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Southern California: Zip line to open in Wrightwood

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Many travel trends sound like a stint in the Peace Corps. Eco-travel. Voluntourism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – in fact it’ll get you points in heaven (talk about frequent flier miles). But for pure whimsy, it’s hard to beat the rising number of zip lines over the last few years.

Add a major Wrightwood course to your list. Beginning in July, Navitat Canopy Adventures plans to operate a zip-line tour that it is calling a "rainforest-style canopy excursion," meaning that it will have a series of different zip lines that stop along the way so that riders can study and learn about the habitat (there’s that learning thing again). Most local zip lines offer that sort of study-and-learn approach, but this will be the first one in Wrightwood, about 90 minutes from Los Angeles.

The course, which will employ up to 70 staffers, will be at the Wrightwood Guest Ranch property, a 300-acre retreat between the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest. The design will rely on trees rather than poles or platforms. Runs will vary in height from 15 feet to more than 250 feet off the ground, and will range from 200 feet to 1,500 feet in length.

Bonsai Design Inc. is building the course of platforms and zip lines.

"The Wrightwood site is amazing -- awesome trees, expansive long-range views of the mountains, great elevation,” said John Walker, president of Bonsai Design Inc. and a partner in the Navitat development. Navitat currently operates a tour in the mountains of western North Carolina.

The Wrightwood course will join several other Southern Caifornia zips, including:

Action Zipline Tours in Big Bear, (909) 866-0390, $95.

Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour, (800) 626-1496, $103 ($113 summer weekends).

San Diego Zoo Safari Park, (760) 747-8702, $70 plus $35 park admission.

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