Cypress Valley Treehouses Offer Eco-Friendly Lodgings High in the Sky
Guests can rent magical suites suspended in the air for events and nightly stays
Photos by Jack Hollingsworth, Erich Schlegel, Kevin Steele and Shannon Vandivier
Here’s a confession.
For about five years now, I’ve wanted a treehouse to call my own. Not a tiny house. Not a weirdly gendered “she shed.” A treehouse, where I can be on eye level with birds, where I can reach out and touch a branch, where I can read or nap or unspool the contents of my mind, all while perched in the sky. It’s a want, not a need — but don’t get it twisted. It’s a strong want.
Architecture goes through phases, and you, like me, have probably gotten seduced by trends. Do you follow Cabin Porn on Instagram? You do now! How about glamping? Does a part of you secretly want luxuriously thick canvas walls on all of your tents? Me too. It’s fun to watch these pretty novelties, but to be honest, I’ve been wondering for a while now when treehouses would have their day.
Then I visited Cypress Valley in Spicewood and realized that day was already here.
“We opened our first treehouse in 2006,” says Amy Beilharz, co-founder of Cypress Valley and Artistree, the company that designs said treehouses. What started as the first zipline company in the continental U.S., Cypress Valley has now evolved into a hospitality space, where bathhouses float above the ground and guests get married in the trees. Turns out, I could do a lot more in a treehouse than take a nap.
“From an ecology perspective, treehouses have a very light footprint,” Amy tells me. “They don’t provide impervious cover, which is important, so that we don’t cover our world with too much asphalt. Instead, we’re trying to use the structures nature has provided, which I think is the draw for people. It brings out their playfulness, their childlike nature.”
Reader, I fact-checked it, and indeed, you’re going to feel like a kid again at Cypress Valley. At least, I did.
“Ooh ooh, can I see that one?!” I squealed to my guide, kindly zipping me around on a golf cart. I pointed to a large, multi-level structure, the kind of thing Jules Verne may have designed. A little Hill Country, a little steampunk.
“This is The Nest,” says Alicia Miranda, my guide for the day, and Cypress Valley’s Office Manager. “Families love this one, because you can fit a lot of people here. Plus, it’s just really fun.”
It’s undeniably, outrageously fun: there are enclosed lookout rooms dotting the trees, winding staircases that climb ever higher, circular bedrooms overlooking a creek ravine. Did I mention a kitchenette? Yeah. You can make a meal for yourself, suspended several meters in the sky. There were even cute little bookshelves and a lounge area — everything you’d need for a group of four to six. It was at this point I started mentally planning my destination birthday, assigning beds to my family and friends at The Nest.
But I wasn’t quite prepared for the treehouse Alicia showed me next: The Yoki — a luxury, modern suite accessible only by suspension bridge.
“This is our newest treehouse,” Alicia explains. I opened the door to a floating, upscale bungalow — exactly like something you’d see in the New York Times’ Style section. All angles and spaciousness, platform king bed, an open-style living room and curved outdoor deck. If you’ve ever wondered whether treehouses could accommodate a refrigerator, they can! The Yoki evokes a Japanese-style penthouse, complete with running water and AC. Except, it’s in a tree. Forget AI, this is the future I’m hoping for.
“Let me show you the bathhouse,” Alicia suggests, and we walk back over the suspension bridge to an Onsen-style soaking tub, nestled in a concrete room with huge picture windows — the tub itself big enough for two people at least. What I’m saying is, it’s a good honeymoon option.
At this point, you might be wondering how much it costs to stay at Cypress Valley. Prices run $200 to $675 a night to stay in one of their treehouses, scattered throughout the 103-acre ranch. But guests can also come for events, which brings me to the crown jewel of Cypress Valley: a wedding and event platform, suspended between two 500-year-old cypress trees.
“It really is magical,” says Amy, who tells me that the platform itself can hold 20 guests. It’s flanked by a limestone amphitheater, where additional guests can watch a ceremony or a concert, the latter of which Cypress Valley has been booking more of lately. I don’t blame them: the platform looks over a spring-fed creek ravine, a striking backdrop for any band. I think about coming back here for such a show or wedding, underneath a night sky combed through with stars, crickets and cicadas singing under our feet. Maybe it’s time to renew my vows.
We visit more treehouses, like The Lofthaven — an aerial yurt wrapped around an old growth cypress tree, with a bathhouse perched on a ravine, and a waterfall bathtub whose stones cascade down one floor to the next. It all seems so unlikely, these little wonders tucked into treetops; even the more modest spaces, like the single-room, solar-powered Willow and Juniper houses, don’t quite tell you the feats of engineering that they are. Rather, their design relies on biomimicry, a practice of letting nature tell you how to build.
“My passion is creating win-win situations, where we can help people reconnect with nature, while doing something good for the planet,” Amy tells me. And it’s clear that she and her family — her son Will helped spearhead Cypress Valley into what it is today — have done exactly that. This is a place, she tells me, where they don’t have to tell guests to put away their phones or devices. It just naturally happens, as people slow down, acclimate to a more relaxed pace, nourished by birdsong and wind in the leaves.
Something about that doesn’t surprise me.