What to Expect at Smoky Mountain Ziplines

At Smoky Mountain Ziplines we pride ourselves on our safety first priorities and our excellent customer service. All of our tours are guided by two fully trained and professional canopy tour guides well versed in skills, knowledge, and personality. We manage all of the connections and braking while you’re on our course leaving you free to relax and enjoy the adventure!

Your adventure begins when you arrive at our clean and comfortable facility in Pigeon Forge, TN. Once you’re checked in you can feel free to socialize with the other members of your tour, and take advantage of our complimentary canned soft drinks, water, and coffee. Once you’re ready you will meet your guides in the gear room, and get geared up with gloves and helmets and fitted into our custom and comfortable full body harnesses. From there your tour will be loaded into one of our M35a3 deuce and a half military 6x6 trucks for a memorable ride up our mountain. Once at the top of the mountain your guides will take you through our "zip school", where you will learn about your gear and the course, how the equipment works, and the steps we take to maximize your safety. The guides will also instruct you in the essential skills you will need while zipping including: posturing, steering, and landing. If you noticed “braking” was missing that’s because our brand new brake system actually handles the braking for you! Once completing zip school, your adventure really takes off and the adrenaline kicks in from the beginning of the first line to the end of the last one! Along the zips, our guides will be providing area information, local facts, and the occasional tall tale. We want all of our guests to have a fun and wonderful experience where we do our best to maximize the fun and minimize the risks.

We have a brand new canopy tour rolling out for the 2016 season featuring 7 new lines and a brand new rappel feature. This course will actually replace all of our existing courses from the past for this year and the next as we give our faithful and hardworking trees a well-deserved rest in preparation for even more future upcoming course ideas. For more info all about our new course and upcoming projects come check it out for yourself at Smoky Mountain Ziplines!

What is a zipline?

A zipline is a suspended rigging system consisting of rope or steel wire rope anchored and tensioned in such a manner to facilitate a rider’s traverse across the distance between the anchorages usually aided by the use of a trolley.

The ziplines at Smoky Mountain Ziplines are comprised of ½” 6x26 galvanized wire rope with a minimum breaking strength of 26,600 pounds under a tensile load. The ziplines are properly designed, tensioned, and maintained to operate within a safety factor of 5 to 1 even in rescue situations.

What is a canopy tour?

A canopy tour is a series of ziplines installed in a forest or wooded environment that utilize trees and natural elements combined with manmade structures to "zip" from one elevated position to another. Canopy tours give riders a unique perspective of the local terrain, and add a great deal of adventure to experiencing the forest canopy. They provide a unique glimpse of nature and are much more holistic adventure experience than a simple ride or single zip.

The canopy tour at Smoky Mountain Ziplines provides a one of a kind experience. Our tower platforms offer some of the most scenic vistas outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while our tree platforms offer total immersion into the Appalachian forest environment. Our guides offer pure family fun and just the right amount of comedy to break the ice and allow you to open up and enjoy the truly exhilarating experience. They are also trained to some of the highest standards in the industry and equipped with the right gear to handle almost any situation.

What is the history of ziplining?

It is unclear who invented the first zipline, and there are many accounts of their origin. Some accounts say it is based on the Tyrolean Traverse. This is a much older and essential climbing maneuver performed by stretching rope between two high points. The climber would then cross the traverse under his/her own power without the use of a trolley system. Ziplining is one evolution of this maneuver. By lowering one end of the Tyrolean Traverse and attaching a trolley system the rider could now use gravity to propel himself/herself across the length of the cable very quickly. Other accounts include a reference in H.G. Well’s The Invisible Man as a ride at a fair, use in testing airplanes before flight had been perfected, and the ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) credits their rise on this hemisphere as an outgrowth of the techniques scientists used to access and travel the forest canopy for the study and cataloguing of the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforests.

Smoky Mountain Ziplines although not the first zipline to open in Sevier County, is the longest continually operated course in the Pigeon Forge area. We have zipped over 100,000 people since our opening day August 21st, 2009. Since the early 90’s, zipline and canopy tour companies have grown in number and popularity. Their availability stateside really started picking up momentum in the 2000’s and they have gained international popularity as an adrenaline infused recreational activity enjoyed by all ages. Here at Smoky Mountain Ziplines we are happy to be a part of this exciting industry, and look forward to seeing all of you on a zipline whether it be on our mountain or someone else’s!

Who can take a tour?

There are age and weight limits on our tours, but most people can qualify for a tour. To be eligible for our canopy tours you must be at least 8 years old and weigh at least 60 pounds to ride, our maximum rider weight is 275 pounds.

All participants should be of average strength and mobility. If you are pregnant, have heart trouble, back, knee, or other joint problems, recent surgeries, casts, or any other medical conditions that may prevent you from following instructions, standing for 2 hours at a time, or participating in an adventure sport activity, we recommend not partaking of our canopy tour.

Certain mental conditions should also be considered, as our canopy tour is considered an interactive sport that requires dexterity, physical ability, concentration and the ability to follow instructions. Also those with extreme fear of heights, epilepsy, or history of panic attacks are not recommended to ride.

How long does a tour last?

Our current canopy tour takes approximately two hours from the time a tour reaches the mountain to the time the tour returns to our base camp. These tour times are based on a tour size of 8 people and two guides. Smaller group sizes which can occur especially in the off season do take less time, and the tour times do not account for the early arrival required to complete waivers, payment, and gearing. We require a thirty-minute early arrival prior to your tour time and recommend taking into account the nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg peak season traffic condition. Additionally, each of our tours is photographed by a professional photographer and we recommend guests allow for an additional fifteen minutes after your tour returns to the building for un-gearing and photo viewing.

