When I was planning my trip to Yosemite, I knew the big hikes I wanted to do; Half Dome, a sequoia grove, and an alpine lake. I also knew that I wanted one unique adventure to show people. That's when I discovered Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch. Talk about unique! This family owned and operated ziplining ranch is about 1 hour away from the east entrance of Yosemite off Highway 140 near the town of Mariposa. Because I stayed at White Wolf Campground, it took about 2 hours to reach the ranch. It was a perfect way to escape the busy summer Saturday Yosemite crowd. The drive from Yosemite winds through the Merced River Recreation Area with towering hills and the glistening Merced river following along, not a bad little road trip.
After going through the quaint little town of Mariposa, Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch appeared on the right. I'll be honest, I wasn't entirely sure what to think upon first glance. It was almost 100 degrees, it was definitely a ranch, and what I could see of the zipline closest to the parking lot it looked to be only about 10 feet off the ground. Still, floating through the air for a new adventure seemed like a good way to spend the day. As soon as I talked to the staff, I realized we were in good hands, everyone was so incredibly nice and friendly. We waited for a British family to join us, got strapped in and given some basic instructions and we were off!
Two four wheelers took us up to the top of the first hill for line #1. One of my favorite parts of this ziplining experience was the informative history we learned at different stops along the way. We learned a little bit about the property and our trusty guides then offered to take everyones photos with the landscape. The first zipline was an excellent introduction to the experience. It was only about 100 feet off the ground and nothing too crazy fast.
Line 2 got a little bolder. Not only was the line taller, longer, and faster, we now had the option of lying upside down! I managed to get both hands off the handles...but lying down was a bit far off for me. It was still fun to get that adrenaline pumping. Next were lines 3 & 4, the racing ziplines. For this one the lines were parallel to one another and we raced our opponent to the end. Nothing like a little race to get my competitive spirit in gear!
From here, we got to unleash our inner carnival lover! Line #5 was a bean bag toss with a target on the ground. I was determined to nail the target but as soon as my harness started spinning me, it was over. Still a blast and fun cheering on everyone else.
After the bean bag toss, we piled back into the 4-wheelers and got a more extended tour of the ranch. At the next hilltop, our guides gave us an amazing history lesson on the ghost town of Mariposa that dates back to the gold rush. John C. Fremont accidentally purchased the property and soon discovered it had millions of dollars worth of gold under it. With his wealth, he purchased what is now San Francisco. He then invested the remainder of his wealth in the Pacific Railroad where he lost all of his money and died a poor man. Ok, now that you all learned something new...back to ziplining!
Line 6 was the tallest, longest, and fastest with the tallest point being just over 110 feet off the ground, almost 1000 feet in length and reaching up to 50mph. Most importantly, it was our last chance to lie down, so you can bet I took advantage of that and this time, I didn't chicken out. What a rush!
Line 7, the final zipline was almost as fast as line 6 but with no slowing down. During the instruction they emphasized very strongly to remember the basics: Take your hands OFF the handles, grab the yellow harness, and lean back so that the speed coming in would not cause us to injure ourselves when we reached the end. At this point I was so amped up from the day and cheesing for the camera at the end that I managed to forget all of this and KEEP my hands ON the handles! Well, the final pop taught me a lesson when I whipped backwards almost losing my helmet. Luckily I did not get anything other than a goose-egg on my forehead and a lot to laugh about.
Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch exceeded my expectations and was a perfect unique Yosemite adventure. Between the hilarious commentary from our instructors and the pure freedom you feel zipping through the air, I highly recommend this as an awesome family-fun day!
Afterwards we stopped to relax and enjoy the quaint town of Mariposa and peruse the small-town shops and enjoy the sights before heading back to camp for some dinner around the fire. A perfect adventure day in my books!
Go to www.yosemiteziptours.com to make a reservation and watch the entire Yosemite Part 2 episode below!
WHAT TO KNOW:
Mariposa's #1 Attraction
Family Owned and Operated
Location: Mariposa, CA (1 hour from Yosemite National Park)
Lines: 7 Ziplines, all with their own special flair
Time: About 2 hours
Who: Minimum age, 8 years old; Family-friendly
When: Year-round fun!
Price: $95 per person
What Else: Panning for Gold and an Aeriel Adventure also offered