To adventurers, climbing trees is a way to celebrate nature and thank the Earth for everything it has given us to explore and conquer – there is no better way to become one with nature than to climb to the top of a giant tree.
Thankfully, there are licensed, safe and standardized tree climbing camps throughout the U.S. Here, you’ll be able to learn from professionals just what you’ll need to do to make it to the top.
If you retain a spirit of adventure, the trees are still calling. Here are the five best tree climbing camps in the U.S.
Tree For All
At Tree For All, climbers don’t pull themselves up a rope as you might expect. Instead, you alternate standing in binding loops and pushing another binding knot up the rope. It may sound a bit technical, but Tree For All camp leaders tout their way of climbing as fun, non-competitive and safe. The camp invites novice climbers to climb at their own speed and only as high as they feel comfortable. Climbers will need some muscle-power, but the emphasis is more on mental qualities, such as coordination, knot manipulation and deploying the double-rope technique (DRT). Founded in Roswell, Georgia, Tree for All uses Tree Climbers International-trained tutors across north Georgia and metro Atlanta. Classes are offered through Roswell Recreation & Parks and independently. The idea that resonates throughout Tree For All is that, by climbing trees, you are celebrating them and the natural environment.
Where to Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta, Roswell, $121 a night
Situated in the heart of Roswell, DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta allows visitors to explore Stone Mountain Park, home of the world’s largest piece of exposed granite. Travel to the top of the mountain on the Summit Skyride and take in panoramic views of Atlanta.
Tree Climbing USA
Based in Fayetteville, Georgia, Tree Climbing USA is run by exercise guru Abe Winters. Winters created his tree climbing camp in the belief that adulthood makes us too serious and static. Tree climbing, Winters says, is an adventure for all ages and abilities. Additionally, it’s good fun and healthy – it supplies an incentive to get off the couch and exercise in a natural setting. Winters’ grove is open to anyone who wants to master the basics or become an advanced tree climber. His organization has shown some 10,000 adventure enthusiasts how to get to grips with the canopy and scale the heights.
Where to Stay: Dolce Atlanta Peachtree, Peachtree City, $81 a night
Situated in the heart of Peachtree City, Dolce Atlanta Peachtree is close to The Avenue Shopping Centre, Peachtree City Tennis Center, and Urban Jungle. Also nearby are Canongate Golf Club and Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater.
Canopy Climbers, located in Gainesville, Florida, uses the inspiring tagline, “your next adventure begins here.” Climbers can tailor the shape that your Canopy Climbers adventure takes by choosing between a group or guided tree climbing trip – group climbs and guided climbs offer two distinctive kinds of adventures. A group climb demands at least 10 climbers – it caters to special events such as birthdays or corporate team-building events. A guided climb requires a minimum of two people and a maximum of four. On a guided climb, the idea is to go as high and big as possible. Under the eyes of guide Danny Lyons, you venture into the treetops to explore and discover the wonders of the forest canopy.
Where to Stay: Econo Lodge University, $65 a night
Econo Lodge University is near the Bivens Arm Nature Park, as well as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Hippodrome State. The hotel is just a nine minute drive from Canopy Climbers LLC.
Tree Climbing Colorado
Tree Climbing Colorado owes its existence to visionary adventurer Harv “Ponderosa” Teitelbaum. The master instructor runs the the GOTC: an umbrella non-profit that helps standardize climbing guidelines and programs for training courses and promotes awareness of safe, recreational tree climbing practice. Armed with a deep love and knowledge of nature, Teitelbaum is an inspiring leader. He and his team are driven by a love of being in forests – not just among trees, but up in them. “We love the adventure, the experience of something new every climb, the physical challenge, the joy, the opening up of the world,” he says. Teitelbaum takes groups climbing and teaches others to climb and lead groups themselves.
Where to Stay: Comfort Suites Golden West, Evergreen Parkway, $116 a night
Nestled in the pines of the Rocky Mountains, the Comfort Suites Golden West on Evergreen Parkway offers breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the rugged mountains, fishing, hiking, skiing, horseback riding and rafting in the surrounding area.
Blue Ridge Tree Climbing
At Blue Ridge Tree Climbing, Bob Wray teaches his personal climbing method that took him over 5 years to develop. “The technique is honed to be as simple and as efficient as possible using the least amount of hardware,” Wray says. “I lean heavily on knots because, once perfected, you can never lose them and they are always there when you need them,” he adds. At his camp, climbing skills and “gear skills” account for 15 percent each, mindset is of 70 percent importance. The reason he values mindset so highly is that handling “tight spots” and even “worst case scenarios” is all about how you think. “I actually enjoy having things happen that I did not expect – it just adds to the adventure of the climb,” he says.
Where to Stay: The Mountain Rose Inn, $135 a night
This Inn, provides comfortable amenities surrounded by nature and numerous recreational sites for outdoor lovers, including hiking trails and fly fishing steams. What’s more, the free four course breakfast served daily is reason enough to stay here.