Scenic Caves Nature Adventures Suspension BridgeSuspension Bridge Facts

How long is the bridge?
It’s the longest suspension footbridge in southern Ontario — 126 metres long.

How high is it?

  • It’s 25 metres above the valley and stream
  • More than 300 metres above Georgian Bay
  • The towers are 11.5 metres high.

On a clear day, you can see 10,000 square kilometres!

How strong is the bridge?
No one really knows exactly how much weight the bridge could actually carry. What the engineers and the codes look at is the most weight it might be expected to carry — including the most people that could fit on it, the weight of snow and ice, and the effects of cold weather on the cables. Then they build it even stronger.

WE DO KNOW… There can never be too many people on the bridge. It could hold the combined weight of a crowd of people standing tummy to butt, shoulder to shoulder, stacked 4-high the entire length of the bridge.

  • The foundations which hold the anchors are set in 40-cubic metres of concrete. They’re 4 metres deep in the ground and weigh 118,000 kilograms.
  • The main cables are 6.35-cm. diameter galvanized bridge strands. They’re 187 metres long and weigh 3600 kgs each.
  • Every 1.5 metres 1.27 cm. chain cable drops to support the deck. As they get shorter, the bridge platform gets higher (closer to the main cables). Each chain cable supports a steel beam, on which the deck-planks are bolted. Bottom cables run through the steel beams to control the sway and bounce.
  • Each deck board is a 3-metre-long, 8-cm. timber. The boards are bolted down with 25 bolts on each cross-beam. That’s 1008 metres of boards and 2125 bolts!

How much will it swing?
The bridge is very flexible and will move with the wind and your weight as you cross it.

Suspension Bridge Construction

Designed by R.J. Burnside Engineering , Collingwood, Ontario

Built by Owen King Limited , Walkerton , Ontario

The builders of the Suspension Bridge met unique challenges with ingenuity during the three-month construction.

The location posed some difficulty from Day One. While Scenic Caves Road provides easy access to the North end of the site, the South end could only be reached by driving down a steep ridge, or “whale’s back”, from the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures entrance. In winter. On mud.

In order to pour the foundation for the South tower and anchor, eight heavy tandem concrete trucks needed to access the site. Since it would easily slide out of control down the muddy track, it needed to be held back by a Caterpillar D9 tractor, which made for an ungainly — but harrowing — procession down the slope.

Once the builders had raised the towers — a relatively simple part of the operation — the time came to actually get the cables across the valley. You’d think this would be a job for high tech equipment and expensive machinery, but the solution was remarkably low-tech. To start with, they simply used a hunting bow and a spinning rod. After attaching the fishing line to an arrow, they shot the arrow to the other side of the valley. Once they found the arrow, they pulled the line across tied to a heavier nylon kite cord. A yellow poly line followed, then a 1.27 cm cable rated to 6804 kgs. Anchored at either end, this cable allowed the heavy main cables to be slowly pulled across using pulley’s every few metres.

The builders tightened and anchored the main cables, then a worker slid down the cables on a sling, detaching the pulleys.

To install the down cables and metal I-beams, workers attached a carriage to the main cables with pulleys and moved across, attaching and dropping the down lines, three at a time. As soon as three cross beams were in place, another brave crew sprang into action, laying the decking and bolting it onto the beams. Remember that they did this with no fencing on the bridge, and with the bridge swaying considerably with the weight and wind. Finally, the crews installed the bottom cables, followed by the railing and wire fence.



Thunderbird Twin Zip Line Attraction Facts

  • Design Firm:  ZIP Tour LLC, Terra-Nova LLC of Utah, USA. Supervised by Denzel Rowland, Eden, Utah
  • Engineering Firm: ANCAM Solutions Company Limited, Oakville, ON
  • Built by Owen King Limited, Walkerton, ON
  • Length:  almost a half mile or .8 km
  • Vertical drop: approx. 300 feet
  • Height of towers: upper 50 feet, lower tower 30 feet from cable to ground
  • Ride speed is controlled by rider – speeds in excess of 65 km per hour are attainable
  • Ride duration: average time of ride is approx. 45 seconds to more than two minutes depending on the rider.  With the patented ZipTour® trolley system, rider can travel as fast or slow as they wish
  • Features 14 sq. km panoramic views of Georgian Bay, The Blue Mountains, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach
  • Longest zip line in southern Ontario
  • Longest twin zip line in Canada
  • Only controllable-speed zip line in Canada
  • Construction details: more than 80 truckloads of concrete to make the bases for the towers and bollards.  65 truckloads of gravel and 60 tons of reinforcing steel


About Zip Tour LLC

  • The Thunderbird Twin Zip was designed and is being built by Zip Rider Inc.
  • Two things distinguish the ZipTour® from every other zip line product: it builds the biggest ride spans in the world, and the patented “dynamically-controllable” ZipTour® trolley allows the rider to control their zip line ride speed
  • There are many zip line options around the globe but, until now, there has never been the technology in place that allows the participant to control their own speed and enjoy a moment suspended over the Escarpment to enjoy the view
  • Guests begin with a short training session and introduction to the ZipTour® equipment at the Look Out at the rustic cabin nearby the Thunderbird Nest
  • Following training, guests ascend climb the spiral staircase to the platform 50 feet above.  Final checks are made and instructions given before the rider leaves the Thunderbird nest for the breath-taking zip line and sightseeing experience