Spring has sprung and we are well on our way to summer fun. It’s time to get outside, build some things, plant some flowers and have new experiences. Finding a getaway that offers adventure and luxury is standard, but discovering a spot with adventure, luxury, excitement and tranquility is divine.
We’ve uncovered such a spot at Cypress Valley Canopy tours right outside of Austin. With exclusive treehouse accommodations, five different ziplines, two sky bridges, a lake and spring fed pool for swimming, basketball courts, and picnic tables with hammocks and chairs, Cypress Valley has a well thought design with every aspect of comfort and adventure in mind.
Who doesn’t want to snuggle up in a king size bed and let the sounds of the valley at night sing you to sleep? Picture waking up in absolute peace by natures only alarm clock—a bird serenade. Then you’ll greet the morning with a cup of locally roasted Cuvee coffee from your incredible two-story deck. Your treehouse comes complete with a living room overlooking the ravine through two ancient cypress trees, a small kitchenette and an amazing bathhouse and soaking tub just across the bridge.
Offering both canopy and zip line tours, the Canopy Tour includes five ziplines along with two sky bridges and a rappel. A canopy tour differs from a zipline tour in that it uses natural structures for its platforms, such as trees or cliff faces. Typically, canopy tours also involve a learning aspect. General Manager Shelby Semon explained, “At Cypress Valley, we enjoy teaching interested participants about the local ecology, survival skills, and will identify plants, and animals that you may run into along the way.”
When asked what sets Cypress Valley apart from other adventure-style resorts, she offered, “A spirit of innovation that stems directly from the love of the land is what truly sets Cypress Valley apart from other businesses. Cypress Valley was not built, it was grown, and that growth started centuries before our time.”
As the first canopy tour in the continental U.S., Cypress Valley has focused on family, ecology, and respect for the natural world. “We hand pick our staff for their passion for the outdoors and we expect them to be educators and leaders for those that join us in the trees,” Co-owner with her husband David, Amy Beilharz said. “Our canopy tour was designed to allow guests to explore this incredible naturescape with minimal impact on the land, and our treehouses and event center are designed using the concept of biomimicry-reflective of the biological systems surrounding them.”
The zip line tour takes an hour and a half to two hours to complete. Cypress Valley has a lake and spring fed pool for swimming, a basketball court, sand volleyball court, picnic area with picnics tables, hammocks, and chairs. If you decide to just do the tour, you are welcome to swim, play or just hang out if you like during business hours on the day of your tour. Bring a picnic lunch and cooler to the property to enjoy a meal if you like.
As for what time of year is best to plan a visit, Semon said, “While Cypress Valley offers guests incredible experiences in nature year-round, one of our favorite times of the year is Bluebonnet season. The Bluebonnet is the official state flower of Texas and generally starts to blanket the hillsides and rolling fields in mid to late March alongside a multitude of other Hill Country gems like Indian Paintbrush, Phlox, and Evening Primrose. To skip the Spring Break rush and see the wildflowers at the fullest, we always recommend planning a trip for early April. Although, if you like fall colors, come see us in November when the cypress trees are on full display in reds, oranges, and golds.”
A completely unforgettable experience awaits atop these ancient trees. Booking your stay early is advised. Beilharz offered, “The treehouses were built as an inspiration from our canopy tour guests wishing to spend more time in the trees. We realized early on, that as people spend more time outdoors–especially near these beautiful ancient trees, their sense of well-being increases. We have continued to add ways for people to experience the sense of joy that comes when we disconnect from our hectic, tech driven lives and reconnect with nature. Cypress Valley now has five treehouses and a stunning new wedding venue. We ask that guests staying at our treehouses also participate in the canopy tour, when available, to ensure that guests wishing to enjoy the full experience have priority to stay with us as our treehouse availability is limited.”
The resorts newest addition, the wedding and event center, is a venue hundreds of years in the making. Imagine saying “I do” on an incredible ceremony platform nestled between two ancient cypress trees, the spring-fed creek whispering below your feet, as your loved ones watch your big day from the creek ravine amphitheater. This is the place where your enchanted, fairytale wedding comes true folks. Morning weddings are serenaded with the songs of birds and weddings at dusk, are delighted by sunsets and seasonal fireflies as night falls.
The venue includes a ceremony platform suspended between the trees, that can hold the bridal party–or for a small wedding, your entire guest list.
As for how this incredible gem was founded, Beilharz offered, “In 1998, after successful business careers, David and I moved with our four children from an upscale West Austin neighborhood to a beautiful, undeveloped plot in the Texas Hill Country. With nothing but a travel trailer and a portable generator, we decided to live close to nature, to let it teach us as it has taught humans for thousands of years. We worked to develop this beautiful creek and surrounding land by working with nature instead of trying to substantially alter it.”
After buying this land west of Austin, the couple looked at many ways to share its beauty with others. But doing so on any large scale would have meant making trails, removing fallen trees and branches, and cutting down some vegetation. This would have disturbed the existing habitat of the ravine, and the trail traffic would have been trampled the complex bio-diverse life on the ravine floor, further disturbing the existing inhabitants. When David experienced a canopy tour in Costa Rica, he knew he had found the answer to sharing the beauty of Cypress Valley with minimal impact on the environment and a whole new angle of enjoying nature–from a bird’s eye view. “When I experienced the ziplines in Costa Rica, I had a full body experience that opened a new doorway to my relationship with nature,” David said. “That is what we hope to bring to the people that visit Cypress Valley.”
By Michelle Keller