Are Ziplines Safe for Kids?

Soaring through the air at top speeds connected to a thin wire and a harness brings worry to any parent. It seems unnatural, but as ziplines continue to become more popular, we must ask the question:

Are ziplines safe for kids? 

We understand your concerns. Ziplines are popping up all across the United States, and with them, there are the typical injuries that follow. This doesn’t immediately tell us that ziplines are unsafe, though. It gives us the ability to have the insight to find the right ziplines for kids.

Every company follows similar, but often different, rules and regulations for ziplines. This means becoming familiar with the guidelines you’ll want to look out for when choosing a place to zipline. To help you do that, we’ll break down ziplines and talk about how they work and their history.

Image by Dragan Tomić from Pixabay

A Brief History of the Zipline

Ziplines were first used to move goods across huge expanses of open air. They originated in mountain communities where moving food or supplies over a river took ages without any form of help. Stringing up a line meant an easy delivery across even the most treacherous terrain. Soon, humans also used the lines rather than face the dangerous swim ahead of them. 

Since their first uses, ziplines have come a long way. One of the largest regulators of zipline codes is the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). The ACCT certifies challenge courses and ziplines across the world with a strict code of safety regulations. 

Even with these regulations available worldwide, there are shoddy designs and backdoor businesses that you need to look out for as a parent. Zipline systems have moved from a slow crawl across a ravine to a high-speed flight across tremendous gaps in jungles. With the increased risk, there needs to be an increase in safety measures. Luckily, plenty of people are working to fill in the safety gaps and instill a culture of safety. 

Zipline Safety

According to the ACCT, the chances of a zipline breaking are one in a billion. With the proper construction, equipment, and training, a zipline course for kids will be one of the safer activities out there. There is an inherent risk in any adrenaline-seeking activity, but following the proper guidelines can ease the worried mind of parents. 

The ACCT has been taking on the most problematic part of ziplines: the lack of consistent guidelines.

The American National Standards Institute accredited ACCT’s zipline standards, moving the push for consistent regulations forward. While it is often an issue handled on a state-to-state basis, looking for a zipline built by and running on these standards is a great and easy place to start. 

Of course, the safety of sending yourself careening over a large valley at 45 miles per hour is still something to question. No matter the regulations, it can be nerve-racking. With these kinds of activities, we are fighting our human instinct to protect ourselves. To overcome that fear and self-protection, learning about the systems is the best possible way forward. 

Construction and Inspection

The ACCT accredits certain vendors to go out and build challenge courses and ziplines for any company. These vendors are certified to construct courses on-site and often are in charge of training the on-site staff. This is one of the largest factors that anyone concerned about the safety of a course should consider before strapping in and jumping blindly. 

Experiential Systems is another nationwide inspector of ziplines. Any safe zipline course Colorado has to offer will be looked at by the state-based inspection service. They also provide training for instructors that will further ensure the safety of any participant on a zipline. 

Before you send your child off any zipline course, ask for proof of who constructed the zipline and inspected it most recently. These inspections need to be done consistently. Ziplines are most often outdoors, which exposes them to the weather that can slowly decrease safety levels. When an inspection is done, any problem found must be fixed before the operation can resume. 

Image by patrick gantz from Pixabay

Safety Equipment

Just like riding a bike, there are easy ways to avoid most injuries that can occur while on a zipline. While most organizations will provide the proper safety equipment. Familiarize yourself with what is considered the “right” safety equipment. 

The two most essential pieces of gear on a zipline course will be your harness and your helmet. There is also the trolley and tether connected via carabiners, but most of these are in place and much less susceptible to human error. 

Most harnesses are capable of holding over 2000 pounds of weight. At Broadmoor, the weight limit is 250 pounds (with a minimum weight of 90 pounds), so there is nothing to worry about if you are wearing a harness correctly. Listen to the instructors and ensure that all of the harness straps are tightened down.

Nowadays, it’s not a bad idea to wear a helmet to the grocery store. So, naturally, you will wear a helmet while flying through the air at 45 mph. These courses are built inside of the trees where branches will grow in the way of the zipline or can fall from above you. A helmet is the best way to protect yourself. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet. Maybe not at the grocery store, but most definitely on a zipline. 

Training

The final, and arguably the most important, standard to examine when looking for a good zipline course for kids is the training every instructor has received. You can easily get this information by asking the company or camp your kid will be ziplining with. 

There are a couple of different levels of certification that you can be aware of. The ACCT does a great job of offering these trainings and training other companies in instructor training. Your guides should at the very least have a Level I or Level II Practitioner Certification. You can also keep your eye out for a Certified Challenge Course Manager or any Professional Ropes Course Association certifications. These expand beyond just a zipline but often include that Level I or II Practitioner Certification. 

So, are Ziplines Safe? 

Well, “safe” is a problematic guarantee when looking at activities with any inherent risk involved.

Can this, or really anything, be 100% safe? No.

Can we, and do we, consider every professional piece of advice there is to keep our participants as safe as possible? Yes. 


