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 treetop 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 world 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 Kids' Go Kart 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 bungee 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 to all ages and abilities. Close to Lake Winnipesaukee, Gunstock Mountain Resort keeps all ages busy. 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.
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.