Cypress Valley Canopy Tours
At first, David and Amy Beilharz weren't sure how to share their picturesque plot of Texas Hill Country with others. Their respect for the wilderness had led them to build a house, raise native buffalo, and develop solar, wind, and water energy sources on the land—but that same respect kept them from stripping the woods to make a public trail. It took a zipline excursion in Costa Rica to plant the idea of canopy tours in David's head. The couple then worked to string steel ziplines of their own amid the 100-foot cypress trees on their property, installing six passageways and two suspended sky bridges between platforms.
Today, they and their certified guides show families, parties, and corporate teams how to live above as well as off of the earth. Their tours combine the elating speed and heights of zipline travel with lessons in ecology, which cover topics from local animal species to survival skills such as picking cactus spines if you run out of toothpicks. The midair voyages have been featured in the New York Times and CultureMap Austin, among other media.
Guests can punctuate their forest flights with picnics on the shores of the Beilharzes' private lake and spring-fed pool, where another zipline and a rope swing propel swimmers into the water. A basketball and volleyball court host pickup games, and hammocks offer a more relaxing respite than the lone rocking chair on top of Mount Everest.