How to Do Recreational Tree Climbing

How to Do Recreational Tree Climbing
In Richard Preston's "The Wild Trees," researchers spent days and nights climbing the tallest trees in the United States and discovered a world of wildlife hiding in the canopies. Recreational tree climbers harness up to find their own magic in trees. Whether you seek the thrill of heights, the beauty of the view, or the physical challenge, tree climbing offers a different way to experience the outdoors.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Registration for tree climbing lessons
  • Harness
Step 1
Take lessons from a professional organization. There are inherent risks in tree climbing. A fall may cause serious injury and even death. Added to the personal risk is the environmental impact. Improper use of equipment and climbing in sensitive areas leaves a negative impact on trees and the ecosystems they support. A professional organization will teach you techniques to climb safely, while leaving as little impact as possible on the environment. The company should also provide you with all your gear, allowing you to become familiar with the equipment you'll purchase for your personal use later.
Step 2
Purchase your own harness. Because you have been able to try out gear during your lessons, you should have a good idea of what you'll need to climb on your own, as well as what type of gear you prefer. A harness is a good first investment. With your own harness, you'll be able to climb with experienced friends or continue taking lessons without purchasing all your own gear right off the bat. You may climb just once in awhile, or may decide tree climbing is not for you, so there's no need to purchase all your gear when you're just starting.
Step 3
Find out areas where you can climb. Just like some hiking trails are closed to mountain bikes and some crags are off limits to rock climbers, tree climbing is not permitted everywhere. Access issues often center around environmental concerns, so it's important to respect these limitations. Contact the governing agency of the area you're interested in and find out if tree climbing is permitted.
Step 4
Spend time climbing with experienced friends. Even after taking several lessons, it's important to keep honing your skills. Experienced friends can let you borrow gear, offer advice on technique, and make sure you're making safe decisions. If you don't have friends who climb, consider taking more lessons. Over time, you may find classmates to get outside with.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.