Tree Frog Canopy Tours
By Doug Kish, MA
Soaring through the tree tops suspended on a dual cable zip line, Tree Frog Canopy Tours is one of the “must do” activities in the Mohican area. Located 9 miles south of Loudonville, it has the distinction of being a world class installation destined to become one of the top U.S. canopy tours. Traveling over 4,000 feet of zip line cable, 7 zip lines, 2 suspended sky bridges and 2 rappels, a complete tour usually takes 2½ to 3 hours. Ryan Freehafer and Diana Bourcier were the guides at our recent visit. All Tree Frog Canopy Tour guides are required to complete a certification program.
We were quickly reassured of the safety aspects of our adventure as our guides advised they travel the entire course every morning to inspect all equipment as they consider the safety of their guests their number one concern. Tree Frog Canopy Tours is the only zip line tour in Ohio that uses a dual cable system for faster speeds and smoother rides.
Both Freehafer and Bourcier were personable, professional, and extremely knowledgeable of the zip line equipment and the history of the property. After gearing up with a harness, trolley system, gloves and a helmet, we boarded an ATV and traveled to the “flight school” area. At that point we were instructed how to take off, land, and slow yourself, and what to do if you stopped short of the platform and needed to pull yourself in to the platform.
Tips such as maintaining a cannonball position to go faster and achieve maximum “ziposity” were appreciated. After each person tried and completed a short zip, we walked over the sky bridge to the first platform. There were eight people in our group, which is the limit, and there are always two guides on every tour.
Upon arrival at the platform, all guests were immediately tethered so no one was ever in danger of falling. Lead guide Freehafer gave a little overview of each zip line and then went off to the receiving end on the next platform. Bourcier hooked each individual to the zip line where we took off and landed one by one. While there is only one person on the zip line at a time, guides are in constant communication with each other confirming when a person takes off from a platform and confirming when they land safely. On arrival at the next platform, each person is again tethered to the platform for safety. After assisting everyone, Bourcier zipped over to join the group. Zip lines range from 145 to 1,100 feet in length and the average height of the platforms is 45 feet.
As we proceeded from platform to platform, our guides told us many interesting stories about the different types of wildlife in the area. Bourcier said she frequently sees deer when she zips through the area and related a recent incident when she was on the zip line and saw a newborn fawn sleeping below.
Although the mother dear was not in sight, it was a sure bet she was not far away. Up in the air among the abundant gum and beech trees of the area, Freehafer pointed out the different types of trees. He indicated that Tree Frog Canopy Tours is located within Ohio’s Mohican Wilderness and participants in the Mohican MTB 100 mountain bike race held in June actually travel on one of their many bike trails through the woods.
About halfway through the tour, we rappelled down to the ground for a break and an opportunity to get a drink. After a short hike, we reached the next zip line. This zip line had an unusual takeoff point, that being a large rock. After taking off, you could see the rock face and the woods far below. From that point on it was again platform to platform up in the trees. A few more zips and we crossed the second sky bridge, arriving at my favorite zip line of the tour which was the last one. Over 1,100 feet in length, riders can reach speeds in excess of 50 mph on this section.
While we saw numerous birds, squirrels and rabbits on our tour, it was truly amazing how quiet and peaceful it is up among the trees. Our tour came to a close with a final rappel back down to the ground. Our group indicated they had a lot of fun and they would visit again. Nature lovers, adventurists and adrenaline junkies are encouraged to visit for a unique and educational outdoor experience they will not soon forget. It’s a different, breathtaking view of Mother Nature at her best.
Tree Frog Canopy Tours is open May through October and the minimum age for participants is 10 years. Guests age 10 through 15 must be accompanied by an adult; guests 16 and 17 need adult permission but can tour without an adult present. Groups of 16 or more guests qualify for special pricing. The only way to guarantee a tour date and time is to make a reservation in advance, although walk-ins are welcome if space is available. At the takeoff point from the rock and at the final rappel, photos are taken of each individual that are available for review and purchase after your tour is complete. There are also the souvenir t-shirts to commemorate your trip.
Go-Pro cameras are available to rent so you can preserve your treetop experience and relive it over and over again. If you’d like to ride with us on our Tree Frog Canopy Tours experience, check out the Compass Media video on our Facebook page. To find more information about Tree Frog Canopy Tours or make a reservation, see their website www.TreeFrogCanopyTours.com.
Tree Frog Canopy Tours