Rate: $150 to $350 per night
Glam Factor: 4 of 5
A set of fantasy treehouses in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge elevates the glamping concept—literally, by placing three domed tents in the trees connected by suspension bridges, and stylistically, by decorating each hideaway like a boho studio apartment.
You’ll rough it at first, schlepping your bags up 83 steps to reach the first deck, then more stairs and at least one swaying walkway to your dome on its own platform deck. But you won’t want to take a breather—you’ll want to keep climbing. Test each bridge, see each view, crawl out onto the canopy net, a massive forest hammock made of countless bungee cords. At night, lights outline the bridges and spiral up tree trunks, and the whole place twinkles in the dark.
Each dome has hardwood flooring, a queen bed, and a kitchenette. The two larger ones also have hanging macramé chairs, a ceiling fan, and air conditioning. Sitting on your deck in the still of the morning, you’ll contemplate whether you could actually live like this.
It wouldn’t be out of the question. Dome Town is the brainchild of rock climber and arborist Django Kroner, who built his own treehouse when he first moved to the Red River Gorge. His tree-doctor business, Canopy Crew in Cincinnati, and a tight relationship with the family that runs Red River Gorgeous cabin rentals led to a collaboration: building a variety of treehouses in the park in a way that minimizes stress on the trees. Most of the five options are creative spins on traditional treehouse structures, like Tradewinds, two conjoined buildings with full electricity, running water, and a hot tub. The off-the-grid Observatory, 60 feet above the valley floor, has three rooms connected by floating walkways. Dome Town is the only one where you might cross paths with a stranger. And that stranger might not even be a guest—anyone can access Dome Town because the entry staircase comes straight off the shoulder of a windy canyon road.
As far as security, though, it’s impossible to sneak up on someone—the decks bounce a little when anyone approaches. The trees have you covered. Multiple locations near Stanton, Kentucky, 606-663-9824, thecanopycrew.com
While You’re There…
Eat: Since you won’t want to leave Dome Town’s magical bubble, order takeout. The area’s best restaurant, Red River Rockhouse (redriverrockhouse.com), serves grass-fed burgers within walking distance.
Hike: There are about 160 natural arches in the Red River Gorge and adjacent Natural Bridge State Park. Natural Bridge is the iconic one. You can walk across the flat topafter you make it up the short, steep path and through the Lemon Squeezer passageway.
Explore: The Red River Gorge is a rock-climber’s mecca, and it’s one of the few places with assisted Via Ferrata climbing for beginners. Southeast Mountain Guides (southeastmountainguides.com) can get you vertical on a course of steel ladder rungs embedded in the sandstone cliffs.