Treasures of Little Egypt: Zipline Through Southern Illinois on the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour, a zipline tour company, opened April 19 to provide family fun and complement Southern Illinois’s tourism industry.
“We have eight ziplines and three aerial bridges and three short ground hikes through the Shawnee Forest,” co-owner Candy Miles told Nightlife. “It’s about a three-hour experience, and each group of eight will be accompanied through the tour by two tour guides and they’ve been trained-- all of them for at least sixty hours, some of them have over ninety hours of safety training. They will be with [customers] through the entire tour. When they arrive they will be greeted at the welcome center, and each participant is required to sign a waiver. Then they’ll meet their guides, and their guides will take them back where they will get their gear put on, and they’ll go to a short training session that we call flight school before they go out on the actual course.”
Ziplines are not new to Miles or her family, as her children enjoyed a zipline in their own backyard installed by her husband and Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour co-owner Marc Miles.
“It started when our children were young,” Miles said. “They had a treehouse, and Marc had built a little zipline-trolley system for them to get up and down to the treehouse when they were young. Then as they grew up and left home and we had grandchildren, he started thinking about doing the same thing for our grandsons. As he started researching online, he realized that ziplines had become a tremendous industry in the United States and he saw the potential in that. He realized, too, that we have such beautiful scenery here in Southern Illinois. He thought that would be a great way to share the beauty of Southern Illinois with people from all over and to bring them to Southern Illinois for a zipline tour.”
In fact, Miles said, public excitement began to mount well before Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour opened.
The canopy tour is located at 635 Robinson Hill Road in Union County. Shawnee Bluffs’ longest zipline crosses 1,100 feet above bluffs and a valley.
“We’ve found a beautiful piece of property that is totally surrounded by the Shawnee Forest,” Miles said. “We want people to have a wonderful adrenaline experience, but we also want them to go home with an appreciation for Southern Illinois.”
In addition to ziplines, patrons can enjoy a welcome center, concessions, and a gift shop.
The three-hour tour is $85, with groups of eight or more receiving a ten percent discount. Guests must weigh between seventy-five and 275 pounds.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit <https://www.ShawneeZip.com>.