Ensure you are choosing a zipline tour that has followed proper regulations and guidelines. The strict certifications and procedures that are the industry best are the safest place to start, which is precisely what we do here at Broadmoor.

How to Hike With Kids

The trail is where many of us have formed strong bonds and a loving connection with our friends or family. But sharing this space with your children or any group of youth means getting over the mental roadblock of figuring out how to hike with kids. First things first, take a deep breath. Kids can be as stressful, intimidating, and overwhelming as they are cute, fun, or adventurous. Doing this right will end up relieving your own personal stress and create an activity for the kids to tug at your sleeve to do over and over again. 

Before you head out on the trail, take a moment to remember what it was like to be a kid. Everything was exciting, full of mystery and adventure. You were figuring things out for the first time and making mistakes along the way. Try to apply that mindset to the trail now. Hiking with kids won’t be about putting lots of miles under your boots, but it will be about exploring the outdoors and your imagination. 

Now that you’re ready, let’s jump into some more kid-friendly hiking tips that will help you and the youth you are with foster a growing love for the outdoors. And remember, you can always join us for family friendly hiking tours in Colorado Springs for a stress-free adventure.

Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

The Basics

No matter your age, you need your basic comforts to have a good time doing anything. Watching a movie while soaking wet, cold, and hungry will make you hate that movie forever. In order to not do the same for hiking, take care of the basics.

Weather

First off, don’t pick a cold and rainy day to be the first time you go hiking with kids. Not only does it make most adults turn into grumpy children, but it also has the potential to make hiking unsafe. Pay attention to the weather forecast. If it is going to rain, bring rain gear. Remember layers for cold days, and perhaps plan on a lake-side hike if it’s hot.

Clothes

Most weather can be appropriately managed with the right clothing and gear. So, once again, planning ahead is key to make sure you bring proper clothing and layers. Pack a bag full of extra socks and a couple of other layers that will help the kids stay warm and dry. As soon as anyone starts to mention that they are cold or wet, offer some extra clothes to get them comfortable as soon as possible.

Food

Never start a hike on an empty stomach. It would be like going on a road trip without any gas in the car. It won’t work, so don’t expect it to. Have some quick and healthy snacks in the car to fuel everyone up before you even hit the trailhead. 

Kids are so incredibly influenced by food. It can be used as a reward, fuel, or quick break in the day when you need to slow everything down. Also, as all adults learn, hunger can seriously influence our mood. If you notice anyone starting to get a bit grumpy, break out a snack, and it’s guaranteed to bring some positivity back. 

I like to follow a general rule that the kids you’re with are at or below your own level. If you are hungry, they’re hungrier. Cold? They’re colder. If your feet aren’t dry, their boots are puddles. Take care of the basics before they become a problem because that’s when moods start to turn sour.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Create Fun

The idea of hiking in Colorado appeals to almost any outdoor enthusiast you can find. There are tons of trails that bring you into a wide variety of terrain and challenges, all the while surrounded by beautiful mountains. But the idea of appreciating nature’s beauty isn’t always at the forefront of a ten-year-old’s mind. To make hiking memorable and enjoyable for younger kids, you need to create fun – perhaps the most important aspect of how to hike with kids.

Terrain

One of the first things you can do to make hiking with kids fun is to choose the right trail. Chances are good that a long flat walkway will bore almost any kid out there. On the other hand, a trail that snakes through the forest and follows a river to a massive waterfall opens up the possibility of exploration and naturally finding fun within the landscape. The forest can be a playground where trees become jungle gyms and creeks become waterslides. You just need to find the right trail.

Encourage Imagination

Don’t be afraid to let your kids run a little wild. Their imagination can take them into worlds where they explore the trees looking for Narnia or digging for buried treasure. Just remember to also teach your kids about proper hiking safety and the rules of the trail.

Not every child has the natural spark of imagination, so you may need to encourage this with different activities. Building a fort is a great way to bring fun into the hike. Or you take the time to see how large of a teepee you can build. The hike becomes an adventure and a challenge when you include a little imagination. Forests are also natural spaces for massive treasure hunts that will bring the excitement of both competition and exploration to everyone involved.

Bring Friends

We all want to be our kids’ best friends, but it isn’t always the case. Kids want to hang out with other kids their own age. Turning a hiking trip into a group activity will make your kids want to come back and do it more often.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Be Intentional

Going out into the forest and having fun while hiking with kids will take a little planning. However, being intentional with the hike will go a long way with the kids you go hiking with. Ten minutes of forethought can completely change the experience you have out on the trail.

It’s Not Hiking

The word “hiking” can get a bad rap with some kids. It sounds difficult and often unpleasant. You may not even need to label the hike. You can get the kids in the car and head off to the woods. Call it an exploration, an adventure, or anything that may have appealed to you as a small child. If you make it sound like work, it will end up being more work for you.

Goals

Very simple goals allow for kids to feel successful during a hike or afterward. Little things like “I want to see a fish” or bigger things like “I want to make it to the top of a mountain” can give kids something to look forward to or challenge themselves on. 

