Climb to New Heights with Canopy Climbers


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Do you have a little monkey on your hands? Or perhaps a whole family of monkeys who love to climb trees? Then, look no further than Canopy Climbers! Once a month, kids ages 5 and up can join Arborist Dave Bayard and his crew at Volunteer Park to climb some of the park’s biggest trees. With names like Her Majesty (a Red Oak) and The Cathedral (a giant Sequoia), intrepid climbers of all fitness levels can give recreational tree climbing a try—no experience needed.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Before You Climb
Before your feet can leave the ground, all climbers must be fitted with helmets, saddles and harnesses. Once everyone is fitted properly, Bayard and his team of instructors will teach climbers the essential skills for recreational tree climbing (think climbing like an inchworm—one hand over the other).

Each climber’s gear is tested to thousands of pounds and inspected before each climb to ensure it’s in excellent condition. And all knots are tied by the instructors (never by a climber). The anchor tree branch-union climbers are tied into is also thoroughly inspected beforehand and all climbers are tied into the rope the entire time. Good to know: No spikes, hooks, gaffs or any other sharp objects are ever used on the trees.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Up, Up and Away!
After you’ve finished your instruction, it’s time to get tied into your rope and off to explore the treetop world. With a quick check to make sure you’ve got the inchworm technique down, (it’s a bit of a challenge at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s just like riding a bike), you are free to climb, climb away.


photo: Helen Walker Green

As little adventurers begin their climb up, the instructors will encourage them to take their time and “hang out'” as well as enjoy the scenery. Note: All climbers ascend at their own pace, so there’s no need to rush. And kids can go as high or as low as they like and the extremely patient Canopy Climbers instructors are always there to help.


photo: Helen Walker Green

If climbers want a little extra thrill, instructors will give them a push so they can try sailing through the canopy. And judging by the smiles on their faces, it’s definitely a highlight of the climb.

When climbers are ready to come down, instructors will talk them through a few simple instructions and assist in their descent. Good to know: Bayard is certified in Aerial Rescue and will quickly climb up to help out at any time.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Look for Critters
Canopy Climbers is passionate about the environment and loves to share the wonder of trees with new climbers. During your climbing adventure, you may see squirrels, bugs and all kinds of critters that make the trees their home.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Hangin’ Around 
The younger set and those scared of heights may not want to go up too high, but they can still have fun just six feet up—swinging around or “bat hanging” upside down like Alex. “My favorite thing about Canopy Climbers is that I can hang upside down and swing around,” said Alex.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Speaking for the Trees
Canopy Climbers is an eco-adventuring company, committed to minimizing their impact on the environment and the trees they climb (as well as the plants and critters that live in them). All Canopy Climbers instructors love the trees and want to pass that love down to the next generation.


photo: Helen Walker Green

Monthly Open Climb Times & Costs
Canopy Climbers hosts monthly open climbs in Volunteer Park April-October (ending with a Trick or Treat climb at Halloween). The climbs last approximately one hour, including instruction, and take place from noon-5 p.m. Cost is $30 per climber. Check their website for dates and to reserve your spot. Note: Walk-ins are welcome if there’s room, but it’s best to make a reservation.

Good to Know
Kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times, but adults do not have to climb. Climbers must wear pants and closed-toed shoes and tie long hair back.

Summer Camps and Group Climbs
Canopy Climbers is teaming up with the Seward Park Audubon Center to offer canopy climbing as part of their outdoor adventure summer camps. Camps are offered for kids ages 10-14.

Canopy Climbers also offers personalized guided climbs and group recreational climbs (including birding and star-gazing) as well as a climb up Stretch, a Big Leaf Maple at Camp Long. See their website for more details.

Canopy Climbers wants to give everyone a chance to climb trees regardless of their physical abilities. The instructors will do their best to provide accommodations, so you and your little climbers can get up in the canopy.

Canopy Climbers Open Climb
N.E. corner of Volunteer Park (enter at E. Highland Dr. off 15th Ave. E.)

Have you and your kids tried recreational tree climbing? What was your favorite part about the experience? Tell us in the Comments below!

— Helen Walker Green

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