From the Appalachian Trail to Savannah and everything in between, the state of Georgia is jam packed with travel and tourism opportunities to delight every type of traveller! Shopping, Night Life, Beaches, Mountains, Entertainment, and Food are just a few of the many exciting experiences visitors and locals have come to love about Georgia. In 2018 Georgia welcomed 111.67 million visitors, a record for the peach state!
For those daring adventurers, thrill seekers, explorers, and outdoor enthusiasts Georgia holds a plethora of exciting opportunities. From the gorgeous views and expansive trails of Cloudland Canyon State Park in Dade County, to our very own “little Grand Canyon” at Providence Canyon State Park in Stewart County, and all across the state, opportunities to leap into the outdoors, enjoy a little adventure, and step outside of your comfort zone are never very far away. Those looking for the ultimate in outdoor adventure will find just what they’re looking for in our great state! Roughly 45 minutes West of Atlanta, the world’s largest zip line course and free standing climbing wall stand as one of the states hidden treasures for those seeking out of this world adventures! At Historic Banning Mills adventurers of all experience levels can find the perfect level of thrill.
Historic Banning Mills gets its name from the rich history you’ll find all over the nearly 300 acres of property in and around the Snake Creek Gorge. Once a bustling mill town complete with dams, spill ways, textile mills, pulp mills, and more, the ruins from the old town of Banning can still be seen along the trails today! Banning Mills was the first location in the state of Georgia to have electricity and was also immensely instrumental in the invention of paper manufacturing as we use it today. Prior to Banning’s use of pine wood pulp in paper manufacturing, rags and cloth were used to create paper. One of the most astounding aspects of these mill locations was the construction and location itself. Located deep within a gorge in order to utilize the rushing water of Snake Creek, the mills at Banning are situated on steep terrain which would have made accessibility a challenge for the carts and wagons used to transport materials during this time. These challenges aside, Banning Mills remained the top producer and exporter of textile materials in the state for many years! Fast forward many years, and Historic Banning Mills became known for a completely different reason, it’s world class adventure opportunities!
Banning Mills has tons of exciting outdoor activities, but none are quite as well known as their zip lines. Historic Banning Mills isn’t just some zip line course with a few lines for guests to try out. They hold the Guinness World Record for the largest zip line course on the planet by over double the second largest! Just how big is this zip line course? Historic Banning Mills has over 100 different zip lines which combined make up nearly 11 miles of cable! Want to check them all out? I hope you have at least two full days free, because that’s how long it takes to ride every line at least once!
Historic Banning Mills structures their zip line courses into levels to allow guests to choose their level of extreme. Everyone starts out on level one, which features 9 zip lines and helps to get everyone comfortable with the feeling of zip lines. After completing level one, guests have the opportunity to upgrade and continue the fun through tons of different courses that each feature unique views and exciting zip lines, suspension bridges, and other aerial elements.
Flight of the Falcon is widely considered the most unique zip line experience at Banning Mills. The 3,400 foot long zip line takes off from the top of the nearly 150 foot tall Adventure Tower and has the guests ride superman style on their stomachs. Flight of the Falcon crosses the Snake Creek Gorge 3 times as guests soar at nearly 50MPH past the main lodge and over and under several other sections of the course.
Think that sounds extreme? Historic Banning Mills also has 3 zip lines named Screaming Eagle, which are 2,600 feet long each and reach speeds of nearly 75MPH! Screaming Eagle can be found on the level 4 zip line course or on the “Ridge Runner” tour add on.
Prefer to keep your feet firmly planted to the ground? Zip lines aren’t the only way you can experience the gorgeous views of the Snake Creek Gorge. Historic Banning Mills recently expanded the trail system to now include more than 15 miles of hiking trails! Along the trails you’ll uncover the history of Banning Mills with historic sites around every corner! The trails feature suspension bridges to help navigate the gorge and several lakes! The suspension bridges you’ll discover along our trails vary drastically in size and height above the ground. Some help cross small sections of terrain, and others span the entire gorge and are over 600 feet long and nearly 200 feet off the ground! These are some of the largest suspension bridges in the United States!
