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What Is a Canopy Tour?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
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A canopy tour is a type of eco adventure tour in which participants travel from treetop to treetop via ziplines. Students and scientists created these types of tours when they were studying flora and fauna high in the trees. Today, adventure enthusiasts can participate in canopy tours all over the world. Several difficulty levels are available to choose from, and many tour companies claim that just about anyone can participate.

Canopy tours got their start in the 1970s. It was around this time that scientists and graduate students began to climb and rappel trees in the rainforests. The purpose of these climbs was to study the animals and vegetation in the forests' canopies. Eventually, some of these students began to build ziplines, going from tree to tree. Later, the first canopy tour was made available to the public.

Canopy tours are also sometimes referred to as zipline tours. Instead of hiking or riding through the forest, however, tourists travel through the forest canopy. Platforms are usually built in treetops, several feet off the ground. Ziplines typically run from platform to platform.

A zipline in a canopy tour is usually nothing more than a heavy steel cable. A person taking a canopy tour is typically provided with a harness. This harness can then be attached to a pulley on the cable. When a person steps off of a platform, gravity causes him to zip across the cable to another platform.

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People can participate in a canopy tour in most parts of the world. Countries with rainforests, like Costa Rica, have more of these types of eco-tours than other areas of the world. Other areas of the world, however, like the United States, also offer these tours.

Companies that offer these types of tours promote them as involving only a low level of danger. Most companies, however, have some basic requirements for individuals who wish to participate. Individuals should be in reasonably good shape for example. There are also usually age and weight requirements.

Some canopy tours are easier than others. An easy canopy tour usually involves traveling at slow speeds on the ziplines. These slow-paced tours allow individuals to enjoy and learn about the environment. Tour guides are usually very knowledgeable on these types of canopy tours.

More adventurous canopy tours are also available. During these tours, participants are often more interested in an adrenaline rush than learning about the environment. Participants sometimes zip from platform to platform at great speeds during these tours. The ziplines and platforms may also be up to 100 feet (30 meters) high.

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