About this listing
An Authentic Taste of the Old West, Overlooking a Peaceful Meadow and Towering Pines at the Sky Ranch.
This is a truly unique mountain home, for travelers who want to experience the spirit of a bygone age.
Our carefully restored Gold Rush Cabin sits at 7,000 feet, surrounded by towering old Jeffrey pines. While nearly all the other homes in Big Bear Valley are packed tightly together, as soon as you turn into our private five-acre Sky Ranch, you can discover true seclusion.
Step out onto the broad wooden porch of the Cabin, and you're looking at an alpine meadow which has changed little since the Serrano Indians first arrived here 3,000 years ago. There are no other homes within 300 feet -- and immediately adjacent to our ranch, you'll find the trails of the National Forest, winding through hundreds of square miles of pure nature.
This home is quiet night and day, the perfect break from harried city life. The only sounds you're likely to hear are wind through the trees, and birds which glide from tree to tree. And when the brilliant colors of sunset subside, thousands of stars emerge to remind you of why the Milky Way got its name.
The Cabin was built in 1870 to house a family during the days of the local Gold Rush, which featured such legendary characters as "Lucky Baldwin."
After the paydirt ran out, the Gold Rush Cabin became the homestead of a Swiss woman, who bought it for $25 and called it home from 1915 until 1988.
According to the listings at the Old Houses website, this appears to be the oldest wooden building in Southern California.
Now it's ready for guests.
Note: During major holidays, we ask
a 3-night minimum stay.
Tip: See Big Bear Events at Eventbrite
to see what's happening in town.
You'd never know by looking at it, but the Cabin has been updated with such "modern luxuries" as electric lighting, a gas-fired heater, a wood-burning Earth Stove, a vintage propane cookstove, an antique claw-foot tub, a unique and eco-friendly composting toilet, wifi, and (yes) running water.
Even with these amenities, this cabin is the most authentic Western experience that you're going to find without a Time Machine. If you want a relaxing vacation in the woods with a surplus of vintage charm, this is the place.
The living room is unusually spacious for its era, and features a hand-built stone hearth and wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen's vintage cookstove still works as well as it did in 1930. Of course that's a different experience from a modern appliance, so we also have a microwave, toaster oven, coffeemaker, crockpot, and a small fridge.
The Cabin features one main bedroom on the first floor, which holds a cozy full-size bed for two topped by a plush quilt. There's also a big upstairs loft, accessed by an old-fashioned ladder staircase, with two more large beds. If you prefer to avoid the stairs, there's a sofabed in the living room. For maximum comfort, we recommend no more than four adults.
The back porch has chairs for relaxing, a charcoal BBQ, a table for dining, and an incredible view of meadow, forest, and sky.
The Gold Rush Cabin offers the best of all seasons. When snow is on the ground, enjoy our perfect sledding hill, snowshoe, or cross-country ski. From Spring to Fall, you can practice yoga, hike the local trails, pitch horseshoes, try your hand at archery, cycle, or just relax on the back porch and enjoy pure nature.
Some guests swear they can feel the spirits of the people who have lived in and around this historic structure. Is it real? You tell us.
* * *
The Gold Rush Cabin is adjacent to hundreds of square miles of forest. The famous Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches 2,663 miles from Canada to Mexico, passes just east of us.
The Gold Rush Cabin is peaceful night and day -- a perfect retreat from the city. Even on big holiday weekends, you'll be completely isolated from traffic and crowds.
In addition to the Cabin's comfortable porch, there's a private deck at the top of the property where you can read...enjoy the sunset...and view a truly stunning panorama of stars.
You can enjoy a large hot tub, which sits 100 yards away at the very edge of the National Forest, offering a commanding view of trees and sky.
In the Summer, the valley offers countless hiking trails, boating and fishing in the lake, mountain and road biking, horseback riding, golf, tennis, ziplining, the zoo, and many other outdoor activities. In Winter, there's skiing/boarding, snowshoeing, sledding, and more.
For kids, there's a "fort," swings, and a huge sandbox in a boat. They're also welcome to help us feed the chickens. That's always a big hit!
Inside the Cabin, we offer board games, playing cards, materials for drawing, other arts & crafts, and a collection of vintage music boxes. We also have a telescope for stargazing.
It's all waiting for you, just a couple hours from the center of the city.
* * *
The nearest stores and restaurants are within five minutes by car. The towns of Big Bear Lake and Fawnskin are 10 to 20 minutes, and offer scores of restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.
There are also two supermarkets, multiple drug stores, and a hospital.
Also within 15 minutes by car are...
> Two ski and snowboard resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, offering 26 lifts and 55 runs. There are excellent schools and family areas, as well as serious terrain parks and an Olympic-size halfpipe. This is where Shaun White learned to fly!
> Big Bear's famous alpine lake, which offers fishing, all forms of boating, and other water sports.
> Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk & Wildlife Preserve, where you can stroll the boardwalk, have a picnic in the gazebo, or just sit and enjoy the lake and mountain views.
> The U.S. Forest Service Discovery Center, which offers a variety of nature programs.
> A truly remarkable animal park -- one of only two alpine zoos in the U.S. -- housing grizzlies, wood bison, cougars, timber wolves, eagles, and much more.
