Greek Peak, NY
Family Friendly?: Yes
Age Range: Ages 7+ for zip lines
Restrictions: Rider weight – Maximum 270 lbs, minimum 60 lbs. Must be 48″ tall.
Recommendations: Some of these zip lines are up to 60′ above the ground so you need to be comfortable at that height. However the launching areas are more spacious and secure than many zip line courses and there is no climbing involved so the height is not as much of a factor here. Wear comfortable closed toed shoes because there is a bit of walking. The harnesses are much more substantial than many which makes for a really comfortable ride, but walking between the lines is a little awkward.
(Updated 3/8/16) I recently had the opportunity to visit Greek Peak near Cortland, NY and try out their Adventure Center. They have a nice combination of zip lines, ropes course and a great mountain coaster.
My visit was somewhat unexpected so I didn’t have time to make a reservation on-line. Fortunately it was a bit of the shoulder season so there was no problem getting in. The lady at the desk in the Outdoor Adventure Center was very pleasant and I was quickly checked in. After completing the ever-present release form I dropped $64 for the Adventure Ticket ($50 for groups of 20+) and was told that a zip line tour would be leaving in just a few minutes.
I proceeded upstairs to the equipment loft to get outfitted for the tour. The equipment is pretty substantial with a sturdy harness/seat and the biggest zip line trolley system on the planet. After checking all of our harnesses, we walked out the door to the short shakedown zip. Two of the other people in the group had a pretty healthy fear of heights but the guide was so stoked that he convinced them to at least try the first short zip.
The first zip is really just a test run to show you how to land. It is short (300′), but starts from the second floor so at least you are in the air. Our reluctant zippers decided it was pretty cool so they opted to try zip #2. Our guide put the trolley on our backs like a backpack for a short walk to a carpet lift that serves the tubing runs in the winter. At the top, another very short walk brought us to zip #2.
It was clear that the stakes had gone up considerably as #2 was a 900′ (according to the website) dual line that had some good height. After strapping-in we were ready to fly. The take-off area allows you to make a very limited running start and we were off. The ride was incredibly smooth and a bit deceptively fast. It didn’t feel very fast until the bottom terminal approached, at that point it was clear that you were moving at a pretty good clip. The arresting system consists of a giant spring and the landing is more thrilling than you might imagine.
From the bottom of #2, it is a slightly longer walk back to the carpet lift and another slightly longer walk to zip #3. The third zip is really just a transfer zip (500′) to get you over the mountain coaster tracks. The view of the coaster is cool.
Zip #4 is the main attraction. It starts from a fairly high tower and runs over 1,300 feet to the bottom tower. It also gets some good height (60′ I was told). Once again we strapped in and took off on a fun dual race. It is a great ride with an even more exciting landing where your feet end up pointing straight up as you land aircraft carrier style. All I can say is that everyone in our group had a blast.
After turning in my zip line gear, I couldn’t resist a ride on the mountain coaster. It was also a lot of fun with a surprisingly steep and scenic uphaul hill. You are able to control the speed but I just pushed it all the way forward and enjoyed a fast ride. In fact, I ended up riding it 4 or 5 more times! They have one of those candid cameras on it so some other guests and I had a funny photo contest.
I also took a bounce on the Euro-bungy and watched a group on the ropes course. All in all a great 4 or so hours of fun.
If you have the budget and the desire, the Hope Lake Lodge is right across the street. It reminded me of one of the great western national park lodges and as soon as I stepped in the lobby I knew I would be back for a stay. They have a smallish but very nice indoor water park at the lodge so it would be a great place for families. The Finger Lakes region could entertain and outdoorsy family for a few days easily.
Check it out for yourself on-line at http://theoutdooradventurecenter.com/