Adventures on the water more your speed? 7-mile kayaking tours are fun for the whole family! Kayaking Tours at Banning Mills include pick up and drop off from the main lodge and take place on a beautiful stretch of the Chattahoochee River! Rapids very rarely go past class 1, so the tours are generally easy and relaxing for the whole family! Along the way, your guide will share with you the rich history of the area, including information about Chief William McIntosh and the Native Americans who used to call this area home!
Horseback riding is a unique and exciting way to connect with nature and explore the Snake Creek Gorge! Ready to saddle up and have some fun? The horseback tours are a great way to experience the gorge and take in the natural scenery while discovering some of the historic mill sites situated along the trails.
Extend the fun and spend the night! Banning Mills is a fully function bed & breakfast style resort with chefs on staff eager to delight your taste buds morning, noon, and night! There’s an array of different room styles to choose from including tree houses, pine log cabins, creekside overlook rooms, and family cabins to name a few! The tree houses feature their very own personal suspension bridges which you cross to reach the front door. Imagine gently swaying to sleep in a king sized bed with the sounds of nature right outside your very own back porch overlooking the gorge! Need a bit more room? The family cabins can sleep up to eight and provide a secluded wilderness experience for you and your family. Banning Mills even offers packages to include adventures and a stay!
Are you a part of a team? Schools, businesses, military, and more come to Banning Mills to strengthen their skills working together. Team Building at Banning Mills focuses on critical thinking, listening, adapting, communication, leadership, planning, problem solving, and so much more! Our Team Building Facilitators are world class professionals when it comes to building core skills essential to improving a groups efficiency, communication, and teamwork. Every team build is custom tailored to meet the needs of your group. During a morning meeting before the team build, our facilitators get to know your group and discuss with your team leader areas your group would like to focus on. We then design a program customized to build on those core skills and debrief each activity with take aways and lessons from your groups experience.
Every team build at Banning Mills is completely different, but each is designed to develop personal and professional skills that can be implemented in every aspect of life. The team building programs at Historic Banning Mills have helped NASA, Coca-Cola, and the Military work on communication and problem solving skills, husbands and wives work on communication, and high school seniors learn how to work more efficiently with peers, just to name a few.
There’s a variety of different styles of team building programs available for groups to participate in. Traditional team building is offered in both half and whole day time periods, as well as our GPS team building initiatives, which send groups out around the property in search of activities, which they must complete before moving on to the next challenge.
This summer will be our 5th year of summer camp and we couldn’t be more excited! Historic Banning Mills offers two summer day camps for kids. Camp Adventure (ages 8-13) and Camp Extreme (ages 13-16) are week long day camps that bring kids into the outdoors and provide an opportunity for exploration and adventure like no other summer camp you’ve ever seen! Campers experience the worlds largest zip line course, aerial challenge courses, four climbing walls, including the worlds tallest climbing wall, horseback riding, archery, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, hiking, wildlife shows, free falls, and so much more!
In the wake of the global Covid-19 “Coronavirus” scare, it’s been incredibly easy for us to look at what’s going on around the world through a restricted lens and view all of the clear negative aspects of the global pandemic without noticing any positives. The Coronavirus and all of its negative impact is nothing to ignore and has become the main focal point of many conversations around the world. In this article we hope to share some positive impacts on the environment that have been noted in direct correlation to the wide spread quarantines taking place around the world. At this time it is vital that we take the threat to our health seriously and take positive steps toward protecting ourselves from the spread of this virus, however it is equally important to take note of the incredible positive impacts the quarantines have had on our ecosystem. For quite possibly the first time in history, several ecosystems have had the unique opportunity to evaluate the way we impact our environment and take a close look at how the world has been able to rebound in the short time we have spent indoors and significantly cut back on our pollution output.
