A Pit Stop a Day (Day 10): Big Sky High Ropes Course

The High Ropes Course is like a kids\’ play structure on steriods!

Before we started our session on the High Ropes Course at Big Sky Resort, I wasn’t sure whether it would be too challenging for my kids (ages 11 and 8)…and myself! The apparatus–a maze of ropes, logs, planks, and even tires suspended in the high alpine air–was certainly intimidating! But from the moment I saw Calvin and Nate shimmy up the rope ladder to enter the array of elevated challenges, I knew it would be a blast!

Just like with the zipline, we started our adventure at BaseCamp, geared up (today our guides were Tanner and Trey), and hiked up the slope to the high ropes course. Once there, we all went through a hands-on safety lesson before we could begin. Our group of approximately a dozen participants included all adults with the exception of two teens, a 10-year-old, and Nate (11) and Calvin (8). Kids who want to try the ropes course have to be tall enough to reach the cables above them (to move their safety clips from one section of the apparatus to another) and must have the presence of mind to follow instructions and remember safety rules.

Calvin reaches the first platform after climbing the cargo net.

The way the course works is this: each participant has a safety harness on which two safety clips are attached. When you wish to move from element to element on the apparatus (in any order or repetition…there’s no ‘right’ way), you need to unfasten your clips from one cable to another one at a time (so that you’re never unattached from your harness at any time). It takes some dexterity and maturity to do this.

Nate makes his way across the \’monkey tails\’ feature.

Once up on the structure, the kids were cautious for only a matter of seconds before getting the hang of things (literally!) and scampering around like monkeys. I will admit I was less graceful, but had just as much fun. The most challenging part for me was getting up there…once I was standing on the platforms and had mastered moving my clips (intimidating at first), I, too, was stepping, jumping, and swinging from one section of the course to another.

Nate on the rope bridge…by far my favorite feature!

Afterward, the kids ranked the high ropes course even above ziplining, declaring it ‘the most fun thing they’ve ever done’. I have to agree. It’s an experience unlike any other, and well worth a try at Big Sky! I was smiling for hours afterward. If you want to take a moment to get out of your element and have a blast with your family, I cannot recommend this enough.

Note: Big Sky Resort is currently only offering one high ropes session per day (at 1 pm), and space is limited. Reservations in advance are almost always needed. Call 406-995-5769.

Extra Tip: Allow plenty of time for the high ropes course (at least the 2 hours listed). It takes time to brief everyone and get all the participants up on the structure. Expect to be patient, but as a big plus, the guides let all the kids in the group get up there first!

Costs: $59 per person

Date last visited: July 2010.

Distance off the interstate: Big Sky Resort is ten minutes off Hwy 191. It’s easy to access from anywhere in the Big Sky/Yellowstone area.

Website: Big Sky Resort

Directions: From Hwy 191 (near Bozeman), drive 39 miles to Hwy 64. Turn right (west) and drive nine miles to the Mountain Village.

If the High Ropes Course isn’t for you (or isn’t in your budget): The Big Sky area has many wonderful hiking trails. We had the pleasure of walking to see Ousel Falls in the Meadows section of Big Sky (from Big Sky Resort, follow Lone Mountain Trail Road to the Meadows community, then turn right onto Ousel Falls Road). The hike was under two miles on a well-maintained trail with many picnic areas en route, and the falls were stunning!

As I disclose with all compensated reviews, our family experienced the Big Sky High Ropes Course at no cost. This compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.

Up Next: We drive into Yellowstone National Park!

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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