Amongst all the extreme sports, Paragliding holds its own special place – it is simply free flying with the aid of simple-shaped craft parachutes. As a sport, it is categorized as a flight sport, or an aero sport. It was founded in the early eighties by climbers and mountaineers in the Alps looking for easier ways to come down the peaks they had climbed, and they figured to using old sports parachutes.
Paragliding is one of the newest air sports, and one of the easiest. It has been intensely developing and expanding in the last fifteen years both as a sport and an outdoor activity for pleasure. There are no complicated procedures, laws, periods of long and hard training, or anything of the sort that kills the joy and freedom of flying. All you need is good will and free time, and you can experience amazing adventures, travel around the world, and challenge yourself – all while gazing over the amazing scenery you’re flying over.
Here is our list of the top 15 places you can go to practice paragliding in North America:
1. Sedona Red Rocks, USA
When you visit Sedona, pray that is isn’t the raining, so you can breathe the fresh air in the desert – the smells of juniper flowers, red clay, limestone, and wildflowers. This is a top destination in Arizona during that time. It has also become an extremely popular destination for flying enthusiasts and adventure-seekers: the amazing above view of all the rocks and the sand and the feeling of flying over a wasteland leave quite a solemn feeling.
You can see an equal amount of paragliders and hangliders flying around during season, although the former will tell you that their glider dominates the air of Sedonia.
2. Jean Ridge Dry Bed, USA
This wonderful place is a favorite for paragliders from Las Vegas and all over the world. The ridge runs about one mile long, and it is made mostly of soft sand and rocks. There are many different places you can go to start your flight where you’ll also have the appropriate amount of elevation for take-off.
A 4X4 truck is recommended to get to the top of the ridge.
3. Glenwood Springs, USA
You must go to Glenwood Springs if you want to see and experience a fantastic and spectacular bird’s eye view while flying. It also has perfect spots for landing, where you will slide smoothly on the ground. Once you take a vacation there and experience what it’s like to fly in such a place, you will definitely want to return for more!
Paragliding down from such hights might seem scary at first, but once you gather up the courage, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view. You will definitely have a great time if you choose Glenwood Springs as a vacation spot for paragliding!
4. Good Springs
This Paragliding spot is situated near the town of Goodsprings. This is a great place for desert thermal-flying. You can have very long flights there, with a set flight record of 62 miles. When the weather is good, you can fly for around 15 minutes before finally landing on the soft desert floor.
There are two different start spots make for a really easy take-off, but you should be careful. The best time for paragliding is usually from spring to fall, but if you want to have the most fun, you should consider going flying in the morning during the summer.
5. Point of the Mountain, USA
When you’re done exploring Salt Lake City, drive on over to the point of the Mountain, where the real paragliding pleasure begins. Pick a starting spot depending on your level of skill and the weather, and enjoy your flight.
This place doesn’t really have dizzying heights, but it’s a great place for beginners to learn the ropes while enjoying nice flights during the sunset.
6. Sun Valley, USA
Sun Valley is a very popular ski resort in the United States. However, in addition to being a great skiing spot, Sun Valley is also a great place to paraglide. On the mountain slopes of Bald Mountain, you can enjoy fresh air while admiring the magnificent view of the scenery from the mountain tops.
While this is a place mainly for experienced paragliders, the less experienced fliers can also choose to go with tandem flights. For these and many more reasons, Sun Valley is one of the most popular tourist destination in the United States.
7. Hawaii, USA
This is no questioning Hawaii’s most well-known dreamlike landscape ― the azure waters of the Pacific, the lush green mountaintops, and the amazing Hawaiian volcanos. And what better way to view it than by taking the aerial route? Hawaii’s mountains provide the perfect launching spots for paragliding, and if you are planning to fly tandem, there are several operators in Maui, Honolulu, and Oahu with a good fleet of gliders and many experienced personnel.
The Waipoli Flight Park on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala is a great launch spot that provides for some amazing views overlooking Maui.
8. Tiger Mountain, USA
The Tiger Mountain in the United States is an excellent spot for beginner paragliders, and it’s where people go to hover over Issakua like a bird. On clear weather with a fair wind, you can continuously fly for for quite a long time. On the hill above the launching platform you can watch all the paragliders take off into a beautiful dance, and enjoy the great scenery of the Issakua Alps and Lake Sammamish, with Bellevue just over the horizon.
You will definitely feel like going for a flight once you catch a glimpse of this scenery.
9. Golden, Canada
Canada is a great country for paragliding because of its amazing mountains and its wild and untouched nature. If you are a beginner, you should first try the tandem flight starting at Mount 7, a favorite site for all people without experience.
As a special offer, you can also go Heli-paragliding, which allows you to take-off from some otherwise unsuitable peaks and you can choose to fly in tandem or solo.
10. Puebla, Mexico
Puebla seems like it exists solely for the intense thrill of flying that it provides. Even if you don’t have experience flying, you don’t need to worry. There are professional gliders you can fly with, who fly in tandem with you and take care of everything. Imagine soaring through the air while you paraglide from the hill and rise up, higher and higher!
With complete security, you can feel the adrenaline of your first flight very safely, and that adrenaline quickly becomes ecstasy, a feeling of peace, of solemnity, and profound happiness that makes you feel alive and one with nature. It is definitely an unforgettable experience!
11. Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Currently, this part of Mexico has become a Mecca of paragliding in the country. The ideal flight conditions have also earned it a high spot as one of the best places to glide in North America. In recent years, it has hosted several important world events and paragliding Championships.
It is located in a kind of step between the high mountains and the lowlands of Michoacán and Guerrero. The unique mountainous landscape, which is covered with forests and the picturesque village with all of its narrow streets and whitewashed houses with red roofs, as well as the magic Miguel Aleman Dam, make this a quite exotic tourist attraction.
12. Tapalpa, Mexico
This Paragliding destionation has been the scene of all sorts major competitions, and has twice been the host to the PWC (Paragliding World Cup). It offers service restaurants and all the necessary things to enjoy your time flying all day.
The flight zone is located just before reaching the village, indicated by the marking of the Zero Gravity Club. On this site both beginners and experienced pilots can fly, and there are various routes for cross-country flying around the mountains, all the way to Lake Chapala. The best time to fly here is during spring and summer.
13. El Salto, Mexico
This is one of the richest regions in Mexico for adventure activities and ecotourism, which, of course, involves flying and paragliding. Here, you can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery while flying while admiring the spectacles of Tierra Blanca and Cerro del Pinal of the Zamorano, peaks that that reach a height of 3.360 meters.
The flying site is found in the Canyon del Salto, in the recreational center of the same name. It has an excellent take-off platform and good flying conditions for learning. The more experienced pilots can easily perform cross-country flight through San Jose Iturbide and San Miguel de Allende. The best season to fly is from late spring to autumn, when the winds are most favorable.
14. Orizaba, Mexico
Around Orizaba, there are several takeoffs and flying sites. The most popular for paragliders is located in the mountains of the Sierra de Chicahuaxtla, in the hill of San Juan, where more than ten years ago the Flight Unlimited club organized the “Festival of the Air”, which brought together the best paraglider pilots in the country.
The takeoff platform is located on the “hill of the antennas”, at an altitude of 1,200 m. In this area you can fly all year round.
15. Jackson Hole, USA
If you are planning to visit Jackson Hole, you are surely doing so for the paragliding, the sport that has been gaining more and more traction in the area. You can flight through the Valley from dizzying heights. The flight lasts around 15 to 20 minutes. The extraordinary view of the valley is something that you won’t forget for the rest of your life.
And what are your favourite paragliding spots in North America? Share your thoughts in a comment below!