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Exploring Our Backyard: Swinging through the forest with Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks

Exploring Our Backyard: Swinging through the Tahoe National Forest. (Jenna Holland/NSN)

Welcome back to another week of Exploring Our Backyard. Last week, we went to Doyle, Calif., for some land sailing, and this week we're heading back to the Tahoe National Forest to visit Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks at their Tahoe Vista location.

What are the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks? They're aerial adventure parks or sometimes referred to as an aerial trekking course that's a series of tree platforms connected by a variety of bridges and/or ziplines. Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks has three courses located within the North Tahoe region in Tahoe Vista, Tahoe City and Squaw Valley. The course in Tahoe Vista is located within the 125-acre North Tahoe Regional Park. The original course in Squaw Valley has been open since 1998, the course in Tahoe City at Granlibakken opened in 2011 and the course in Tahoe Vista opened in 2015.

The Tahoe Vista course consists of 87 tree platforms, 54 bridges and 39 ziplines with two beginner, five intermediate and two advanced courses. Almost the entire family can enjoy the fun as children as young as five years old can zipline through the forest. Participants ages five and six or less than 49-inches tall have seven courses to choose from and participants 49 inches and taller have all nine courses to choose from.

I asked owner, Jesse Desens, what gave him the idea to put a family-friendly jungle gym in the middle of the forest. He said it's been an idea in Europe for a long time and is slowly making its way to the United States and the West Coast. Desens has been involved in the ropes course industry for more than 20 years, but this type of activity consists of a different kind of safety system. We all know safety is very important, and that's why they use a continuous belay safety system, so once you're on the course, you're locked in for the entire duration of that course.

After our photographers, Jenna Holland and Anthony Resnick, and I were suited up in the proper safety gear and completed ground school with manager, Jessie Sommer, we were on our way ziplining and climbing through the trees smiling from cheek to cheek.

We started our day on the "knockout" course, which was an intermediate level course and was challenging. But we were up for the challenge as we ziplined and climbed through the bridges and platforms. Next, we checked out the "cliffhanger" course, one of the two advanced courses. There were some more challenging excursions, but with some help from one of the staff members, I made my way across. Then, we checked out the "paddleboard" course, which was an intermediate course with scenic lake views, a suspended paddle board in the air and more ziplines

It wasn't until we checked out our final course for the afternoon, "Lake View," which was another intermediate course, that we were ziplining from tree to tree. That course has the most ziplines at the Tahoe Vista course. I can't say which course was my favorite because we didn't have a chance to check all of them out, but in a typical 2.5-hour session, I would imagine you can make it through most of the courses, if not all of them.

"It's such a fun family bonding activity, no electronics other than just taking some pictures and it's some good wholesome fun," Desens said.

It was a day in the Tahoe National Forest I'll never forget, and I can't wait to check out the other two courses Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks has to offer. So whether you're on vacation in the North Tahoe region or are looking for a morning or afternoon of fun with your kids, this activity is for you. Your kids will sleep good at night. I sure did after a few hours of fun in the outdoors.

Next week, we're going kayaking with Clearly Tahoe.

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