On the mighty Arkansas River in Colorado, inside the jagged walls of Lost Canyon, sits a jungle gym of epic proportions. Think: 120 different elements — variations of trapezes, catwalks, tightropes, and ladders — elevated 50 feet off the ground. Participants navigate the mammoth structure by clipping into a smart belay system that's attached to fixed safety cables at all times.
The Canyon Aerial Adventure Park, one of just two in the western U.S., is the creation of Monty Holmes. "They have aerial adventure parks all over Europe, literally hundreds and hundreds of them," says Holmes, who has been in the zip-line business for more than a decade, but found few resources for erecting an aerial adventure park in the U.S. He wound up contracting an expert team from Switzerland to do the design, and employed 25 people (and one 200-foot crane) to build out the park, which is the first ever inside a canyon.
Each of Canyon Aerial Adventure Park's nine courses link together through about a dozen elements, and range in difficulty (and fear factor) from yellow to double black. So far, only a handful of guests have completed the double black, which is the most hair-raising course in terms of both distance from the ground and required skill. The aerial park joins six existing zip lines strung across the canyon ranging from 200- to 700-feet, and a Via Ferrata, or "Iron Road," climbing course on the canyon's cliffs. "This is the place where Indiana Jones meets Spider-Man," Holmes says. "You have to see it to believe it." [$69, ages 8 and up; captainzipline.com]