It looks like a cross between an elven home from Rivendell and a giant lantern hanging high among the redwood trees. But this treehouse in California, accessed by a precarious-looking stepladder, is actually an Airbnb rental.
The Pinecone Treehouse stands on a forested slope in Bonny Doon, 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of San Francisco. The uphill side is 35 feet (11 meters) above the ground, the downhill side almost 60 feet (18 meters).
To add to the feeling of immersion, its wooden frame is slatted with great panes of glass all around – nature is everywhere you look.
You need a sense of adventure to stay here. It’s up a muddy road with abandoned cars lining its edge – an atmospheric or scary experience, depending on your taste. There’s an optional safety harness for climbing the ladder, which rises sharply to the treehouse entrance. The treehouse, which has a double bed, sways a little in the wind, and can get cold at night – but extra bedding is provided. And the wood-panelled bathroom, which offers a composting toilet and a shower with forest views, is at the bottom of the ladder.
Still, if you like Pinecone Treehouse, you’ll probably love it: staying here, you really are among the birds, trees and sky, in a stunning construction.
It’s tempting to say that the Pinecone Treehouse is unique, but that’s not quite true – the company who constructed it, O2 Treehouse, have built dozens of arboreal structures around the world since forming in 2006. A French Tudor-style cottage in the backwoods of Sonoma County and a two-story house nestled in sycamores near San Jose are among the company’s recent projects.
If you’re really keen on the Pinecone Treehouse, meanwhile, there’s an opportunity to buy it: early in 2020, the structure was put up for sale by its current owner. That may affect its rental status, but does also mean that the next owner could be you.