Head in the Clouds

Sleep among the stars in a tree house in Excelsior Springs.


At the end of 2018, Melissa and Beau Claridge bought two hundred acres of untouched land just ten minutes southeast of downtown Excelsior Springs. “There was nothing here other than the barn and that little farmhouse, which was a long-term rental and still is,” Melissa says. 

Also on the property is a fifteen-acre lake, prime for fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding. When Melissa and Beau purchased the property they now call Sundance Ranch, they had a vision of building a tree house deep in a scenic part of the woods. And while they originally built it for their own family, they now rent the tree house to those wanting to escape into the wilderness. 

The Robbers Roost Tree House is nestled among oak and sycamore trees, and a clear stream flows just beside it. At night, fairy lights illuminate the entire tree house and two bridges that cross over the stream to a cozy fire pit area, hiking trails, limestone bluffs and an outhouse with lighting and a composting toilet. The tree house sits about twelve feet off the ground and is outfitted with a queen bed, reading chair and three screened windows that open to let in a breeze. A lithium generator provides lighting and phone charging, and a propane fireplace keeps the tree house toasty on chilly nights. There’s also a propane burner and chairs on the deck for cooking and enjoying the view from up in the branches. 

“The lake has a trail around it, and you can hike down along the creek, too,” Melissa says. “And there are little cut-throughs between the bluff and the creek. They’re neat trails—all big and open. There are little rock grottoes, like little outcroppings, and they have waterfalls when it’s raining, and in the winter, there’ll be big ice curtains.”

GO: 12607 State Route O, Excelsior Springs. Tree house stay is $165 per night. sundancekc.com.