Have you ever wanted to fly? Now, you can. Fly through the Shawnee Forest Canopy at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour with Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours, an exhilarating Zipline experience that gives you an aerial view of the beautifully diverse Shawnee Forest, the only National Forest in Illinois.

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours in rural Makanda, Illinois, is situated on 83 acres of gorgeous private land surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. Participants have the opportunity to soar on up to 8 different ziplines, traverse suspension bridges that float over the forest floor, and walk short hikes through the forest’s trails, taking in the scents and sounds of the woods as you prepare to embark on your next zipline run.

People, who have tried numerous Zipline tours all over the world, have said that Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours is one of the best Zipline canopy tours that they have ever experienced. It is a unique blending of awesome natural surroundings and heart pounding exhilaration.

What is a Zipline Canopy Tour?

Large, robust wires suspended on slopes in the private course with pulleys attached allow you to hook up your gear and let the forces of gravity propel you through the forest canopy with ease. Guests are accompanied by trained, experienced guides throughout all portions of the Zipline tour.

One of the things that sets this tour apart is the eco-friendly nature of the entire experience. Being 100% tree-based, it has no man-made towers or cement. The course is designed to create the most thrilling experience, while having minimal impact to the environment.

The course was built by Geronimo Construction, a premiere builder of world class zip lines. Their patented tree platforms are designed to have the fewest tree intrusions in the industry and allow for the trees to grow naturally without experiencing repetitive injury.

Are Ziplines Safe?

The best part of the zipline experience is that you are always surrounded by trained professionals. The guides are fun and friendly.  They make certain that everyone is absolutely safe at all times. Many people have at least some fear of heights.  Yet, the reassuring staff are able to instill confidence in even the most hesitant of visitors.

Be sure to arrive 30 minutes early, because your confidence-building starts with “Flight School.”  Before visitors are permitted to travel on the main ziplines, they receive training on a short zipline that is located very close to the ground. In Flight School, guests are trained how to brake in order to control their own speed and become familiar with the equipment and procedures needed to have a fun and safe experience on their zipline tour. 

What is the Canopy Tour Like?

The actual zipline tour begins with shorter and slower ziplines which are 180 and 160 feet in length. As experience and confidence build, the ziplines become longer and potentially faster. By the middle of the tour, participants are soaring through the forest canopy on ziplines ranging from 690 to 765 feet in length. The eighth, and final, zipline is nearly 1,100 feet long and participants can travel at speeds approaching 40 miles per hour!

Throughout the tour, the guides share information about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area.  Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours isn’t just an adrenaline rush. Participants also learn something about nature and the environment in the process.

Who Can Zipline?

If you are of average mobility and strength and in reasonably good health, there is no reason you can’t take a zipline tour. There are only a few stipulations:

  • You must weigh between 50 and 270 pounds.
  • Those under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Older minors must have permission from their parent or guardian before they take the zipline tour.
  • Arrive 30 minutes early so you have time to participate in safety training.
  • The cost of tours include digital downloads of all the photos from your tour.

If you are questioning whether your days of doing Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours are long gone, know that people in their 80s have taken the tour.

How Do I Book a Canopy Tour?

There are 2 tours available with Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours. Each of them are loaded with ziplines, rope bridges and adventure. When you book The Chipmunk Canyon Run, you get a shorter course lasting about two hours and consisting of 5 ziplines, 2 short hikes, and 2 arial bridges.

However, if you have the time, we recommend doing the full course: book The Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. This 3-hour course is $90 per person and is overflowing with excitement. Consisting of 8 zip lines, 3 suspension bridges, and 3 short hikes, it features the longest zipline on the course.

Call Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours (1-855-386-9477) or reach them through the contact page on their website. GPS doesn’t always take you to the correct location, so be sure to call or follow the directions listed on their website to enjoy your ziplining adventure in the Shawnee National Forest.

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