Zipping and Sipping at Santa Margarita Ranch
I recently discovered an adventure that caters perfectly to each of us. Margarita Adventures Zip Lining offers zipping, sipping and touring the beautiful and historic Santa Margarita Ranch, a California landmark just south of Paso Robles.
Our tour began in the quaint hamlet of Santa Margarita, where we were met by a personable guide and then shuttled through town and onto the ranch. As we made our way through the property, we viewed the wildlife that makes its home on the ranch. While we didn’t see bear, mountain lions or boar on this particular trip, we were told that it isn’t out of the ordinary to view these magnificent creatures. We also got a history lesson, enjoyed by both kids and adults, as the shuttle careened through the property.
Excitement kept building as our group got ready for the first zip line, affectionately known as “The Renegade.” When we arrived at the initial platform and stasging area, we were equipped with instruction, helmets and harnesses. Children weighing under 70 pounds can ride tandem with a parent. Guests who lack an adventurous spirit can stay behind and enjoy additional history lessons.
Our group eagerly cheered each participant as he or she stepped off the natural hillcrest platform and soared 1,200 feet across an epic grassy valley. To call it exhilarating is an understatement.
There are five zip lines, each offering a unique experience. “The Woodlander” travels 600 feet over the canopies of native blue and white oak trees before touching down on a steeply-pitched mountainside. The 430-foot “Hilltopper” takes guests for a fun, fast thrill ride onto a bare hill with vineyard views. Next, “The Archway” descends into the forest and under a natural archway of companion oaks before emerging onto a panorama of vines and mountains. The longest, highest and fastest line, “The Pinot Express, soars over a mountainside and then swoops right over a Pinot Noir vineyard.
Adding Zip to History
Along the way, we learned about the ranch’s remarkable natural features and its role as part of California's famed Mission Trail. Other highlights of the experience included learning about nature, sustainability, history and wine!
After zipping, we visited the neighboring tasting room of Ancient Peaks Winery, which specializes in artisan wines grown on the Santa Margarita Ranch. My personal favorite was the 2011 Zinfandel, which was named one of the Top 100 Wines of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle. A little sipping ended a perfect day!
Tina Swithin is a parent and freelance writer.