My wife Emily is afraid of heights. So I decided to take her on the highest, longest zip line in the Southeast.

Navitat’s new Blue Ridge Experience canopy tour is Southern Appalachia’s most extreme zip adventure. The three-zip tour includes one zip that’s nearly three-quarters of a mile, and another that spans a 350-foot-deep gorge.

Emily was visibly nervous on the van ride to the top of the ridge. I held her sweaty hand as we walked up the trail toward the first zip. She was unusually quiet on the wooden platform launch pad. But once her harness was locked in to the cable, she actually seemed to relax and surrender to the experience.

Our guide counted down 3…2…1….

The gate dropped from beneath her feet, and suddenly my sweet little acrophobic was flying through the trees at 50 miles per hour.

By the time she reached the landing platform, fear had been replaced with awe.

“It’s not scary at all,” she said, breathless. “It’s peacefully exhilarating, or exhilaratingly peaceful…not sure which.”

The Blue Ridge Experience includes three pairs of tandem zip lines that allowed Emily and I to ride side-by-side. Together we soaked in the sweeping vistas of Southern Appalachia. On the next two zips, Emily actually slowed herself down above the steepest, deepest drop so she can take in more of the beauty. Stretching across the horizon were Craggy Dome and Craggy Pinnacle, their summits cloaked in a gauzy wisp of cloud. Below, the mountain valley where we lived was just visible behind two undulating green waves of ridgeline.

It was breathtaking and thrilling, but not in a roller coaster sort of way,” Emily explained afterward. “I felt like I was riding on the back of a bird.”

–The best (and busiest) time for canopy tours is fall foliage season. Learn more at