It is summertime and the outdoors are green with grass and leaves. A cherry-red A-frame building near Westcliffe, Colorado awaits guests.

Red A Chalet

Travel along winding roads to reach 10 spectacular acres of ranchland near Westcliffe, 8,400 feet up in Colorado’s toothy Wet Mountains. Here you can stay in Red A Chalet, a cherry-red, one-bed A-frame completely powered by the wind and sun.

You’ll love the cabin’s bright and cheery decor. There are colorful accent walls, some painted navy or canary yellow while others are swathed in retro wallpaper reminiscent of the 1960s and ’70s. This spot was made to kick back in — its comfy furnishings boast geometric lines and there are lots of hardback books to cozy up with. Sip from the “Good Vibes Only” mugs on the outdoor wooden deck for all the bird chirps and fresh air you want in the morning.

Feeling famished? Cook on the hard-working wood-burning stove that’s also the cabin’s main heating source — the host provides skillets for some simple food-warming action. There’s also a handy Weber charcoal grill (for use when fire bans and high winds aren’t happening; safety first!) and a two-burner camp stove. You can disconnect happily knowing this off-the-grid beauty’s solar panels and wind turbine make its energy consumption 100 percent sustainable.

What makes it special?

It’s the fact that you can completely detach from your devices and become one with Mother Nature, given there’s not much to do outside of hike and stargaze — and that’s a good thing! While there is some (very slow) WiFi and a Smart TV you can stream your favorite shows on, cell service is spotty, so be prepared for that.

A hard-working metal stove heats a living room during the chilly winter months at a vacation rental near Westcliffe, Colorado.
A mountain peak stand tall in the distance with blue skies above it and a winter forest at its feet near Westcliffe, Colorado.
A living room in an A-frame building is decorated with retro vibe. Bright light shines through the tall windows of the building near Westcliffe, Colorado

The most Colorado thing about this place

It’s the spectacular mountain views and star-strewn night skies (yes, you’ll see the translucent depths of the Milky Way in ways you just can’t in a city). The host says the moon is so bright some nights you can read a book beneath it.

Most unexpected amenity

How about the refurbished antique claw-foot tub you’ll be taking all your baths in? If you’re someone who loves a relaxing soak, this will be right up your alley.

Top sensory encounter you’ll experience

After dinner, we suggest popping Santana on the good ol’ vinyl record player and stepping onto the deck with a Colorado craft beer. There you can search for an infinite number of glistening constellations and shimmery planets.

A cherry-red A-frame chalet is covered in a blanket of snow in Colorado. Overhead are bright blue skies dotted with a few clouds.

Quirkiest thing to expect

We’re definitely going with being welcomed by the host’s sweet pup, and all the wildlife spotting — think a copious number of deer and mountain goats. You’ll be a self-proclaimed nature enthusiast by the end of this trip, if you weren’t already, that is.

Our favorite traveler review

“Absolutely adorable home with absolutely phenomenal hosts! Couldn't have asked for a better stay. Super clean, well designed and fabulously decorated. And that's just the inside. We took Andrew and Yesenia's tips for viewing the dark skies from the deck — and WOW!!! — it was a stunning experience! The location is quiet and secluded and the cabin is so comfortable that you will not want to leave. Ten out of five stars — can't wait to visit again!” — Asher, airbnb

Things to see & do nearby

If you must go to town, try touring Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, sister municipalities touted by the International Dark-Sky Association as sublime spots to see nighttime sparklers. The Smokey Jack Observatory in Westcliffe hosts star parties throughout summer.

Pueblo, about an hour east of Westcliffe, is celebrated for its super spicy Chile & Frijoles Festival every fall. Or go in summer to walk the Riverwalk, dotted with craft breweries and artisanal eateries. Check out this one-day Pueblo itinerary for more ideas.


Photos courtesy of airbnb

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