Remember that goals are going to change for every child. For some kids, making it a mile down the trail will be a huge accomplishment. Others may just want to swim in a river or find the biggest, slimiest, scariest bug that they have ever seen. Tailor the goals to each kid and work with them on finding out what they want to accomplish.

Responsibilities

It may sound ridiculous, but kids love having responsibilities. Of course, this excludes when it’s taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or doing dishes. But on the trail, responsibilities can give kids a sense of ownership and control over what they’re doing. 

If your kids are a bit older, you can trust them to carry important pieces of gear or lead the way with a map and compass. For the younger kids, you can have them keep an eye out for any interesting detours, hold the dog’s leash, or be in charge of finding the coolest lunch rock that anyone has ever eaten lunch on.

End on a High Note

After you get done hiking, always end on a high note. Entice your kids with the thought of ice cream in town, a movie back at home, or any reward that gets them excited. Discover other family friendly activities in Colorado Springs that you can let your kids choose from and create their own vacation fun. 

Hiking with kids is one of the most fun things you can do outside. They will naturally push you to see the world differently. No matter what you do, enjoy yourself, and the kids will often follow your lead. Smile, laugh, and become a kid again. Even if you aren’t an avid outdoors person, look for family friendly hiking tours that will take you all on a fun hike. You can pick up some hiking tips and learn the basics of how to hike with kids for your future adventures.

Hot Air Balloons and Family Travel are both in Colorado Springs

FAMILY TRAVEL TO COLORADO SPRINGS

You have searched the web, brainstormed a list of the fun things the family would like to explore, narrowed down your options, and decided that your next family travel adventures will take you to Colorado Springs with a stay at The Broadmoor.

There are more than 50 Colorado Springs attractions that are family-friendly, so you will have many activities to help you stay occupied.

FAMILY FUN FOR FREE

Should you be looking for free activities on your Colorado Springs family travel excursion, the possibilities are endless.

Check out Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. This fascinating institution will take you through Colorado Springs history and the Pikes Peak region. Located in the El Paso County Court House, meander amongst the permanent exhibits displaying the area’s history, and the changing topics that cover a wide variety of issues.

Head down to The Penrose Heritage Museum and learn more about the folks that built The Broadmoor, Julie, and Spencer Penrose. Explore some of Penrose’s carriage collection they were fortunate to use during their life. With 4,000 square feet of space, this lovely museum also holds The Pikes Peak International Hill Club memorabilia.

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum will be an excellent stop for the motorcycle enthusiast in your family! Walk amongst more than fifty motorcycles that will take you back to the early 1900s. This museum also highlights the people that have been part of motorcycle history.

Take a stroll around the lake at The Broadmoor. Take your favorite beverage out on the patio, or indulge in lunch at an on-site restaurant. Should you be at this beautiful Five Star, Five Diamond property in December, grab the camera and snap pictures of all the exquisite decorations throughout the hotel.

FEE DESTINATIONS FOR THOSE 10 AND UNDER

Next up, destinations tailor-made for the little folks such as Dinosaur Resource Center. The kiddos will feel like they are back in time when they wander through T-Rex fossils, flying reptiles, and raptors.

Take a ride to Manitou Springs and find the Penny Arcade. What better place to teach the kiddos how to manage their money, as the almighty dollar will go far here. Everyone will have a great time challenging each other to a friendly game of skeeball.

While in Manitou Springs, visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and see what life was like for the Puebloan people. During the summertime, you will be able to experience actual wolf encounters and Native American dances.

DESTINATIONS FOR THE LITTLE ONES

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers lions, tigers, and bears. Giraffe and elephant feeding will be an excellent activity for the little ones, and you will want to snap photos of those precious moments.

For your groups space lovers, make a trip to Space Foundation Discovery Center for some out of this world fun! Solar systems and a 6-foot projection screen will let them learn about the earth.

DO NOT FORGET THE TEENS

Grab the teenagers and head out on a Segway Tour. Find a great company and possibly explore the Garden of the Gods. Zip through wonders of nature and take in all the beauty.

Another favorite activity to include the teens is a friendly game of Laser Tag!

ACTIVITIES AT THE BROADMOOR

For those families that do not wish to venture out from The Broadmoor, that is fine, check out these great activities offered at The Broadmoor, and perfect for families.

Old Stage Riding Stables offer some excellent riding trails with fabulous views of the resort. Saddle up and enjoy a day out with your fantastic guide as they take you along trails that show you how impressive Colorado Springs can be.

Check out The Broadmoor Hunt and its twist on scavenger hunts. This hunt is app-based. Your family will utilize their camera phones along with the video functions to explore The Broadmoor, searching out history when you locate those valuable historical items. Solve questions, snap photos, and create family fun videos during your outdoor adventure.

Allow two hours to wrap up your family fun. When you want to know how others in your group are doing, ask the Broadmoor Outfitters staff for feedback in real-time.