New Palo Duro Zip Line aims to up tourism at the canyon - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

New Palo Duro Zip Line aims to up tourism at the canyon

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 For years, the Palo Duro Canyon has been about getting people out to the canyon to explore around inside it. But now, a new attraction, separate from the Palo Duro State Park, is less about taking people down in the canyon, and more about soaring over it.

Zip, glide, fly - whatever you want to call it - a new zip line is taking riders sky high above the Palo Duro Canyon floor. Four hundred sixty-nine feet high to be exact.

"The concept came about two years ago when I saw the property, saw the location, I saw the view that we have from that point," said Mel Smith, general manager for the Palo Duro Zip Line.

Smith opened the budding business Friday and offered first-timers a scenic jeep tour, a spectacular view, and a high speed zip back over the canyon.

"You're not going to be out there for hours hiking, you're not going to be out in the heat for too terribly long," explained Smith. "But you are going to get the thrill of a lifetime."

Commercially, the Palo Duro Zip Line is the only one of its kind in the entire Texas Panhandle, making the quarter-mile zip not only a thrilling experience, but also a great attraction for tourists.

"The canyon is such a great draw itself," said Eric Miller with the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council. "Then you add this zip line experience to all the hiking, to the camping, the horseback riding, to all the bird watching, whatever it is, what a package we have down there in the state park now."

The Palo Duro zip line is located just before the entrance to the state park making it either the perfect start or finish to a trip to the 'Grand Canyon of Texas', and tourist jewel of the Panhandle.

"You always have to be concerned about product development," added Miller. "So, this is important for us to have something new for our visitors to do."

"There's a half million people a year roughly that go through the gate at the state park," said Smith.  "We need to give them something to talk about, something to do, a reason to come off the interstate."

The zip has two lines, side by side, so you can race your friends and it's now open for business.