As far as exhilarating experiences go, few things can top the adrenaline rush of riding on a zipline. Whether you are careening through a lush rainforest, whizzing down a mountainside, or even flying from one end of your backyard to the other, a zipline provides a level of excitement like no other. Since ziplines are all about getting from point A to point B quickly and thrillingly, how long can ziplines get?
The world’s longest zipline is the 1.7-mile-long Jebel Jais zipline located in the UAE. Closer to home, the 5,523-foot-long CataMonster is the longest zipline in the US. For backyard use, at-home ziplines average several hundred feet and top out at around 500 feet.
The sensation of being suspended in the air and hurtling down a zipline may be the closest thing you will ever get to flying and the duration of your flight is dictated by the length of the cable. Thinking about ziplining for the first time or want to know whether you can set one up in your backyard? Keep reading for everything you need to know about zipline lengths, including how incredibly long they can be.
What Is the Longest Possible Zipline?
Because a zipline works by transporting the rider along a suspended cable, it stands to reason that the longer the cable, the lengthier the journey, and presumably, the greater the overall experience. You may be wondering, how long could a zipline possibly get? The answer will surely surprise you.
The world’s longest zipline is in the unlikeliest of places. Tucked away in a secluded mountain range in the northernmost region of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East, the Jebel Jais Flight is the longest zipline on the planet and by a very wide margin (more on this later).
Here are some of the incredible characteristics of this record-setting zipline:
- The Jebel Jais Flight zipline has a continuous length of 9,290 feet (approximately 2,832 meters), which is over 1.7 miles long
- For perspective, this is longer than 28 football fields placed end to end
- As far as travel time, the exhilarating journey on the Jebel Jais Flight from start to finish lasts roughly three minutes, which by zipline standards, is an eternity
- The record-setting length established by this engineering marvel has been validated by Guinness World Records
Jebel Jais Flight is roughly 2,000 feet longer than the next longest zipline, the aptly named “Monster” in Toro Verde Adventure Park, located in the heart of Puerto Rico. As recently as 2018, before the Jebel Jais Flight began operations, the 7,234-foot-long was the longest zipline in the world.
Closer to home, the longest zipline on American soil is in New York’s Catamount Ski Resort.
Coming in at 5,523 feet in length, the CataMonster, as this zipline has been named, has an elevation drop of over 1,000 feet from the launching pad to its base, and sends riders whizzing down the Berkshire/Taconic Mountains at speeds topping out at 60 miles per hour.
Here’s a video showing the worlds longest zipline:
Longest at Home Zipline
If you have children in the house or are simply a kid at heart, an at-home zipline will provide next-level entertainment that will make you the talk of the neighborhood. The length of an at-home zipline generally starts at 50 feet and tops out at 500 feet for most backyards or outdoor spaces.
As a practical matter, the maximum length of an at-home zipline will be dictated by the size and layout of your space. Even though you may be able to install a lengthier zipline, circumstances may prescribe going with a shorter run for safety or maintenance reasons.
These are the primary factors determining how long your at-home zipline can be:
- The size and layout of the open areas (i.e., no obstructions or hazards that can cause injury or hamper installation) of your outdoor space
- A ziplining corridor with at least a 7-foot clearance in every direction of the cable
- The location and suitability of trees or supports for anchoring a zipline cable (they must be able to withstand up to 3,000 pounds of horizontal pressure)
- The slope or incline of your outdoor space – typically, a 3-foot elevation drop for every 100 feet of cable is standard, but a 6-foot drop is acceptable for ziplines with bungee-style brakes
- Because a zipline sags 2 feet for every 100 feet of length, this factor, along with the terrain’s slope, will dictate how high you need to anchor the cable at the starting and ending points, which in turn will require trees or posts of certain heights (working this in reverse, the height of your anchor trees or posts will affect how long your zipline can be)
As you can see, installing an at-home zipline requires meticulous planning. There is far more to setting up a backyard zipline than attaching a cable to two trees or posts.
While the temptation to maximize the length of the cable run (and thus, the ziplining fun) may be very tempting, common sense and prudence dictate that rider safety comes first, even if it means sacrificing how long your zipline stretches.
How Long Are Average Ziplines?
Zipline lengths can vary greatly, depending on the setting. At-home ziplines installed in a backyard or private property start at around 50 feet long and reach 500 feet (or even longer if space permits) if the proper clearances and anchor points can be established.
On larger, more open expanses of land, ziplines can range from several hundred feet to well over a thousand feet in length.
Commercial ziplines (i.e., the ones that cost you money to ride) are significantly longer than privately owned ziplines and are typically set in very scenic surroundings.
Their lengths measure thousands of feet and many also involve dramatic descents propelling riders to death-defying speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
Regardless of the locale or the length of the cable, ziplines are a great way to let off some steam and experience an adrenaline rush like no other.
Whether you’re descending down the face of a mountain or careening from one end of your backyard to the other, ziplining can be the thrill of a lifetime, no matter how long or short the flight.