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Don’t be fooled by the serene mountain setting at Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, Georgia. At any moment, adventurous souls whiz by overhead on one of 84 zip lines or whoop with delight from three aerial adventure parks located within the woods.

Historic Banning Mills is one big outdoor adventure set within the scenic Snake River Gorge of Georgia, just an hour southwest of Atlanta. The eco-adventure resort offers outdoor adventurers of all ages the opportunity to zip, soar and explore along 10 miles of cable within the forest.

Banning Mills also offers a lesson in Georgia history. The area was originally home to the Creek Indian Nation. In the early 1800s, the area was home to a thriving mill community, with 10 mills and five dams spread out over 2 miles along the Snake River. Historical ruins still dot the riverbanks.
“You can come to Banning Mills for outdoor adventure, to relax and to learn about an important piece of Georgia’s history,” said Historic Banning Mills founder and manager Donna Holder, who operates the facility with her husband, Mike.
The Holders purchased the Banning Mills property in 1998, raising their four children there and eventually opening a bed and breakfast. According to Holder, the significant history of the area emerged over time, as did the spectacular zip line setup. The Holders opened their first zip line in 2007.

Emma ZipliningToday, Historic Banning Mills is a nonprofit conservancy and eco-resort offering adventurers of all ages the opportunity to experience more than 100 zip lines, 72 sky bridges and three aerial adventure parks. Known as the Screaming Eagle Tours, the resort features the longest and largest zip line canopy course in the world, verified by Guinness World Records.

Adults and children ages 8 years and older can glide among the trees on the level one course, which features nine zip lines. The level two course (for ages 10 years and older) features 900- to 1,000-foot zip lines at 200 feet above the gorge and nine sky bridge walks that range up to 80 feet in height.

Zip line courses three through six are even more exhilarating, with pathways above Snake Creek anYour Outdoor Familyd sky bridges that traverse back and forth over the gorge at heights up to 100 feet.

Families can enjoy multiple layers of fun at Crazy Squirrel Village, an aerial adventure course that utilizes the SmartSnap belay system to ensure maximum safety. The lower-tier course is a beginner challenge for adults and thrill-seekers ages 4 years and older, featuring five zip lines and seven aerial challenges ranging in height from 4 to 20 feet off the ground. The upper-tier course, perfect for adults and children ages 9 years and older, offers four zip lines and 35 aerial challenges ranging in height from 15 to 60 feet off the ground. Tickets can be purchased for individual courses or both courses.

The Aerial Adventure Challenge Park is a physically challenging course featuring 12 challenge elements at up to 80 feet in height and three zip lines.

For an extreme rush, visitors can experience the 100-foot Adventure Power Tower Free Fall. This 10-story free fall utilizes a German-engineered material that allows participants to descend at almost full-fall velocity speed and then land smoothly and firmly on the ground with no bouncing or jerking.

There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors at Historic Banning Mills. In addition to zip line and challenge courses, outdoor activities include a free-standing climbing wall, a GPS adventure challenge, hiking trails, guided kayak trips on the nearby Chattahoochee River, horseback riding and explorations along the Snake River—one of the cleanest waterways in Georgia.

Guests can also relax at the facility’s day spa or settle into rocking chairs that line the lodge’s wraparound deck and overlook the Snake River. Birds of prey shows, presented by Dale Arrowood of Winged Ambassadors, are scheduled throughout the week at an on-site amphitheater.

Overnight options at Historic Banning Mills include a variety of facilities, including new treehouse cabins, on-site cottages and cabins, and lodge rooms. Camping and RV sites are also available. Meals at the lodge can be arranged with advance notice, and many cabins include small kitchenettes.

Reservations are required for all activities at Historic Banning Mills. Visit HistoricBanningMills.com or call 770-834-9149.

Jenni Frankenberg Veal enjoys writing about family travel adventures in the southeastern United States, as well as the people and places that make the Southeast unique. Check out the Your Outdoor Family Facebook page for more.

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