While many tours now combine both adventure types, a simple way to denote the difference is zip lining is more about how fast and far you go per “wire ride” and a canopy tour is more about an uninterrupted flow of aerial movements (often including a zip line) along a pathway for a predetermined time.
A canopy tour uses a continuous harness and cable system to move participants on an established aerial route. Typically located in heavily wooded or mountains locations, canopy tours leverage both zip-lines and aerial bridges between platforms lofted in trees.
Stand-alone zip lines (also zipline, zip-line) come in many different shapes, sizes and locations, but all use a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on a slope. Riders are connected via harness and may clip and unclip to move to different zip line segments.