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My most recent trip to Nevada was all about exploring an alternative side to the Silver State. Sure, we slept in Las Vegas and stuck to the neon lights at night, but our days were all about stimulation off the Strip. The pursuit of one such adventure brought us to nearby Boulder City to explore Bootleg Canyon — from the air.

I’ve been ziplining several times before — from one island to another in Thailand, over a raging river in Honduras, and through a lush jungle in Ecuador. Basically, you’ve got to wow me to get me excited over hopping into another harness. All kitted up and ready to fly, I gazed out the window during our van ride to the top of Red Mountain and realized this would indeed be a different experience than the ones I’d had before. For one thing, the landscape was from another world — vast red desert sculpted into canyon as far as the eye could see. I had my eyes peeled for big horn sheep, though I was warned they were most often spotted in the morning.

For another thing, the guides were a piece of work. I get the feeling that working at is the fantasy of overgrown frat boys/Seth Mcfarlane fans everywhere. While our sense of humors weren’t exactly aligned they got quite a few laughs out of me just for their sheer enthusiasm — and the depth of their emotional wounds when their jokes fell flat.

Exiting the van we had about a fifteen minute walk up the mountain. When we reached the top, I gave the boys a nod that said touché. Standing at 3,800 feet above sea level, the view was fabulous.

There was only one way to go — down. The course is made up of four ziplines gradually bringing flyers back down to the base of the mountain. Statistically, the course is impressive, with a 400 foot drop on the first run, a mile long (well, eight feet short) runway on the third run, and maximum speeds of 60mph — which granted, would seem a lot more intimidating had we not just raced cars on a professional racetrack.

And, of course, there are badass outfits to go along with it.

Actually, the getups were pretty impressive. There were plenty of -ready helmets to go around and the harnesses had pockets in the back for safely toting cameras, water, and the one thing I would have paid approximately one billion dollars for at the time — chapstick. For the love of all things holy, do not forget chapstick when flying down an aerial runway in the desert. Just thinking about its heavenly moisturizing properties almost made me faint.

What also almost made me faint, but in a good way? The drool-worthy views over Lake Mead, which looked like a mirage in the distance.

Despite the fact that there are only four runs, the entire experience takes about two and a half hours — you really get to know the mountain well. But thanks to the magic of technology, you can come along with me in two minutes or less!

After the final run, won my heart forever with a simple but beyond genius marketing move — a bucket of branded chapstick. My only constructive criticism would be to hand those babies out up on the course, but I was obviously too busy slathering my lips in waxy goodness to make any kind of suggestions.

But seriously, if you’re looking to break away from the Vegas strip and see a little bit of the aesthetics and adrenaline Nevada has to offer, Bootleg Canyon should be on your short list.

What’s the coolest place you’ve been ziplining?

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Many thanks to Travel Nevada for hosting me and showing me a new side of Nevada. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.

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38 Comments...
  • Susan
    June 30 2014

    This looks like so much fun! I’ve only been ziplining in Juneau, AK and on the ZipRider in Icy Straight Point, AK – so, lots of green there! I’ll definitely give this a try next time I’m in Nevada.
    Susan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      I’m dying to go to Alaska! Sounds like some fun ziplines 🙂

  • Katie
    June 30 2014

    Looks like so much fun!! I’ve always been afraid of heights, but I’ve been ziplining in Costa Rica and it was so worth getting over that fear for! The views are stunning, and there’s nothing like that feeling! 🙂
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Costa Rica definitely seems to be the zipline capital of the world! Yet that is one place I haven’t tried it.

  • Ashley
    June 30 2014

    That looks like an awesome place to go ziplining! I haven’t tried it yet and I’m not sure why. Will have to change that soon!
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      There are definitely opportunities almost everywhere you turn… just have to find the right ones!

  • Justine
    June 30 2014

    I’ve been ziplining once, in the Costa Rican jungle. I guess I have a mild fear of heights so I was super nervous. But when my mom pushed me aside and took the plunge, I realized I had to suck it up and go for it. It was SO cool. Ziplining through the desert looks awesome. I can’t get enough of those views! I will totally tackle those ziplines next time I’m in Nevada.
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      I’m lucky not to have a fear of heights, but some in my group definitely did! Glad I don’t have to stress over that with all my other anxieties 🙂

  • Jenna
    June 30 2014

    I was just looking into this the other day actually–we are heading to Vegas in August and I want to get off the strip some. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Looks like fun, we might have to go! Love the Chapstick idea too, can never have enough! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Ha, not when you’re a moisture addict like I am! I think this would be a great day trip. If you do it let me know how you like it!

  • Shaun
    June 30 2014

    I’ve got one not too far from my place. It’s more of a tree top adventure with four big zips at the end. Like you, it takes a lot to impress me ziplining but the odd one is enjoyable. I think I have the opposite of a fear of heights. I fear being on the ground for too long…
    Shaun recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Ha! There’s probably a phobia for that….

