About Smoky Mountain Adventure Reviews

Because of the tremendous growth of zip line attractions in the Tennessee Smoky Mountain area, a group of adventure enthusiasts saw a need to create an informational web site to help visitors make informed decisions about which adventures will best suit their needs. Out of this need SmokyMountainAdventureReviews.com was born.

In order to have a fair process for rating different companies and their zip line courses we developed a proprietary algorithm that calculates overall rankings using twelve data points.  The proprietary algorithm weighs each of these data points based on customer surveys and American Challenge Course Technologies, (ACCT), safety standards and secret zipper experiences. We do not publicly share the algorithm or weightings that we give to each data point as to not allow zip line companies to manipulate our rankings. We do however share the data points that we use in our calculations.

  1. Safety Standards – We not only measure each zip line company's adherence to ACCT (American Challenge Course Technologies) safety standards, but also consider adherence to State of Tennessee Safety Standards as well the safety of the grounds, and quality of zip line gear.
  2. Thrill Factor – The singular most important reason people participate in zip lining is the amazing thrill achieved from zipping on a cable high above the ground. The thrill is determined by line length, line speed, line height, number of zip lines in the course, the scenic beauty of the course, and the professionalism of the guides. Next to safety the thrill factor is highest on our ranking algorithm.
  3. Secret Shopper Scores– We employ an independent agency with no affiliation with any zip line company to personally send people to participate in each zip line or canopy tour course and provide a report on their overall experience.
  4. Scenic Beauty – From surveys we have determined that most zip liners are interested in getting a Smoky Mountain experience when zip lining. They are interested in the scenic beauty offered. Since many zip lines are side-of-the-road attractions that zip near traffic noise or over parking lots we decided to include this as a critical value in our algorithm.
  5. Truth in Advertising – This is one of the most important criteria we use to evaluate zip line companies, as companies offering misleading and/or exaggerated information about their safety, line length, and course size is a detriment to all adventure course operations. We evaluate this by checking to make sure their claims in brochures, print advertising, videos, and their website is accurate and truthful.
  6. Location – The location of each operation is important to the customer and we considered not only the distance from the three major towns (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville), but also the drive time. Companies located further out of town may in fact take less drive time because they are located away from the tourist traffic congestion. 
  7. Overall Value – We use our proprietary algorithm to determine the value of each course. This is primarily based on the quality of zip lines times the number of zip lines, divided by the price of the course. Courses with few zip lines my be ranked higher than courses with many zip lines if the one with many zip lines are short, slow, and unimpressive.
  8. Customer Reviews – This is one of the most difficult factors to calculate. In order to assign a value to this we survey guests, check reviews on this site, TripAdvisor, Yelp, G+, and other review sites.
  9. Quality of Staff – A courteous, friendly, helpful and well-informed staff is critical to customers having a pleasant overall fun experience. We validate this through secret shoppers, random visits as well as telephone and email responses.
  10. Bathroom & Parking Facilities – It is important that zip lines and canopy tour establishments have ample clean bathroom facilities and parking to accommodate their customers.
  11. Cleanliness of Facility – This is where we consider the grounds maintenance, maintenance of hiking trails, zip line platforms, food facilities, and other attributes to the overall feel and enjoyment of the experience.