Mountain Adventure Parks
Why go to the mountains in summer? Most of New England's ski mountains are reinvented in summer into full-fledged adventure parks loaded with fun — and breathtaking views. Think slides and tree top walks; rock climbs and mountain biking; geocaching and ATVing; horseback riding or llama treks. And for high-speed thrills, it has to be ziplines. Young or old, cautious or daredevil — there's a challenge that is exciting for you. Just head for the hills! Note: The following mountain resorts work with international tour operators.
Sugarloaf, the largest ski area east of the Rockies, also offers plenty of summer action. The heart of it all is "The Outpost," the Outpost Adventure Center. Start here to organize everything from Segway tours and canoe rentals to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. For aerial fun, ride the chairlift, then zipline across the mountainside.
At Sunday River, ski lifts provide easy access to the peaks and wide-open views. Energetic youngsters head for the bungee trampoline and the climbing wall. But there are 25 trails extending over 20 miles to be explored in the Bike Park. Famous in the golf word is the Sunday River Golf Club, whose Robert Trent Jones, Jr.—designed course is rated among the finest in New England. As for ziplines, go on a "zip tour" through the woods or race a buddy on the Twin Zips at the South Ridge base.
Attitash Mountain Resort has long been a summer mountain activity destination. Opened in 1976, the resort's Alpine Slide is rated as North America's longest at over one mile long. But, there is more: the waterslides, the Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster and the latest thrill, the airbag jump — like jumping (safely!) off a 4-story building. For a calmer, but equally special experience, swing into the saddle and go horseback riding. New at Bretton Woods (Omni Mount Washington Resort), and designed specifically for children, is the Polaris® RZR® Kids ATV Park. The 3½-hour Bretton Woods Canopy Tour drops 1,000 feet and features four ziplines that take you on a journey beneath the forest. Other activities include climbing walls and downhill mountain biking.
At Cranmore's Mountain Adventure Park, variety is the spice of summer life! Try the bungy trampoline and summer tubing, then ride Spider Mountain, the mountain coaster and the Soaring Eagle, a zipline offering the sensation of flying. The Aerial Adventure Park has five elevated courses with two hours of fun — and it caters for all ages and abilities. Close to Lake Winnipesaukee, Gunstock Mountain Resort keeps all ages busy. New this year is the Big Air Bag: fly through the air and land on a soft air bag. The Aerial Treetop Adventure course is a series of ziplines, suspended bridges and scramble nets. Or, stay on terra firma for the off-road Segway X2 tour. Families love Loon Mountain, where the Aerial Forest Adventure Park is exciting for all. Five courses include climbing ladders, crossing bridges, riding ziplines and walking from platform to platform high in the trees. But Loon has much more. Bounce on the bungee trampoline; take a Segway tour; tackle the climbing wall; bike the backcountry forest trails.
Wildcat Mountain's Alpine Disc Golf course is just as much fun — and as frustrating — as traditional golf. But this 9-hole course also has amazing views of Mount Washington. The resort's ZipRider is equally scenic and has four lines that descend 2,100 feet — so friends can experience zipping side by side! Other amusement park adventures in the White Mountains: Whale's Tale Waterpark, Storyland (for young children), Santa's Village and Clark's Trading Post.
With 23 rides and attractions, Bromley Mountain Resort offers New England's newest and longest ZipRider, the Sun Mountain Flyer. The Mountain Adventure Park features the Big Splash waterslide and the Alpine Slide — one of the world's longest at two-thirds of a mile. Up in the air, the 5-level Aerial Adventure Park combines the best of a zipline, canopy tour and challenge course. As well as offering Vermont's #1 public golf course, Jay Peak Resort, in northern Vermont near the Canadian border, has the popular Pump House indoor waterpark that opens up its retractable roof to let that mountain sunshine in! At Okemo Mountain Resort, the Adventure Zone's Timber Ripper mountain coaster is Vermont's first roller coaster—style attraction. Keep the adrenaline flowing on the bungee trampoline and the Amp® Energy Big Air Bag, where you "walk the plank" from a platform 30 feet above a 30 by 50-foot air bag. Have a go on the climbing wall — or stay earth-based with disc golf.
Stowe Mountain Resort has hiking and tennis, and the Gondola SkyRide for the fall foliage season. Not far away, at family-oriented Smugglers’ Notch Resort, younger children can try the new, specially-designed sections of the Treetop Obstacle Course. More gentle is learning to fish; more refreshing are the waterparks; more unusual are the llama treks, where your pet for the day carries the picnic! In summer, sophisticated Stratton Mountain focuses on health and fitness: yoga & mindfulness, mountain sports & training, health & wellness, even triathlon training workshops.
Sugarbush Resort offers traditional activities, with the Robert Trent Jones Sr.—designed golf course and the "The No. 1 Adult Tennis Camp in the United States." Also on offer are lift-served and cross-country mountain biking, two 18-hole disc golf courses, an inflatable bounce house obstacle course for kids, a bungee trampoline and more. Smaller resorts include Burke Mountain, whose Kingdom Trails have once again been named by Bike magazine as the "best mountain biking trail network in North America." And Magic Mountain's new TimberQuest Park is a series of tree-top obstacle courses and ziplines.
In the Berkshire Hills, Jiminy Peak's Mountain Adventure Park lives up to its name. Hit 23 mph on the Mountain Coaster; hurtle down the Alpine Super Slide; use the ski lifts to access the mountain biking trails. Up in the tree tops, the Aerial Adventure Park has six different levels, including ziplines, suspended bridges, swinging logs and more.