What should I wear?

We recommend blue jean or khaki pants in the summer with a t-shirt. Shorts are fine too, but we do not recommend short shorts due to the harness straps. We generally do not recommend tank tops or string tops as the harnesses do have shoulder straps as well. Additionally, although they sound like a good idea, the basketball shorts, sweatpants, or yoga pants although allowed generally result in a less comfortable ride in the harnesses due to the lower rigidity of the fabrics. In the cooler times of the year we highly recommend dressing in layers, which can be removed as needed during the activity.

Skirts and dresses are not permitted due to harnessing conflicts.

Open toed shoes are not permitted on the tours, i.e. no sandals or flip flops.

What should I bring?

Although we’re not responsible for them, cameras are fine to bring as long as you have a neck strap or other means to secure the camera while ziplining.

We generally provide one pouch per group that is available for carrying a phone for pictures while waiting on the platforms or emergency medical considerations (inhaler, epi-pen, glucose tablets, etc.).

Wallets, watches, jewelry, and other valuables we generally recommend to lock up in your vehicle after payment has been rendered. Our premises and parking lot is under video surveillance.

We recommend sunscreen and bug spray for sunny days, but please apply these before gearing as some bug sprays contain a chemical that is harmful to our helmets if applied directly.

We do have a spot to hold the vehicle keys at our main base camp while you’re away on your canopy tour.

Although we do not allow food or soft drinks on our tours due to attracting insects, we do have a large base camp with a covered porch and picnic tables if you would like to bring a packed lunch for after your tour, but beware: please don’t feed the guides!

Are there restrooms on the tour?

Although there are many trees in our forest, we no longer have portable toilets staged during our tour. We do have clean and regularly maintained restrooms at our base camp and a baby changing station for those that are waiting on the zippers. We highly recommend using the restrooms before gearing up for your tour.

Can I have drinks with me?

Given the secluded nature of our new tour we no longer allow guests to carry drinks with them throughout the tour. We do provide customers with complimentary soft drinks, water, and coffee before the tour, water at a staged point during the tour, and complimentary soft drinks, water, and coffee again after the tour is completed.

When should I arrive for my tour?

We ask that you arrive 30 min before your scheduled tour time. This allows for ample time to complete the registration process, which includes signing waivers, finalizing payment, and gearing up.

Do you operate tours in the rain?

Yes, we will operate tours in light to moderate rain, but tours may be delayed or interrupted by moderate to heavier rains. Rains in lower temperatures will also affect our operation schedule due to a risk of exposure to the elements.

Given the nature of our activities and their location within the forest, lightning, high winds, and torrential downpours can cause us to expedite, hold, reschedule, or even cancel tours. Our primary approach to storm management is avoidance, and if we have the potential for thunderstorms new or soon to depart tours can and will initially be held while our focus is geared towards getting ongoing tours off of the mountain thus minimizing risks to the exposed participants. We have preset parameters for go, no-go conditions on our tours, and we unfortunately cannot control the weather, but we will do our best to accommodate your zip trip with minimum risk in mind.

We use a couple of different weather monitoring software programs to help in planning and risk management decisions, but in no means are we practicing or professional meteorologists. We choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to East Tennessee weather and its noted unpredictability. During the holding periods of severe weather, we do invite you to explore our 3D storm modeling system and partake of our complimentary soft drinks, water, and coffee.

What do my guides do?

Your guides are there to minimize the risks of an aerial outdoor sport activity. They will gear you in the appropriate personal protective equipment, instruct you on how to zipline appropriately, and operate the equipment to transition you down the lines and throughout the course. There will be two primary guides on every tour. One will attach your gear and send you down the zip; the other will receive you with the braking system and detach your gear from the line and to the appropriate anchorage at the end of the line. They are also there to tell you all about the Pigeon Forge and GSMNP area with fun nature facts, family friendly jokes, and assorted tall tales.

How do we get up the mountain?

You and your guides will board one of our M35a3 deuce and a half 6x6 all terrain military trucks, and ride to the top of our mountain. This is included in your ticket price, and is definitely a unique experience in itself. Due to the secluded nature of our tour, we do not allow non-SMZ vehicles or foot traffic on our mountain. For those guests that are not zipping, we do have a covered porch on our basecamp and a waiting lounge inside the basecamp for those guests to await the return of their zipping party.

Is there much walking on the tour?

There is some walking during the course of this tour. The first is about seventy-five feet up a gentle grade and then two flights of stairs up. This is the hardest walk on a normal day tour although, backing out early and or extracting due to severe weather could require longer, more severe walks. There is also about a twenty-foot trail with two sets of down stairs before and after the trail where the course makes a transition between lines. The final walk is down a carved nature trail inset with about forty stairs going down altogether. Taking into account the generally larger hikes experienced elsewhere, we purposefully designed the new tour route to minimize the harsh hiking that many of our competitors require.

How do I get there from Gatlinburg?

From Gatlinburg, travel north on the Parkway (US 441) to traffic light #10 in Pigeon Forge. Turn left onto Conner Heights Rd. After turning off of the parkway proceed 1.5 miles on the double yellow line. Our basecamp facility and large gravel parking lot will be on your left.

How do I get there from Pigeon Forge?

From downtown Pigeon Forge, travel south on the Parkway (US 441) to traffic light #10. Turn right onto Conner Heights Rd. After turning off of the parkway proceed 1.5 miles on the double yellow line. Our basecamp facility and large gravel parking lot will be on your left.

*Call us with questions or to make reservations at 865-429-9004*


For Reservations Call

E-MAIL: info@smokymountainziplines.com