Climbing in Athens

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ZipNTime's certified guides transform the Nacoochee Valley's lush treetops and rolling mountainsides into an adrenaline-packed history classroom in which they spin tales of gold miners, moonshiners, and early Native Americans. Adventures start in the swamp, where a 1970s-era military vehicle takes groups to their mountain starting point. Once there, everyone soars across zipline routes, reliving their past lives as paper airplanes. Between these canopy flights, the guides recount local legends and historical anecdotes, and?depending on the tour?they might also take groups on hikes over a swinging bridge, take on The Intimidator Big Zip, which stretches over nearly a half-mile, or into an authentic 19th-century goldmine where they can catch a glimpse of old steam-powered ATMs.

7019 S Main St.
Helen,
GA
US

For this 5K race, a normally tame park or other venue is transformed into Mean Streets, an urban-themed obstacle course. In the Construction Zone, participants navigate over and under traffic barriers of different heights followed by a dive into a trash-filled dumpster. After bypassing the dumpster zone, runners test their stamina as cat burglars, scrambling through first-floor windows and trespassing through backyards. They barely touch ground before scaling upward once again on the Time-to-Climb portion of the course, which features a Jason Bourne-esque run across the rooftops. Finally, contestants climb out a window and onto the fire escape, swinging across an 8-foot ladder to reach the finish.

2500 Buford Drive
Lawrenceville,
GA
US

When autumn strikes, the air might grow cooler, but the sun really shines on Mitcham Farm. That's the time of year that the farm truly comes to life, keeping families busy with a full day's worth of farm activities. Trusty hayrides circle the entire grounds, showcasing the fields of pick-your-own pumpkins, the giant sand pile and mountain slide, and the corn canons. It also gives a ground-level view of a seven-acre maze cut into the corn. If guests decide to navigate the twisting stalks, they'll have to use their powers of deduction by solving clues pertaining to a mystery or determining which scarecrow is most likely to accept bribes.

When night falls on weekends, hayrides meander to the bonfire pit where guests can warm hands and cook marshmallows over the flickering flames. Of course, a hayride isn't your only option when it comes to touring the grounds––helicopter rides also whisk guests over the verdant property to give them a bird's eye view of all the autumn festivities below.

797 West Macedonia Church Road
Oxford,
GA
US

Nestled in the high branches of Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, a network of ropes, ladders, and bridges invites amateur adventurers to scurry across their lengths. Although Treetop Quest’s ropes courses hover as high as 55 feet above the ground, guests stay safe thanks to a belay system that’s impossible to detach at canopy level. During self-guided adventures, they encounter more than 70 obstacles, whooshing along ziplines, scaling rope nets, and carefully crossing suspension and monkey bridges. Before guests ascend through the branches, instructors issue them harnesses and gloves and give them a thorough safety briefing. The courses vary in difficulty and height to accommodate all experience levels and ages, allowing visitors as young as 4 to enjoy a challenge, even if it’s just trying to sweet-talk a squirrel into sharing his stash of Corn Nuts.

Amid the excitement, Treetop Quest educates patrons on the surrounding environment through plaques and info boards at each course level. The courses operate sustainably to respect their arboreal hosts; the structures are treatment-free and don’t puncture the trees in any way.

2020 Clean Water Dr.
Buford,
Georgia
US

Appalachian Wilderness Guides leads avid adventurers on Mother Nature explorations and mountainous hikes. Teaming with northern Georgia wineries, the wine-tasting trek whisks vino-lovers through Georgia vineyards, helmed by a tour guide and including a palate-pleasing tasting with accompanying snacks. For the wide-eyed wilderness warrior, the family camping trip provides one night of mind-melding with the outdoors in a provided tent with sleeping bags. Start with a brisk day hike, and then finish with a campfire to nibble on hot dogs, hamburgers, and marshmallows. Along the way, Appalachian Wilderness Guides participate as little or as much as you like, meaning its leaders can leave after setting up the tent or stay to tell campfire stories about the Supreme Court justices who are lurking in the woods. All guides of the uneven grounds are certified in wilderness first-aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Outdoors Ethics, ensuring the safe removal of unnecessary waste.

4800 Northbrook Court
Conyers,
GA
US

A group of Navy SEALs designed the BattleFrog Race Series. This trio of obstacle courses?15K, 5K, and 1K?challenges bodies and minds with scenarios similar to what SEALs face in their training sessions. Each course has a different number of obstacles. Participants climb nets, slosh through mud, and swim with intensity, all while building teamwork and testing their endurance. The events also feature live SEAL demonstrations and exhibits along with food and music.

1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway Northeast
Conyers,
GA
US