The History of the Zipline

When we think of ziplines, we think about them as an almost purely recreational undertaking. And while this may be true of the ziplines that we all know and love today, it has not always been this way. For example, zip0lines can be utilized to help reach remote areas that would be otherwise difficult to access.

Want to know more about the origins of the zipline? Aside from our entertainment purposes, that is! zipline fun


Many believe that the modern zipline has its beginnings in ancient China – where it was used as a way to cross large bodies of water, such as rivers. The Australians also have used ziplines for similar purposes – to access parts of the outback that would otherwise be extremely difficult to reach. This use as transportation has actually been published too! HG Wells referred to ziplines in his book The Invisble Man in 1897.

Another theory about the origins of ziplines is that they were more popularized and refined by wildlife biologists who needed an easier way to navigate the areas that they were studying.  It also had the benefit of allowing the biologists to study the area that they were located, but without upsetting or becoming involved with the natural actions of the beings on ground level. From this, canopy tours were born! They quickly became popular in tropical locations such a Costa Rica as a popular way to explore the region; but without doing a huge amount of damage to the environment in the process.

Here at Ridge’s Zipline we try to take some of these characteristics to heart when designing our courses! This way when our guests zipline, they get to truly experience nature – and also parts of it that they would otherwise never have seen. Do you have a question for us about ziplines? Or are you searching for adventure a little closer to home than China or Costa Rica? Leave a comment below! Or simply give us a call at 800-723-8972!