At Iron Palm Bouldering, the rock-climbing walls don't extend much higher than about 14 feet?a good deal shorter than one might imagine. That's because the gym caters exclusively to bouldering, a version of climbing that places more emphasis on body control and problem solving than speed, height, or practice for beanstalk scaling. This might sound like a more demanding version of rock climbing?and it can be?but Iron Palm welcomes all levels to the sport with group and individual classes. As climbers get better, they can progress to more difficult techniques and more complex bouldering problems, which the gym happily encourages by changing the climbing routes every month.
The treetops are traditionally the playground of winged beasts and tiny, furry climbers. So it's not unnatural to do a double take upon seeing humans flying from tree to tree?at heights of up to 50 feet?with all the grace of a forest native. Today, 15 treehouses peek through the leaves of the sprawling wooded area, serving as resting points and educational outposts for visitors soaring on ziplines. The Beanstalk Journey at Catawba Meadows came to fruition to fulfill its builders? goal of providing fun and physical activities for families to enjoy. Now the park is open year-round, supplying adrenaline-pumping recreation to all who seek it.
Like veins coursing through the forest, swinging rope bridges and covered rope tunnels run through the foliage alongside ziplines of varying difficulty levels, enabling visitors to soar from tree to tree and finally assuage any regrets about not being born with hollow bird bones. For an extra challenge, the 32-foot beanstalk climbing tower and a massive multidirectional climbing web put upper- and lower-body strength to the test, and educational stations at each treehouse challenge minds with lessons on nature and local history. In addition to the standard attractions, outings can also be catered to visitors with special needs.
Combining the park's adventure opportunities with educational pursuits, the staff occasionally runs an adventure-photography workshop, nighttime zipline tours, and Birds of Prey Journeys. Continuing the mission to foster outdoor education and physical activity, the beanstalk's building team continuously erects new courses at other locales, ensuring that all are family friendly and none require hand braking.
The altitude fiends at Climb Upstate envision an alternative to a standard gym, where climbers of all skill levels can get fit and practice their vertical vernacular in their architect-designed indoor facility, which offers both monthly memberships and day rates. Climbers clamber through a simulated cave while perfecting their mole-people dialect or emulate a bouldering adventure on more than 100 feet of continuous scaling space. Numerous routes designed for every ability take advantage of the facility?s ample lean-back walls, 35 feet of roof climbing, and top-rope stations, two of which stretch all the way to the ceiling. Between ascents, guests may relax in the party space and catch screenings of climbing movies on a 42-inch flat-screen or dust off their chalky hands for a round of table tennis on the facility's ping-pong table.
Adventure Park at Five Oaks helps guests take in the natural splendor of the Smoky Mountains with leisurely horseback-riding trails and a towering network of adrenaline-inducing ziplines, which together span the park's 70-acre expanse. Staff members select from more than 50 horses residing at the park’s stable, allowing them to make careful matches with customers based on their comfort and experience levels. Guests seeking solace can weave through wooded trails while bonding with noble beasts, whereas thrill seekers reach up to 50 miles per hour on a network of ziplines. The canopy-scanning lines are also open during evening hours, providing guests with ample opportunity to view starlit mountaintops and roast hotdogs in their homemade lunar ovens.
Wahoo Ziplines centers on stretch of six ziplines that runs for a total of more than two miles in length. The canopy tour is two hours in length and offers scenic views of the mountains and surrounding terrain from up to 250 feet in the air. Guides help visitors of all ages don the harness before launching them from hilltop to hilltop at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
As Steve Garrett hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2008, he felt called to leave the corporate life he led near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and move to the mountains with his family. His wife, Johnna, supported his dream?so they and their children moved to Tennessee to run Smoky Mountain Llama Treks.
Their fluffy, pettable llamas don't spit, kick, or run off?rather, the gentle pack animals carry loads for hikers on treks through fields and woods. Though the llamas can't be ridden, their ability to carry food and gear makes it easier for hikers to enjoy mountain views and cartwheel down the trails. In addition to leading groups on hikes, the staff can also coordinate adventures including zipline tours through the forest canopy, rafting, and helicopter tours.