Kanab Zip Line offers high speeds, mile-high thrills

KANAB – On 40 acres of unspoiled desert landscape sits a sky-high attraction that rivals similar experiences throughout the world for speed, scenery and safety.

“I had a couple the other day, and they have been on zip lines all over the world,” Justin Barnes, manager of Kanab Zip Line, said. “They said that third run wasn’t like anything they’ve ever experienced on any other zip line.”

A man prepares to ride the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News
A man prepares to ride the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News

Kanab Zip Line is located east of Kanab on U.S. Highway 89, on the outskirts of town. The attraction includes three zip line runs in a row – each one faster than the last.

“Run three, you get flying,” Barnes said.

Once participants are at the zip line, they are actually a mile above sea level, Barnes said.

The first run, 350 feet in the air, is around 950 feet long. Run two is 70 feet in the air and about 400 feet long. Run three is 400 feet long and concludes just above the ground. On the last run, participants can ride two people at a time.

Most zip lines fall into one of two categories, Barnes said: adventure or scenic. Adventure zip lines, which are rare, typically go very fast, while scenic zip lines are generally slow so riders can take in the views around them. Kanab Zip Line offers the best of both worlds: It is both incredibly fast and superbly scenic.

Another unique attribute of the Kanab Zip Line is that the zip line guides do all the work – customers don’t have to do any braking. Barnes said some zip line businesses merely give riders a big leather glove to use on the cable, which he said is dangerous because the trolley can go over a rider’s hand.

A man prepares to ride the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News
A man prepares to ride the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News

“We have ours designed where the guides control everything,” Barnes said, “and all you have to do is sit in the harness and enjoy the ride.”

The weight limit for riding the Kanab Zip Line is 70 pounds minimum and 270 pounds maximum.

Each ride on the zip line typically lasts about 35 seconds, depending on factors like the weather. While that may sound like a short ride, Barnes said it seems much longer when you’re the one up in the air.

“It’s comparable to a roller coaster,” he said. “When you’re watching it, it seems real short, but when you’re on it, it seems like it lasts a long time.”

Riders are transported to Vermilion Cliffs in a four-wheel drive SUV to reach the zip line’s starting point. The total experience from arrival to departure is typically about 90 minutes.

The Kanab Zip Line is a family-owned business. Barnes and his family members own a total of four zip line businesses – the Kanab Zip Line plus two in Hawaii and one in Glendale, Utah. They began building the Kanab Zip Line three years ago and opened it mid-season last year.

Barnes said two different firms engineered the Kanab Zip Line to ensure maximum safety.

“I’ve had engineers say, ‘I’m not going to let my family go down until I see it,’” he said.

A man completes a ride on the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News
A man completes a ride on the Kanab Zip Line, Kanab Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kanab Zip Line, St. George News

Once they see the zip line, however, their concerns vanish.

“They go up there and they say: ‘This thing is way over-engineered – overbuilt,” Barnes said. “Safety is not even an issue. Let’s go!’”

The Kanab Zip Line is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. To schedule a ride or for more information, call 435-819-0697.

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4 Comments

  • My Evil Twin June 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Wonderful, you start off right from the headline with false advertising! “Kanab Zip Line offers high speeds, mile-high thrills,” then in the article you find that while it may be 5280 feet above sea level it is only 400 feet above the ground.
    Wonder if the false advertising carries over to their claims for safety: “They go up there and they say: ‘This thing is way over-engineered – overbuilt,” Barnes said. “Safety is not even an issue. Let’s go!’”

    • Monty June 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Did you expect the zip line to be a mile off the ground? Ever hear the term, “Mile High City”? Do you think the entire city of Denver is on really tall stilts?

      • My Evil Twin June 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        So are you saying that there is nowhere in the area where there is a vertical fall of a mile or more, from the top of a butte or mesa to a valley floor? Sorry, Monty, I just don’t like advertising that is misleading.
        As far as the mile high city, I became a member of the mile high club, flying out of the mile high city as a late teenager. :-p

  • My evil twins stupid June 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    At least it’s safer than riding motorcycles. Are both these peddles and levers a clutch or is one a brake?

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