> Big Bear Valley Museum. Although you're staying in one of the rarest historical homes in California, the museum has some great exhibits as well, including an example of a stamp mill which was used to crush gold ore in the era when this cabin was built.
> Bear Mountain Golf Course. At 7,000 feet, it's an entirely different game.
For those who prefer a true wilderness adventure...
The San Bernardino Mountains offer surprisingly spectacular terrain. While the Serranos have called these mountains home for many centuries, Europeans didn't venture into this rugged land till 165 years ago. It's one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world (in geological terms) and features scores of steep, challenging peaks, which stretch from the natural hot springs of Deep Creek in the west, to huge Yucca forests in the east.
11,500-foot Mount San Gorgonio, named by Spanish missionaries in the early 17th century, is at the center of the first designated wilderness area in America. Also known as "Old Greyback," San Gorgonio and the 11 surrounding peaks over 10,000 feet are home to an extremely rare herd of bighorn sheep.
The headwaters of the Santa Ana and Mojave rivers offer premier wild trout streams such as Bear Creek, accessible only by foot.
Hundreds of miles of unpaved National Forest roads offer every type of off-road experience -- ranging from an easy drive to Pioneertown, to the most radical 4WD trails imaginable (11 Difficults, six Most Difficults). The Cabin is right in the middle of the major routes.
After a day here, you may find it hard to believe that you're just 100 miles (and perhaps a century) away from Downtown Los Angeles.
(See additional info below the Japanese.)
Dogs are always welcome. We have a friendly Lab and Boxer mutt, and the spacious dog corral can be shared. However, we do ask guests to pay an added fee of $25 per pup per day. We recommend that you bring his/her favorite bed or blanket. It calms your pet, and helps us keep the fee as low as possible.
Unfortunately, we can't accept cats. There are simply too many people who are allergic (including members of our family).
Check-in time is 4 p.m., and check-out is 12 noon. If the calendar is open, you can add a block of four hours before or after the standard stay for a modest charge.
A MAJOR advantage over many rental homes: You do NOT have to take your trash and recyclables in your car when you leave. (This is a surprisingly common and annoying requirement!) We provide cans where you can leave both trash and recyclables.
There's a charcoal BBQ grill on the Cabin porch, and we offer self-lighting charcoal for sale at cost. (No lighter fluid allowed!) A gas BBQ is available at our home (1065 G Lane), which is about 500 feet from the Chalet.
We also offer bundles of firewood at cost.
There is easy parking for any number of cars. RVs and trailers are no problem either.
Cell phones on Verizon and Sprint will have coverage at the Cabin, however the AT&T and T-Mobile networks still do not cover this area. Of course the wifi enables Netflix, (SENSITIVE CONTENTS HIDDEN), and similar apps. There's a landline available if you need one.
The public bus stop is a short walk. Surprisingly, it is possible to take public transit from any train station in SoCal all the way to our bus stop. Cheaper than driving, and no worries about weather. Ask us for details.
If you want to borrow a telescope, just let us know!
If you're bringing kids, let us know the ages. You may get a discount. :)
For equestrians, we have a two-acre horse corral, plus hay barn and covered stall. No charge for guests.
The wifi functions well on most devices in the cabin. If you like movies, we have a Smart TV in the loft, and you may want to bring some DVDs (or borrow some of ours) to play on your laptop.
During ski season, we provide one free self-starting "log" for the fireplace (and we have more which we provide at our cost). If you didn't bring firewood, you can purchase the wood that's next to the hearth for less than the big city price.
The composting toilet is different (tall!), but easy to like once you learn the many eco advantages. If you'd like more info, see the Excel model on the Sun-Mar website.
We love hosting weddings -- and the huge pine in the middle of our sloping meadow offers an amazing altar! (see photo.) If you appreciate nature, this is the ideal place to begin married life.
Tip: AirBnB does not have seasonal pricing,
so if you're booking far in advance, you may
not see correct rates. Just check with us. ;)
Legal Note: Upon booking, you will gain access to the House Manual, which includes the rental contract for your stay. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all terms in advance.
Hot tub, stargazing deck and telescope, hiking and mountain bike trails, USFS Adventure Pass, sleds, dog corral, horse corral, charcoal BBQ, gas BBQ.
Interaction with guests
We try to be friendly...and respect your privacy.
This is one of the few rental homes in Big Bear that actually feels like a cabin in the mountains.
The public bus stop is a short walk. Surprisingly, it is possible to take public transit from any train station in SoCal all the way to our bus stop. Cheaper than driving, and no worries about weather. Ask us for details!
No smoking indoors. (Smoking on porch OK, but PLEASE do not drop ashes or butts on the ground.)
Please see detailed info in the "House Manual." It's online at AirBnB, and there will be a copy in the Cabin when you arrive.
Relax...enjoy...look for ghosts!
Mike is an American who has lived in Europe and Japan. A graduate of UCLA, he also works in L.A. as an international marketing consultant. For fun, he likes basketball, tennis, volleyball, hiking, skiing, cycling, and motorcycling.
Kiyoe (Kay) is a Japanese national. For fun, she likes running, hiking, tennis, and clogging. 日本の”おもてなし”をモットーにしています。どうぞ日本語でお気軽にお問い合わせください。お待ちしています。