In Venice, Italy, the mandatory quarantine has the public waiting out the storm from within their homes. While not getting to spend time outside and the impact this quarantine is having on businesses is surely something to be upset about, we can’t ignore some incredible things that are happening to the ecosystem, which is now primarily unencumbered by human impacts. The canals of Venice have become well known for their murky waters which are riddled with pollution causing the water to be nearly impossible to see through. After just a short few weeks without human impact, the canals have become nearly crystal clear! As the sediment frequently stirred up by gondolas settled to the bottom and pollution output decreased the canals became clear to the bottom revealing fish and an overall cleaner environment all around. There’s also been sightings of dolphins returning to these waters after leaving for so long due to the pollution that became normal for the area.
For Italy I think this presents an incredible opportunity that’s unique to the unprecedented experience we are all going through. The ability to see this positive environmental change in such a short period of time is eye opening to the impact we have on the environment around us. As a community on this planet it’s our duty to protect our natural resources and keep our planet as beautiful and pristine as possible not only for ourselves and our own experiences and health but for the other species that call these places home!
Areas of China have become famous for their ever increasing levels of air pollution and health issues related to air quality and smog. On average 1500 people die premature death each year due to air pollution in Hong Kong alone says Patrick Fung in a CNN article released the past Tuesday, March 17th. What’s been the result of the mandatory quarantines in these highly polluted areas? With large industrial plants closed and far less cars on the street, air quality has shown astronomical improvement of good quality air increasing over 20% in February alone! This positive change has been so large the difference in air quality has been documented from space!
Reporters and scientists warn of “Revenge Pollution”, the resulting uptick in pollution once businesses and vehicles are back in normal operation. Still, it’s interesting seeing how quickly the ecosystem has been able to begin bouncing back and healing itself from the impacts of human pollutants. Like the canals in Venice, I think this is a tremendous opportunity for our planet to evaluate our impact on the environment and seek new solutions addressing our carbon footprint.
While it would be unrealistic to think that we could emerge from our quarantined state and not begin creating a negative environmental impact once more, this presents a unique opportunity for us to take a hard look at the result of our impact on the planet and brainstorm new ways to reduce our footprint to work more positively with our ecosystems.
While the benefits to our environment not only in China and Italy but around the world are unfortunately short lived positive outcomes of the global pandemic, there are steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease our output of pollution to steer our future in a more eco-friendly direction. At Historic Banning Mills we take our impact on the environment very seriously and strive to work with the environment and conserve nature to the best of our ability. As a people we need to protect the natural world we call home in order to conserve its beauty and continue to reap the benefits of its long term health. Here’s a few tips we believe can be easy implementations into our daily lives to continue to curve our environmental impact in a positive direction.
Driving our vehicles is an inevitable necessity today. We’ve got places to be and people to see! We can try to minimize the pollution we create however, by trying to carpool when possible and taking good care of our vehicles to ensure we are create the least amount of emissions possible! In the market for a new car? Consider looking into hybrid vehicles or going green with an electric vehicle to reduce your impact and save yourself from ever needing to pump gas again!
Do some research into consumer goods and waste and you’ll be blown away by the number of single use items we throw away every day. These consumer goods have to go somewhere, and more often than not they wind up making their way into the ecosystem and negatively impacting our environment. When we throw used goods into the trash it’s easy for us to say, “out of sight, out of mind”, but keep in mind that everything we use and throw away is still somewhere on this planet. It has to go somewhere! While much of that waste is disposed of appropriately, a surprising amount escapes into the environment. A great solution to mitigating this issue is to purchase items that are reusable like metal water bottles and try to cut back on single use items!
This is an easy one and something most of us don’t do nearly enough of. Take some time to get outside and exercise or explore. The world is beautiful! Go for a walk, ride your bike, or sit outside and take in the scenery. These activities cost you nothing and the whole time you’re enjoying nature and reaping the positive health benefits that being outside provides, you’re decreasing your carbon footprint! At Historic Banning Mills we have around fifteen miles of hiking trails that take you on a historic walk through nature as you’ll encounter ruins from the old paper and pulp mills that still stand all around our property! Getting outdoors and spending time enjoying nature can build an incredible appreciation for the world around us and provides too many health benefits to list in this article.
