By Jason Reagan
The Blue Ridge Mountains offer the perfect combination of visually breathtaking serenity coupled with a zesty sense of adventure. For some, that means rock climbing in view of the Linville Gorge, for others it means some solid hammock time next to the winding Watauga River. For those who want the adventure and thrill of rock climbing or whitewater rafting set in a more controlled, social environment, High Gravity Adventures is the perfect blend of risk management, mountain fun and thrills.
“The High Country is an adventure destination, but if you don’t have the gear to be a rock climber or don’t want to go whitewater paddling on your own, we offer an adventure that is accessible to the general public,” says High Gravity vice president Carson Rivers. “We’re a gateway to adventure for everyone.”
Located between Boone and Blowing Rock, High Gravity Adventures features a 3-level aerial park with more than seventy-five unique obstacles, a family-friendly zip line tour and free-fall experience, a three-person giant swing, and a mountain ninja course, all set in a well-managed facility catering to adventurers as young as four years old.
The Foothills Park, a purpose-built kids course for young adventurers featuring 13 traversing challenges, has been updated for 2022 to include kids’ zip lines, keeping all the action close to the observation deck for easy viewing and picture taking.
Outdoor adventure is in the company’s DNA—in 1992, founder Ken Jacquot launched his first High Country-based company, Blue Ridge Learning Centers, offering outdoor challenges for team-building and educational events. Later, Jacquot and company created another company, Challenge Towers, to serve clients who wanted aerial structures and ropes courses built on their own property.
“We have been designing and building ropes courses and adventure parks for a number of years and we felt it was time to bring this type of active recreation experience to our hometown,” Jacquot says.
“We strive to create the High Country’s spirit of adventure in a very accessible way,” Rivers adds. “There’s a lot of self-reliance and a lot of resiliency in this community and we think doing these types of adventure activities empower people to challenge themselves and see what they’re capable of by doing things outside their comfort zones. That’s a big part of what we’re doing and we’re doing it in a controlled environment.”
The staff at High Gravity help build a seamless experience—guests are given an orientation before ascending the towers or courses. Dubbed “Ground School,” the short course introduces guests to the equipment and course procedures to help ensure a successful experience.
High Gravity Adventures also makes the experience special for non-participants. A large observation area at the “basecamp” affords friends and family a view of the adventurers throughout the aerial park. In addition, visitors can walk around the course or enjoy the shade at a picnic table. Snack foods and drinks are available as well.
215 Tweetsie Railroad Ln., Blowing Rock, NC 28605