Wild Vs. Mild: Spend a Night Under the Stars

Wild Vs. Mild: Spend a Night Under the Stars

While the fearless cliff camp in Colorado, others may prefer sleeping in a Big Sur tree house By: Valerie Chen
<p>A tree house at Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn combines luxury and nature. // © 2015 Kodiak Greenwood</p><p>Feature image (above): More darling travelers...

A tree house at Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn combines luxury and nature. // © 2015 Kodiak Greenwood

Feature image (above): More darling travelers can try cliff camping with Kent Mountain Adventure Center. // © 2015 Dan Gambino/Kent Mountain Adventure Center

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Want another accommodation option in the popular California central coast destination? Consider camping in Big Sur instead.

Prone to sleepwalking? You may want to skip this next part. At Kent Mountain Adventure Center in Estes Park, Colo., pitching a tent on solid ground doesn’t cut it. Instead, clients spend the night on a sheer rock face with the help of a portaledge (a hanging tent and platform system) suspended 150 feet above ground. An experienced guide first provides training in climbing basics such as tying knots, rappelling and ascending a fixed rope, in addition to helping set up the portaledge and remaining nearby on his or her own portaledge.

The cliff camping package costs $1,200 for one person but drops to $800 each for two people. Meals are included.

Harry Kent, founder and director of the company, notes that amateurs are enticed by this new thrill and actually sign up more than experienced climbers.

“There is generally not much actual sleep, however, due to the excitement and the fact you’re on a portable ledge that shifts and moves as you do,” Kent said. 


To score the starry view without the jittery nerves, spend a serene night at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Calif. The resort already sits atop the oceanfront region’s cliffs, but guests can climb even higher by booking one of the property’s tree houses.

Built on stilts reaching 9 feet above the forest floor, the free-standing units have stairway entrances and are nearly camouflaged amongst the redwood and oak trees. After stargazing through their tree house’s skylight or from their private sundeck, guests can enjoy a guided nature hike, unwind in a yoga class or take a dip in the heated infinity pool. Rates start at $775 per night.