While Covid-19 continues to be an issue for our population and something that definitely should not be taken lightly, it’s nice to see some positives that have emerged around the world as a result of the precautionary measures we are all taking. Though these positive benefits are temporary and our level of pollution is sure to bounce back when everyone rejoins society, there’s a valuable lesson to learn from these short term environmental positives. We can work together to create a positive change in our planets health and long term well being. We can take steps, small or large, to reduce our carbon footprint and positively impact the future of both ourselves and our predecessors. It’s our duty to take care of our home. If Covid-19 has shown us anything about our ecosystem, its that our planet can heal when we step aside and give it some room to grow. As we emerge from our capsules and rejoin the outside world, I challenge us all be conscious of our impact and take steps towards working with the environment and building a brighter future.
We know there’s a lot of hysteria going around right now surrounding the Covid-19 Coronavirus scare. During these times, it’s incredibly important we keep ourselves clean and protect our bodies from germs and viruses that are circulating the world. With all the madness ensuing in popular media it’s incredibly easy for many of us to decide to seek shelter indoors and attempt to wait out the chaos ensuing. We hope to set some of your minds at ease as we discuss a few reasons staying indoors and closing yourself off from the world might just be a bad idea.
Don’t get us wrong, venturing into highly populated areas with crowds of people is certainly a poor decision for your health right now. We are in no way encouraging you to seek out large attractions full of tons of visitors that may be unknowingly carrying an illness. You just might find however, that now more than ever, engaging in a fun outdoor activity in the sun and fresh air is just what the doctor ordered!
Our bodies require essential vitamins and minerals to keep us happy and healthy. For many of us, a life indoors has become all too common during our daily lives. Now, with the Coronavirus circulating the world, staying inside has become a popular choice for a large portion of the population. Staying indoors could actually be harming your immune system by depleting your body of those vitamins and minerals it requires to boost your immune system.
We know a large portion of our community is out of school and work for a period of time as we wait for the virus to become less of a threat. This creates a tremendous opportunity for all of us to take some time to ourselves and enjoy the outdoors a bit more than we usually are able to during our busy lives. Spending time outdoors gives us a great source of Vitamin D to boost our immune system. At the same time, our zip line tours are located away from highly populated areas in natural outdoor settings, exposing our guests to clean, fresh air and providing an escape from crowds and large cities.
Spending time outdoors has been proven to boost immune systems and fosters a healthy lifestyle, combined with providing a natural getaway for our guests to spend some time away from crowded public areas! Is it safe to venture out to a tourist destination during these times though?
Historic Banning Mills and all Screaming Eagle Adventures locations has taken an aggressive approach towards combating transferrable illnesses. All of our staff is under strict orders to stay away from work if they have any signs of an illness. In addition, we have increased the number of sanitation points throughout our property and our cleaning staff is working around the clock to continually sanitize every inch of our property. In addition to our strict sanitation efforts, we’ve reduced our tour sizes during this time to eight people per group of guides to both maximize guest experience and minimize population sizes of our tours.
Join us in nature for fresh air, sunshine, an escape from crowds, and an immersion in adventure! We look forward to having you out for an unforgettable experience and hope everyone is practicing good hygiene and enjoying any time you might have away from the desk!
We’ve lost site of the incredible benefits we gain spending time outdoors. It’s important our children learn to use technology, but it’s equally important, if not more beneficial to their growth and development to #optoutside. Take a look at just a few of the benefits gained from spending time outdoors.
Find out why shorter and more frequent rejuvenation trips are psychologically proven to be healthier for you than long extended vacations!
A brief look at the benefits of using a continuous belay system and visiting a zip line course dedicated to the safety of its guests!