Ziplining on Maui

Maybe you’ve tried it — being strapped in a harness and sliding down a galvanized-steel cable hundreds of feet up in the air for a distance of a quarter or half a mile or so. Ziplining. It’s not for the weak of body or heart.

Piiholo Ranch in Upcountry Maui is best known for its horseback riding (and it’s great for that). But now it contains Hawaii’s newest and longest Zipline. Its specifications exceed minimum requirements. Its lines are made of three-quarter-inch galvanized steel cables that can support 58,000 pounds, equivalent to the weight of 10 SUVs. Pulleys connect to the cables at four points to prevent uncontrolled spinning, and a revolutionary braking system ensures smooth, slow stops.

Sound like fun?

The nylon harness that you wear is different from the common climbing harness used on most other zip-line tours. Adapted from the paragliding harnesses, they’re said to feel “like sitting in a chair” while you’re gliding down the line. To participate, you need closed-toed shoes. You can’t be pregnant, have back problems or have any other serious medical condition.

Under the six ziplines from climbing towers with names such as “Giant’s Ladder,” Wild Woosey” and “King’s Swing,” Piiholo Ranch has more than 100 acres with thick stands of eucalyptus, wild coffee, koa, ohia, kukui, koaie, guava, strawberry guava and other tropical greenery to gaze at from above. Line Five measures 2,800 feet (more than half a mile). It’s the longest zip line in Hawaii and among the five longest lines in the entire U.S. It’s also the course’s highest line, stretching 600 feet above a deep gulch. It provides spectacular views of Central Maui and the summit of Haleakala Volcano, and you may spot axis deer, mountain boars, pueo (Hawaiian owls) and Hawaii’s endangered nene (Hawaiian goose), for which there is a breeding habitat on the ranch.

Your adventure begins with a walk across a 320-foot suspension bridge. You start with Line One, from the Tango Tower, which is the shortest (480 feet) and lowest (40 feet above a meadow) on the circuit. Once you’ve completed that run, you can move on to the others.

It isn’t cheap. If you do five lines, it’s almost $200 per person. The Tango Tower is $95 per person. You can pay $25 for what they call the “Walk-Along Adventure,” which lets you see all the action without gliding.

If you’re going to be on Maui and you’d like to engage in this thrilling activity, pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Web site home page (hawaii-aloha.com) or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll get you flying.

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