NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS KICKS OFF 60TH ANNIVERSARY
OPENING WORLD’S LARGEST OUTDOOR SKY TRAIL™ & SKY RAIL™
Multimillion-dollar attraction opens this week.
New Braunfels, Texas (January 2020) – This year marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of Natural Bridge Caverns. The traditional anniversary gift may be diamonds, but the Wuest family is giving visitors a new multimillion-dollar gift to enjoy. The new “Twisted Trails Adventure Course” replaced the former Canopy Explorer and Canopy Zip Line. The new aerial attraction was designed and installed by RCI Adventure Products, a Michigan based developer that creates attractions for theme parks, resorts and cruise ships. According to RCI, Twisted Trails features the largest outdoor Sky Trail™ & Sky Rail™ attraction, the combined attraction covers an astounding 13,500 sq. feet, features 50 elements and stands 60′ tall and allows 95 people to participate at one time.
Twisted Trails takes outdoor entertainment to another level. Literally. The six stories high attraction features four levels and offers 50 elements to challenge children and adults alike with such activities as lily pads, stepping stones, weave walk, squid steps and a rolling log. Seven curved and one straight Sky Rails™ ranging from 82-feet long to 125-feet long were installed as exciting elements within the attraction. This experience is unlike traditional zip lining, which only travels along a straight line, Twisted Trails includes 685-feet of curved rails, including an astonishing 180° curved rail, providing the guest with a soaring roller coaster type experience, at an estimated 8-12 miles per hour. Start out on the lower levels to build your confidence or quickly make your way to the top. No unclipping or helmets are required as the overhead tracking system and single redundant sling line allows individuals to easily transition from one part of the attraction to the other for uninterrupted play.
The new Twisted Trails Tykes is a smaller version of the Twisted Trails course allowing pint-sized adventure seekers, 4-foot tall and under, to experience the adventure of the larger course including a Sky Rail™ dedicated just for them. “We are always looking at ways to enhance our guests’ experience while remaining true to our natural outdoor setting,” said Brad Wuest, co-owner and president of Natural Bridge Caverns. “This new adventure will appeal to guests of all ages, and there is nothing else like it.”
Another exciting addition is the four climbing elements that round out the new multimillion-dollar attraction. Designed with two climbers in mind, the Jungle Gym consists of two separate routes leading up to a large cargo net in which participants battle to reach the top. This wall is a tough physical challenge that demands climbers have both stamina and strong arms. Constructed to resemble the method in which a “caver” must use to enter or exit a steep vertical section, this physically demanding challenge puts climbers to the test!
For the true competitor, the Face-to-Face challenge is comprised of a sheet of clear commercial acrylic to pit two climbers against one another. To be successful with this challenge, participants must cleverly position their bodies to maintain balance and stay on the right track. Climbers will love the added challenge of attempting to mirror their partner’s moves.
The Astroball is made up of several stacked globe-shaped hemispheres, creating a visually striking challenge designed to accommodate three climbers at a time. Participants must use arm strength and some fancy footwork to achieve victory.
Twister is visually commanding and versatile enough to accommodate two climbers! On one side of the challenge, there are jug holds for participants to grip while the other side contains “underclings” for added support on the way to the top. Climbers must figure out their chosen method to defeat this challenge as this wall involves several ways to become a Twister champion.
Twisted Trails is an attraction with a multi thrill element that puts the guest in complete control of their experience. “These courses offer our guests the opportunity to do something physical, to challenge themselves and, in some cases, overcome their fears. It’s an adventure for all ages,” said Travis Wuest, co-owner and vice president of Natural Bridge Caverns.
Safety First. A certified operator outfits every participant into a harness equipped with a single redundant sling line that keeps them secure while they work their way among the obstacles. The same safety harnesses are used on climbing elements. Designed specifically for the climbing industry, TRUBLUE™ is the most trusted auto belay in the market for reliable fall protection and is used around the world at climbing gyms, indoor and outdoor climbing walls and recreation centers. TRUBLUE™ Auto Belay and Self Belay™ connectors erase the chance of an accidental webbing release and prevent climbers from connecting to incorrect harness points; braking resistance adjusts automatically to the weight of the climber, always resulting in a smooth descent.
Twisted Trails, with its neutral color scheme of browns, greens, and faux wood-painted columns will allow the sunshine yellow Sky Rails™ to pop against the blue Texas sky all while blending in with the native Texas Hill Country landscape.
The Twisted Trails Adventure can be added to any cavern tour:
- Twisted Trails Course – $24.99
- Twisted Trails Tykes – $7.99
- Clip ‘N Climb – $10 or a $5 upgrade to Twisted Trails or Twisted Trails Tykes.
Throughout their 60th Anniversary of Discovery, Natural Bridge Caverns will announce several new guest experience enhancements and expeditions into never-before-seen passages will continue, offering even more reasons to re-discover Natural Bridge Caverns.
ABOUT NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS
On March 27, 1960, four college students, Orion Knox Jr., Preston Knodell Jr., Al Brandt, and Joe Cantu from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio began an underground exploration that ultimately would reveal the most extensive, largest cavern system in Texas. After hearing of an incredible 60-foot natural limestone bridge, which later became the caverns’ namesake, the students asked landowner Clara Wuest if they could investigate what laid beneath their family’s ranch. On the cavers’ fourth expedition, they uncovered a long, narrow crawlspace that ultimately opened into 2 miles of virgin caverns. Today, their discovery is recognized as one of the world’s premier show caverns.
Natural Bridge Caverns located between San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas, offers year-round activities including multiple cavern tours, a maze, an aerial sky adventure, gemstone mining, restaurants, and shopping. Grounds offer several ideal settings for weddings, groups, and birthday parties. Christmas at the Caverns includes holiday light displays, carolers throughout the caverns, and a hill country hayride. Natural Bridge Caverns is owned and operated by the Wuest family and is a designated State Historical Site, National Natural Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.