RED RIVER GORGE CABIN LIFE: TREEHOUSE EDITION
Last week I returned to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for some climbing and exploring. On my first visit last October, I fell in love with the area and the atmosphere around Miguel’s Pizza. This time, I had the opportunity to go beyond the tents of Miguel’s and get a taste of the luxurious (but EXTREMELY affordable) Red River Gorge cabin life with the Red River Gorge Cabin Company. A family owned and operated rental business with a sole focus of giving visitors unique experiences they will remember forever.
We spent days climbing rock walls, and each night brought us tiredness and the threat of rain. The weather gods did not help us during our visit, forecasting rain every day except one. Luckily, even with the occasional shower, we were able to climb every day for a few hours.
On nights with rain, there is nothing better than coming back from a day of climbing to a cabin filled with friends. The first cabin we stayed in was known as the Rumford Cabin, a GIANT property that can sleep six and comes equipped with a full kitchen, foosball table, fireplace, and hot tub. It’s located just a couple of miles from Miguel’s, and right in the heart of the Red River Gorge and all the climbing festivities.
There’s a grill for cooking up hot dogs, and an oven that’s perfect for cooking your frozen gas station mozzarella sticks that you bought in a hangry rage. Yummmmmmm.
The best part about the cabin is the reasonable price. The starting rate for this rental is just $118/night. Get six climbing friends together, and you’re each paying $20/night for a kick-ass cabin. I don’t think it’s possible to find a better deal.
For those climbing lovers, there’s a way to make your stay in The Red both adventurous and romantic. The neighboring cabin to the Rumford is the Butterfly Suite. A smaller one-bedroom luxury cabin that’s ideal for two. This one also comes with a hot tub, kitchen (no oven), and gas fireplace.
It’s the perfect place to bring back a carton of ice cream and eat the entire thing for both breakfast and dinner (speaking from experience).
The last place we were able to stay was my favorite. Located up a steep hill back in the woods sits a place not quite like anything I’ve seen. There’s a babbling creek, a rope swing, and a fireplace that surround a fairytale-like house. But it’s not just a house, it’s a TREEHOUSE.
Known as the “Flying Squirrel Treehouse”, it’s something everyone must experience on their visit to the Red River Gorge. The reason I loved it so much is because of its uniqueness, the fact it was a freaking treehouse, and that it was the perfect mix of roughing it and luxury.
There is no electricity, running water, or hot tub. The hike up to the treehouse is short, but steep and not for those who have trouble hiking. The owners of the Red River Gorge Cabin Company built the treehouse in 2014 because they thought it would be a fun way for visitors to experience the gorge.
Well, they were right, and they couldn’t make it more welcoming.
They leave you gallons of water, cooking supplies for the fire, a small camping stove, board games, blankets, firewood, tea, and even pieces of Lindt Chocolate to welcome you at your stay. I think I was in heaven.
When I first arrived at the treehouse I took a couple minutes to soak it all in by making a hot cup of tea and putting on one of my favorite bluegrass artists Sarah Jarosz. Man, I felt like I had been plopped into a scene from a Disney fairytale or into a story plot of a Nicholas Sparks book. Josh kept saying that this was a place that someone could come and write a novel. I agree.
As dusk settled we made dinner, lit a fire, and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of mosquitos. The fire gave the treehouse an orange glow, and I could not believe I was able to cross ‘stay in a treehouse’ off my bucket list.
The one-room treehouse made the perfect space for coming in and playing cards after the fire. We lit the room with a small lantern left by the owners and enjoyed the cozy space.
The inside room holds only two small trunks and a futon. During the day the futon serves as the couch, and once you are ready to sleep it folds into a bed. One trunk holds all the sheets and blankets, and even on a semi-chilly night, we were warm inside. A wrap-around deck makes the ideal platform for looking out into the forest, enjoying a cup of coffee or a good book. There isn’t much space, but a lot of space isn’t needed.
One of my favorite features of the treehouse was the outhouse. From the front it looks like a normal outhouse and it took us a few hours to realize what was hiding on the inside. Three of the walls are wooden, but the wall facing away from the treehouse and into the dense forest is GLASS. That’s right folks, an outhouse with a view. It’s also the best smelling outhouse I’ve ever been in. I never thought I’d be so excited to write about a place to pee.
Morning came, and I enjoyed one last cup of tea in a place I didn’t want to leave. It’s one of those places that I’ve put a big ‘WILL RETURN’ sticker next to. And I know what you’re thinking: what’s the price tag for an experience like this? $200? $150? $100?
How about prices starting at $67. Yeah, I wasn’t joking when I said these places were the perfect mix of budget and luxury. Other “glamping” experience similar to this can run as high as $250/night.
That night we returned to Miguel’s Pizza for camping and spent much of the afternoon cooped up in a basement as the rain poured. I sat there most of the afternoon daydreaming about a return to the treehouse and craving one of the hot tubs at the first cabins.
For those Michiganders reading this, The Red River Gorge is only a six-hour drive from southern Michigan and can easily be done on a long weekend. My first visit was three days, and it made me fall in love and immediately plan a return trip, which is what I think will happen to you.
Interested in staying in one of these cabins on your trip to Kentucky? You can request a reservation here: http://www.redrivergorgecabinco.com/
**All accommodations were compensated by the Red River Gorge Cabin Company. However, as always, all opinions and comments are my own. Go stay there guys, I’m forcing you.**
Soulful adventurer. Probably lost. Definitely eating ice cream.
In her late-teens, Shalee drove out of her small hometown watching the sunset behind her along the two-lane highway. Her ventures began in Michigan, where she taught herself to travel on a budget. Today, Shalee shares her tips and stories to thousands of readers interested in adventure, budget, and outdoor travel. Learn more about her here.