You trail along behind your guide, winding your way through the quiet trees.

Leaves crunch underfoot as you approach a massive spiral staircase in the middle of the woods. You climb higher and higher, your heart starting to pump excitedly as a swaying suspension bridge comes into view. Sucking in a deep breath, you take one hesitant step onto it, then another, then another, somehow crossing the 170 feet that span between the two points.

Submitted Photo - Zip line tower at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota
Submitted Photo – Zip line tower at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota

But your adrenaline adventure isn’t over yet, because you haven’t reached the Red Tail line—a 1,200 foot zip line that will send you hurtling through space over beautiful Minnesota forest.

Fun in the Trees

It’s all part of Kerfoot Canopy Tour, an outdoor adventure land situated just outside of Henderson. The aerial tour is more than a mile in length, with 14 zip lines, the suspension bridge and kayaking down the Minnesota River for those who want it. The whole experience takes about two and a half hours.

The big thing was to just encourage people to get outdoors, to push their boundaries, to give them an adventure. Lee Kerfoot

Kerfoot Canopy Tour was started by Lee and Eva Kerfoot. Lee Kerfoot points back to his time growing up on the Gunflint Trail by the Boundary Waters as to where he found his love for the outdoors. In 2012, his father started the first canopy zip line tour in Minnesota, and then Kerfoot decided to own his own canopy tour business in June 2013.

“The big thing was to just encourage people to get outdoors, to push their boundaries, to give them an adventure,” he said.

Year-Round Adventure

While most people probably think about ziplining on sunny, warm days, Kerfoot is actually one of the few zipline tour operators in the region who stays open all year round.

“There’s a place in Wisconsin that does it year-round, so I said, ‘Why not?’” he remembered. “What’s beautiful about this piece of land is that in the winter, it’s a totally different experience.”

Submitted Photo - Participant at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota crosses the suspension bridge
Submitted Photo – Participant at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota crosses the suspension bridge

As Good as Anywhere!

Kerfoot said the biggest challenge is making people aware of the fact that there’s “top-shelf” ziplining in Henderson, Minnesota.

“You have this perception of ziplining across the world, and there’s a lot of amazing courses, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that this is really a top-shelf experience,” he said, pointing out that his course offers nearly double the number of zips compared to any other course in Minnesota. “It’s really a fun thing to do. It’s fun to see people who come in for different reasons, and they just have an amazing experience.”

Submitted Photo - Suspension bridge at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota
Submitted Photo – Suspension bridge at Kerfoot Canopy Tour near Henderson, Minnesota

In addition to the ziplines available, Kerfoot Canopy also offers a towering, three-story ropes challenge. Climbers can self-navigate over 45 different obstacles and elements for a two-hour time slot, reaching heights of 50 feet if they’re brave enough to climb to the very top.

This story first appeared in Southern Minn Scene Magazine.

Author

  • Grace Brandt

    is the managing editor of MankatoLIFE. Throughout her 13-year career, she has written for more than two dozen publications. She lives in Mankato with her husband and two cats.

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