback.

Equestrian Ridge Farm in Vinton County offers excursions and trail rides as well as camping and a bunkhouse cabin. Horses and basic riding instructions are provided.

Prices, starting at $50 a person, are available at www.equestrianridge.com.

And not all outdoor experiences require physical demands.

The Woodbury Wildlife Area near Coshocton (Coshocton County) is a popular bird-watching spot.

“Bobolinks, normally a more northern species found primarily in the glaciated portions of Ohio, may be observed regularly during the summer months. Birds of prey are abundant, and uncommon species such as short-eared owls and rough-legged hawks reside here in the winter,” according to the Web site of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.

The Dillon Wildlife Area near Zanesville (Muskingum County) has more than 20 species of ducks and boasts many other forms of wildlife, according to the Division of Wildlife. Information: www.dnr.state.oh.us.

While in the Coshocton area, take a stroll around historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1830s village along the Ohio-Erie Canal filled with artisans practicing period crafts. The complex also offers lodging and dining. Information: www.roscoevillage.com/index.php.



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