Natural wonders like the Grand Canyon deserve to be experienced in spectacular ways. Indeed, one of the challenges of designing ways to experience these amazing places on Earth is finding a novel and new perspective on whatever it may be – a waterfall or a mountain. This is where experiences like taking a boat under Niagara Falls comes into the equation. For the Grand Canyon then, it was about the opposite kind of experience – trying to get high up in the air, to soar like an eagle, and so experience the incredible natural architecture from above.
A helicopter is one way, but that is very expensive, so the Hualapai tribe and the Grand Canyon West company came up with an even better thing – a zip line!
Tourists come in millions to the Grand Canyon West every year as it is one of the most picturesque natural sites on Earth. The red cliff walls set against the blue sky make for beautiful photos and a breathtaking experience in person. The company that overlooks development in this area is headed by the COO Rory Majenty of the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation.
Their first development was the incredibly successful Skywalk that lets visitors walk out over the canyon and experience it closer and nearer to them. It is estimated nearly a million visitors come to the Skywalk now, every year. Rory said the zip line is about creating a new kind of thrill for the Grand Canyon.
“It gives you a chance to enjoy the scenery, and soar kind of like an eagle, if you will,” said Rory Majenty. “They really get a scenic view of the canyon. That, again, I don’t think anywhere here at Grand Canyon West would you have that opportunity.” It remains to be seen how successful the zip line will be, but the project itself has been a long time coming. “We thought of making a zip line two years ago,” said Majenty. “It took us two years to do site planning and environmental and biological assessments to develop what is now Grand Canyon West Zip Lines.”
The first zip line constructed takes off from the height of a small tower that is built for the purpose. After going through the harnessing and a few safety demonstrations and checks, visitors will climb the tower and be confronted with the immensity of the Grand Canyon. From here, after hooking into the wire, the first zip line begins.
It is roughly 1, 000 feet long, across one valley, where you land on another platform. The second zip line is almost twice this length and can take a few minutes to cross. This gives the visitors a chance to calm down and get used to the thrill and view of the canyon. It is calculated that, on the zip line, one reaches speeds of 30km/h to 40km/h.
Rory says the project is about visitors and those living in the area, “I look at the future in terms of what we can do for our people, and also provide a first class experience to the visitor.”