Zip Flyer – Camelback Mountain Resort
Over the last ten years or so, Camelback Mountain Resort has undergone a pretty amazing transformation. It has always been one of the larger ski resorts in Pennsylvania but they have also branched out into summer activities in a big way. In fact, the word is that the summer business has actually surpassed winter in recent years.
As you know if you have read any of my prior posts, I am a big fan of facilities that lean more toward the rustic and natural side of things. Camelback is definitely not that. You get a strong amusement park vibe the second you step out of your car. Then I saw someone flying down the mountain like a meteor on the new Zip Flyer zip lines and I knew that the day held promise.
Now let me say that the pricing for the activities at Camelback may give you sticker shock at first, but rest assured that it is worth every penny. They have a pretty comprehensive tree top course (actually a series of courses) for $49.00. If you are planning to make a day of it, I suggest doing the tree top course and then adding a two ride ticket on their 1,000 foot zip lines ($10 add-on) and a ride on the Zip Flyer ($24 add-on). Yes, $83.00 is pretty salty, but it was well worth it for a full day of fun in my opinion. That will leave just enough of your Benjamin to get a sandwich and a drink at lunch. You should plan on at least 5 hours for your visit.
The tree top course is fun, offering pretty standard canopy tour fare. It was well maintained and offered plenty of variety so I had no complaints. It even offered a few short zip lines to prime you for the main event to come.
After a short break for a drink, I decided to take my rides on the 1,000 zip lines next. The lines are pretty fast, higher than you might expect and a lot of fun. Still more amusement park ride than canopy tour style, but well worth the $10 add-on. In terms of bang for the buck, they might be the best value at the resort. You won’t be disappointed.
Then is was time for the big kahuna – the Zip Flyer. All day I had been watching human cruise missiles come screaming down the 4,000 foot lines and needless to say I was pretty excited when I boarded the lift for a pleasant ride to the summit. The view from the launch pad is quite impressive and it looks far higher than the 800 foot vertical listed in their materials.
Once again, this is an amusement park style ride but it is a great one! As with many of the more amusement oriented zip lines, your harness is really more of a lounge chair and it was very comfortable. This is a dual zip line so you can race a friend or family member if you like. Once the line is clear, the gates open and you are on your way. The ride starts out slower than you might expect but the terrain drops out from under you quickly so it is still a thrill. Don’t let the slow start fool you, the lines are long enough that there is plenty of time to gain speed and in a few moments you are at an eye-watering velocity that is super fun. It is a long ride for a zip line so you have time to soak it all in. The ride is fast and smooth. Near the bottom you soar over one of the water park features and it is funny how all of the eyes follow you as you pass overhead like baby birds looking for their next meal. It is probably the most effective advertising they have for the Zip Flyer – who can resist?
At some point you notice that you are approaching the bottom station at a startling rate of speed and you have that “how are they going to get this thing stopped in time” moment. Not to worry, the deceleration is quick but much smoother than some other big zip lines I have ridden.
If your family is split with some loving an amusement park environment and others liking more natural thrills, this place is perfect for you. The water park and mountain coaster will thrill the less adventurous faction while the more outdoorsy side can get sweaty climbing and zipping. I neglected to check the water park rates myself, but some people in the lot said it was $37 for adults and $25 for kids. The families I spoke with all seemed very satisfied. From what I could see, the water park looked clean and well maintained. I found the staff to be helpful and friendly across the resort – I was impressed. I did not ride the mountain coaster on my visit but I have ridden them at other resorts and they are a lot of fun. Definitely a fun activity to do with younger children.
Overall I give Camelback an “A” for their zip line experiences. The only caveat is the amusement park feel in the base area but that is my problem, not theirs. If big and fast zip lines are your thing, I recommend Camelback without reservation. They definitely have some of the best zip lines in Pennsylvania. The tree top course is also a fun diversion for a few hours.
Camelback is located in the Pocono Mountains right off I-80 near Tannersville, PA. Reservations are strongly recommended for the tree top course. Call 570-629-1661, or visit their website at http://www.cbkmountainadventures.com.