Browns Canyon Adventure Park Near Buena Vista, Colorado.
The snowboard zip line in “Canyon Rim”.

Get Browns Canyon Adventure Park Passes at River Runners

Passes: Adult $55; Child $48

Call 800-723-8987 to Book

High Hopes for High Ropes

By: Emily Sievert

If someone had told me that I would be zip-lining on a snowboard suspended 35 ft above the Arkansas River today, I would have thought they were lying. Yet in this case, they would have been right. The snowboard zip line is just one part of the new high ropes challenge course on the Arkansas River. River Runners and other rafting companies in Buena Vista, Colorado are offering trips to the Browns Canyon Adventure Park during the 2013 rafting season.

I couldn’t believe that I was going to be one of the first people to try it! The course opened in June and has since been entertaining anyone over seven with its high flying adventure sequences.

The best part about this course is that there is something for everyone. It is set up in levels with the easiest level at the bottom and the hardest level sitting 35 ft above the ground.

The beginner level, or “The Arkansas River Playpen”, starts you off on a balance beam that is barely wider than your foot and finishes with a giant vertical spider web made of rope, which is the only way off the course.

Browns Canyon Adventure Park.
Father and daughter side-by-side run through “Canyon Rim”.

If that sounds too easy, the next step would be to venture into “The Canyon Rim” or the intermediate section of the course. This section can accommodate two people going side-by-side together allowing for a teamwork aspect or a (safe) race. This is where I found myself snowboarding through the sky today and I have to say, it was a first. The adventure in “The Canyon Rim” was enough for me at that point, but I was able to watch as the group I had teamed up with braved the highest tier of the course called “The Colorado Peaks Playpen.” The younger members of the group flew through the dangling rope section and the wire rim bridge that looked like a stretched out slinky. However, even more impressive was the 67-year-old woman who took on “The Colorado Peaks” course like it was a cake walk. You could say I quickly regretted my decision to take pictures from the sidelines.

Our oldest group member walking the rope bridge
Our oldest group member walking the rope bridge.

Another aspect of the course that really impressed me was the state-of-the-art equipment that was a theme throughout the course. For me, this added to both the enjoyment and the safety aspect of my experience. The belay system used on the beginner and the advanced sections was called the “smart-belay” and it allowed the user to navigate themselves throughout the course independently. Another feature of the belay was the two clips holding you to the structure could not be undone at the same time so one clip always had you securely fastened to the course. This allowed for my concern to be more about how far the ground was from my feet than how safe I was while walking the course.

Overall my experience was exactly what I had been hoping for and more. I was impressed by the friendliness of the staff, the speed at which we were fit into harnesses, the actual course itself and the safety precautions that were pre-thought of before the course was even opened. This course was appropriate for people both young and old and will be a good time for the whole family. I can’t wait until I can have a second experience with this course and try my hand at the advanced level. For anyone looking for dry alternative adventure to add to their trip, this course is the place to be. The Browns Canyon Adventure Park is now a part of the adventure mecca surrounding Buena Vista, Colorado and it is here to stay.