  • becky hutner
    June 30 2014

    wow, it seems you have left no stone unturned in the vegas area!
    as for my own ziplining career, it is comprised of exactly one run, at the base of an active volcano called mt mayon in the philippines. it was fun, a bit painful & resulted in a cringe-worthy “superman” photo.
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Ha, I did a one-run Superman zipline in the Philippines as well! It was actually a really fun one, short and sweet and we just happened upon it while tooling around Bohol on a motorbike. Bliss!

  • Jamie
    June 30 2014

    Yes! Love the video 🙂
    Jamie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Thanks Jamie! It definitely gives a sense of the day that photos just can’t!

  • Tyrhone
    June 30 2014

    Sweet, love that landscape, looking forward to getting up in my paramotor in Nevada when we head out to the States (Sarah has a sister in Vegas).

    You should try tandem paramotor somewhere on your travels, it is pretty spectacular.
    Tyrhone recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Oh wow, you will see some awesome landscape! Hopefully I’m giving you a few ideas for things to do when you get there 🙂 I’d definitely be down for trying paramotoring somewhere in the world.

  • Leah
    June 30 2014

    This does look fun! And I’m not the biggest fan of ziplining myself, I’ve also done a Thai version (on Koh Samui) and an Ecuadorian version (near Baños…upside-down…after eating a huge lunch…and we got stuck) but this is definitely different and you’re right, those views are spectac! xx
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Ha! I did the one in Baños as well but luckily did not get stuck. I also did one in Northern Thailand which was awesome but almost too long. By the end I was like fainting of hunger and ready to leap off the platforms to be back on solid ground!

  • Shaz
    June 30 2014

    Fun! I zip-lined in Costa Rica over a valley from one mountaintop to the other, it was pretty cool. They even put their dog in it and he looked like he was having a ball.
    Shaz recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Um… I would LOVE to see that! A dog on the course would totally convince me to do my 12th zipline 🙂

  • Kristen Noelle
    July 1 2014

    I went zip-lining from a mountain in Labadee, Haiti over a beautiful sparkling turquoise Caribbean sea, and on shorter but still cool zip lines once on a cruise ship(!) and once through the Freemont Street Experience. This view looks sickkk, I’d love to check it out on one of my next Vegas jaunts.
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Despite having never done it myself I’ve actually written about the cruise ship zipline before for a freelance outlet 🙂 Sounds awesome!

  • Miquel
    July 1 2014

    This post made me laugh out loud right from the start! I’ve had a few run-ins with some of these guides from living/working in Boulder City. While I haven’t done the zipline I can attest that “overgrown frat boys” is completely accurate.
    Miquel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      Ha 🙂 One of the girls on the tour turned to me at one point after a particularly fratty joke and deadpanned, “So, are these the guys we’d have to date if we lived in Las Vegas?” It was great.

  • I still haven’t been ‘ziplining’ yet, although I have been on, what we call in New Zealand, Flying foxes, which is a more basic version of ziplining. I will definitely give it a try one day
    Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      I’ve heard ziplines called flying foxes and never knew what that was all about… it must have been Kiwis I heard saying it! Now it all makes sense 🙂

  • Sarah
    July 2 2014

    I’ve been zip lining in Queenstown, new Zealand, it was foggy and cold (it’s winter here) but SO much fun! xx
    Sarah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2014

      I’ve heard New Zealand is the capital of all things adventure, so it sounds very appropriate! Love it!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    July 7 2014

    Like you, I’ve been ziplining at least a half dozen times (Cuba, Honduras, Hawaii, Montana, the list goes on), but I think our rainforest zip in St. Kitts this spring takes the cake. That said, I’d welcome the change in scenery and zipline through a desert instead!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2014

      You guys definitely convinced me to add St. Kitts to the list! And if a veteran like you deems a zipline noteworthy, I’d sign up on that recommendation alone 🙂

  • Katie
    August 10 2014

    I really want to try this, but I am deathly afraid of heights! For some reason this looks like something I could do- just because it goes so fast and doesn’t look “that” high.. (?)

    • Meihoukai
      August 12 2014

      There were some in our group who fear heights… and they were afraid 🙂 But I’d never discourage you from trying, Katie! It was awesome!

  • Samantha
    August 17 2015

    Looks like a great time. I have wanted to zip-line but been too chicken, lol. I guess I need to just get out there and do it one day (with chapstick, lol). Thanks for the great pictures and story.

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      This would be a great place to try it, the staff are really fun and I’m sure would ease your fears! Let me know if you go for it 🙂

  • Danielle
    September 7 2016

    Puerta Vallarta- Vallarta adventures! Its the real deal…..7 ziplines, 2 repels and a giant slide. Memory of a lifetime!

    • Meihoukai
      September 9 2016

      Fun! I’ll have to look it up when I’m in Mexico someday!