You can soar across the Catawba River on this island zipline canopy tour 30 minutes south of Charlotte

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You may already be familiar with the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s zipline offerings, but there’s another lesser known island zipline course just south of Charlotte in Rock Hill.

Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour is located on Fewell Island, a 100-acre island just south of Fort Mill Dam in the Catawba River.

There are three zipline tour options:

Full Zipline Tour – ($89, 3.5 hours) – You’ll ascend a 70-foot tower to kick off your tour of 9 ziplines, including a 900-foot line. This is the most popular option.

Bootleg Zipline Tour – ($65, 2 hours) – A shorter version of the full tour offering access to 5 ziplines. You will have an option just before the end to upgrade to the full tour if you decide to continue on. This is a good option if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy it and want to test it out before committing to the full tour.

Night Zipline Tour – ($95, 3.5 hours) – This is the full tour (all nine ziplines) but hosted after dark and only available on four Saturdays in November.

Tours are hosted Fridays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Night tours are at 6 p.m. on Saturdays in November only.

Note that duration times are estimates and will vary significantly based on the size of the group you’re in. On the day I went, there were just three of us. We did the bootleg tour and were done within about half the time allotted for it. Also, I kind of regret not upgrading to the full experience.

You’ll start with a quick primer on your gear followed by some practice training on a low rope.

Your guides will walk you through how to suit up — harness, helmet and gloves — before moving over to a low rope to explain proper zipline technique and how the procedure will work in the air.

There are two guides for every group and they handle all of your clipping in and out so there’s never any confusion. But you’ll have to know how to use a hand brake to slow down as you approach the tower as well as how to self-rescue if you get stuck in the middle of a line. You’ll practice both of those moves on the low rope.

This is the low rope where you’ll, uh, learn the ropes.

Here I am looking cool. I was the only adult in my group.

Then it’s time to ascend a 70-foot tower to kick off the tour.

I was extremely winded walking up this thing and my rapid heart beat and heavy breathing only increased when I realized I was about the hop right off of it and trust that little cable to get me across.

This is the only platform you’ll leave from a seated position and I don’t know if it was that or the fact that it was the first one that made it the most intimidating. Everything after that felt more approachable.

The coolest lines were the ones that took us straight over the Catawba River.

I believe there are 6 of those in the full tour. Sorry, but pulling out my phone in the middle of the line over the river was a little too reckless even for me — and I risk my phone’s life constantly.

A tour rep will be there to take photos of you at the start and end of your tour so you’ll have some photos. If you’re willing to risk your phone or camera’s life like I am, you can take it with you. A zippered pocket is highly recommended (but I didn’t have one and didn’t lose mine).

Want to give it a try?

Camp Canaan Zipline Tours are located on Fewell Island at 3111 Sand Island Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732. Reservations are required.

Plan to wear fitted clothing (baggy items can get hung up in the zipline) and close-toed shoes with socks. Avoid wearing a large belt buckle. They do operate rain or shine so dress accordingly.

You should lock valuables in your car and can store things like car keys at the front desk. Learn more about preparing for your tour here.

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Katie Levans Loveluck
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