I Tried It: La Jolla Zip Zoom Zip Line
Photo by Jay Reilly
You Try It!
La Jolla Zip Zoom
22000 Highway 76, Pauma Valley
$99 per person
Full disclosure: I’m an adrenaline junkie. Anything involving height, speed, and safety risks will quickly have my attention. The La Jolla Zip Zoom zip line, which opened in September, has at least two of three. These guys are sticklers for safety, so unless you are pathologically scared of heights, it’s pretty risk-free.
Hidden in the scenic mountains of the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley (about 55 miles northeast of San Diego, not to be confused with the affluent coastal neighborhood), it’s supposedly the longest zip line in California.
After getting properly geared up in helmets and bulky harnesses, we climbed onto a military-looking cargo truck that took us up the mountain to the first launch tower. Our guides, Lonie the Launcher and Jungle Joe, helped pass time during the slow, bumpy, 20-minute drive up the tiny mountain road by telling vivid stories of their close encounters with various wild animals there, including a fierce mountain lion protecting her cubs.
The whole tour takes about two hours and consists of four zip lines. The first one is the tallest and fastest, launching from 3,000 feet and reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. There’s normally a short hike from one tower to the next, but with temperatures reaching the mid-90s, we got to jump back on the truck instead.
Before releasing the safety wires that kept us on the platform, Jungle Joe encouraged us to “learn how to fly.” This meant letting go of the handle and having some fun. Putting one arm out will make you spin, and putting both arms and legs out, in a move known as “the starfish,” will make you slow down. Not that you’d want to. The views of the mountains, valleys, and the San Luis Rey River below us were breathtaking, and there’s a certain sense of freedom to speeding through the air above it all. It really does feel like flying.