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Above the trees: ziplining offers needed 'Vitamin Nature' during pandemic

Jul 05, 2020 08:41AM ● By Editor
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By Jaimee Hood of -   July 3, 2020 

Ziplining at Kerfoot Canopy Tour in Henderson is like wading from the shallow to the deep end of the pool, said owner Lee Kerfoot.

“You start low and slow,” he said, “Then the course changes, and sort of glides up above the trees.”

Since Kerfoot Canopy Tour opened in 2013, it’s gone from 10 to 14 ziplining courses, the tallest of which has riders flying up to 175 feet above the ground.

“You feel alive,” Lee Kerfoot said.

Kerfoot has always had a passion for the outdoors. He says it runs in his blood. This is largely thanks to the legacy of his grandmother, Justine Kerfoot, who was a pioneer on the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota. Justine Kerfoot ran a lodge on the North Shore in the 1930s, where she learned to hunt, fish and canoe from the resort’s Native American neighbors. She also wrote for the local newspaper, and Lee Kerfoot says she and her girlfriends hung the first telephone line in town.

Lee Kerfoot grew up on the same Gunflint Trail as his grandmother. He followed in her nature-loving footsteps by working as a canoe guide in his young adulthood. During these formative years, he came to love the experience of pushing people through their comfort levels and helping them connect with the outdoors.

When Lee Kerfoot and his wife moved to the Twin Cities, they felt compelled to share their love of nature with a new audience, and Kerfoot Canopy Tours was born.

In the years since it first opened, Kerfoot Canopy Tours has added several new aerial and grounded adventures, including a 45-element high ropes course and a 400-foot “Great Minnesota Ball Run” where participants of all ages can race personalized wooden balls through a series of tracks, elements and obstacles.

In the last couple of years, Kerfoot’s individual and group zipline tours have received national attention. Last year, USA Today ranked Kerfoot Canopy Tour the second best aerial adventure in the country. They’re hoping for the top spot this year, Lee Kerfoot said.

“It really comes down to our guides,” Lee said. “They bring the course to life and create magic.”

In order to zipline, you need to be 10 years or older. To do the high ropes course, you must be at least 7. The ball run is for all ages.

To comply with COVID-19 social distancing precautions, Lee Kerfoot says the group size has been reduced. Multiple safety and sanitation protocols are also in place, and employees are constantly working to ensure equipment is clean.

“People are suffering from Zoom fatigue,” Lee Kerfoot said.

They’re deficient in Vitamin N, Lee Kerfoot said — Vitamin Nature, that is.

“I love seeing people who were afraid of heights come off the zipline and say, ‘I want to go again,’” he said.

Kerfoot Canopy Tour is located at 30200 Scenic Byway Henderson, MN 56044.

To book a zipline tour and find more information, you can visit

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