Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides' team of certified scalesmen leads climbers of all skill levels skyward during five unique outdoor climbing adventures. Each peak-bound pilgrimage throughout the Red River Gorge and Lake Vesuvius focuses on teaching students safe climbing techniques. During the beginners? course, greenhorns learn basic fundamentals, such as knot tying, using equipment before applying new skills to an actual climb. The instructor squad also shares their passion for scaling via traditional and sport climbing sessions that cater to seasoned mountaineers. A preclimb email briefs students on what items to bring, and KRAG outfits each guest with the necessary trimmings for safe ascension, including a helmet, rock-climbing shoes, and ropes to lasso low-flying weather balloons.
Countless trees fly by under your feet as you soar hundreds of feet above the ground. Suddenly, the forest floor below opens up into a gorge. At Red River Gorge Zipline, riders witness this incredible sight on regular canopy tours set amid the picturesque wilderness of Daniel Boone National Forest. The system's ziplines span more than 4,000 feet above the forest canopy, with the longest reaching about 1,900 feet in length. At the end of the tour, dual racing ziplines send riders charging down from more than 200 feet above the ground, and reaching speeds exceeding 50 mph. All of Red River Gorge Zipline's guests are strapped into harnesses for the duration of their tours, while helmet cams document their adventure.
Rock Gem Climbing Center challenges any level of climber with varying ascents and curved bouldering faces. The staff helps climbers take full advantage of the facilities with lessons, belaying duties, and gear demos. Groups can head to Rock Gem to climb together during special events or birthday parties, and all visitors should wear comfortable, loose clothing that allows full range of motion.
Deep within the Appalachian Mountains, the forest's leaves flutter as a blurry figure speeds by. But the creature high above the treetops isn't a bird, a plane, or a sports mascot recently released back into the wild. It's a person strapped into one of Black Mountain Thunder Zipline’s 11 ziplines, which take customers some 400 feet above the ground and at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Spread over 1.5 miles, the ziplines wind through canopies and down mountain slopes on trips that last roughly two hours. Expert guides tag along on every tour to ensure safety and instruct adventurers on equipment.
A 360-turn around Kid's Place Adventure Playground reveals obstacles and structures for kids to climb over, dive into, and jump on. They can careen down slides and into a plastic ball abyss before testing their agility at the rock climbing wall or writing "Dear John" letters to gravity in the bounce house. The arcade entertains with skeeball and air hockey, and even toddlers get in on the action in their own private area. Parents, in turn, barely have to lift a finger except to point at the snack bar menu when refueling their brood.
Sure, there's mud. Like many other 5ks across the country, the Lion's Chase will get you dirty. But its creators take the most pride in the race's obstacles. From a 20-foot shear rock wall to a 75-foot cable walk over a pond, the trek through 250 acres of trails, creeks, and waterfalls is packed with challenges. Although the course offers a sort of sylvan paradise, it's only 90 minutes from Lexington and 75 minutes from Knoxville, making it easy for city-dwellers to attend.