The thought of zipping down a mountain at treetop level can make even the hardiest adventurer a bit nervous. And flying downhill suspended on a thin cable isn't the only thing that rattles the nerves: A zip line adventure can cost $150 or more. Cheapism.com thought there must be a way to get that kind of excitement for less, and we were right. Here are 11 zip lines that offer speed, views, and plenty of adrenaline for $50 or less.
The Wears Valley zip line course in Sevierville, Tennessee, offers excellent views of Smoky Mountain National Park. The basic course is more than a half mile long and 175 feet high. Visitors rave about the experience on TripAdvisor, with 98 percent of the reviewers giving it a five out of five score. The staff is friendly and encouraging, and riders feel exhilarated but safe. The price is just under $50 after using the coupon found on the course's website. For an additional $20, the length of the course is more than doubled to 6,700 feet.
For just $13 you can take a ride down one of the longest single-cable zip lines in the world. The Mega Tirolesa in Pedra Bela, Brazil, is 6,234 feet long. The zip line, a two-hour drive from Sao Paulo, isn't the fastest line in the world -- you'll "only" reach speeds of 66 miles per hour -- but it's exciting and cheap.
With seven different lines ranging from 500 to 1,640 feet and a total course length of 8,202 feet, the Natura Vive zip line course in Peru is a thrill. The rides and the guides receive top marks on Trip Advisor. Transportation to nearby Cusco and lunch are provided for about $50, but prepare for a 30-40 minute hike to get started. For an added fee, you can climb a via ferrata (a protected climbing route) and even stay overnight in sleeping pods 400 feet above the valley floor.
In Barryville, New York, Kittatinny Canoes has created a race like none other. At over 3,000 feet, the dual racing zip lines are two of the longest on the East Coast. Riders drop approximately 36 stories in about two minutes while flying 150 feet above the ground. A ride is $37 during the week or $39 on weekends.
In Italy, near the border with Austria, Adrenaline X-Treme Adventures has created one of the longest zip lines in Europe. For about $50, riders can pick from 10 sections stretching over 10,000 feet. The longest individual line is 2,550 feet, soaring as high as 330 feet above the ground.
You climb a three-story tower before taking the initial leap of faith on the Nitro zip line in Glacier View, Alaska. That wouldn't be much on its own, but the structure is on the edge of a cliff, so it feels much higher. The zip line is more than 1,500 feet long, and you'll go up to 40 miles an hour with a view of forests, streams, and mountains. The cost is $39 for an adult with a discount code (mentioned on the company website), and there is a second longer and taller G2 zip line that's available for $79.
Zip lines are called flying foxes in some parts of the world, and in Neemrana, India, the five-line flying fox course zips you across the Aravalli mountains while offering a superb view of the 15th century Neemrana Fort Palace below. The line, near Delhi, costs about $35, and if you book online the price includes entrance to the fort as well.
With top speeds of 100 miles an hour and average speed of 75, the more than one mile-long ride in Sun City, South Africa, will fly by. Riders lay flat, head first and face down, for maximum excitement. Solo and tandem rides are available. The price is approximately $50 a person, although there's an extra fee if you need to arrange transportation from nearby Johannesburg.
There are two inexpensive zip line experiences within the glittering lights of Vegas. The VooDoo zip line connects two towering hotels and is open from noon to midnight. Tickets cost $28 each and riders travel nearly 500 feet at speeds of up to 33 miles an hour while dangling 450 feet in the air. The other, SlotZilla, has two options. The Zipline ($20) drops 77 feet in all, landing riders in the middle of Fremont Street. The longer Zoomline ($40) starts 114 feet in the air and has riders lay flat as they zoom across the length of Fremont Street, 1,750 feet in total.
Close to the port city of Durban, South Africa, the Lake Eland Game Reserve operates 14 zip lines that form the longest circuit in the country. You'll soar over the 1,000 foot Oribi Gorge and skim the surface of a lake. The circuit costs $42 (there's a 20 percent discount if you go on a weekday), but the price includes entrance to the reserve where you can see a wide range of animals.
Chang Mai in northern Thailand is popular with travelers from all over the world. The bronze package at Eagle Track is about $50 if you book at least 30 days in advance and includes rides on six zip lines. Some past visitors recommend the silver ($58) or gold ($74) packages that include more lines, but others on TripAdvisor found the bronze to be a good introductory course. The price includes pick up from your hotel and a buffet lunch upon return.