Calaveras County has lifted restrictions on short term rentals.

COVID-19 CANCELLATION POLICY                                                                    

Reservations are 100% FULLY REFUNDABLE if Calaveras County's suspension of short term rentals is in effect at time of reservation.

Looking forward to welcoming guests back to our special community.  Here are some guidelines guests are being asked to consider out of respect to our local community:

  • When possible, please come prepared with groceries & supplies to preserve local resources for full time residents.
  • When outside, all individuals who do not reside in the same household shall practice social distancing & maintain at least six feet of space from other individuals.  Please consider wearing a mask when possible. 
  • For the health of our team we cannot accommodate back-to-back reservations and will block off time between bookings.
  • Our cleaner is meticulous and has approved products to clean between guests.  As always, all bedding (including duvet covers) is laundered between each guest stay.

SUMMER 2020 - Big Trees Village Recreation Center's POOL does *NOT* expect to open this summer due to operating limitations with social distancing.  The bocce court, picnic area, and frisbee golf courses are available to guests who bring their own equipment (The Chesa Madrisa has bocce & frisbee golf sets that guests are welcome to borrow).  There are lakes nearby that are great options for summer recreation when the county reopens. 


The Chesa Madrisa is a beautiful vacation home nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Big Trees Village in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and resides at approximately 5,000 feet elevation. Featuring 3 bedrooms & 3.5 bathrooms, this Swiss inspired mountain home was custom built in 2001.  This home is best suited for a maximum of 10 guests (6 adults max).  

This area is a great escape – fresh air & quiet solitude, with easy access to fun activities.  The neighborhood of Big Trees Village borders Big Trees State Park, just north of the town of Arnold, and approximately halfway between Bear Valley Ski Resort & the town of Murphys. Avoid the crowds of Tahoe and enjoy relaxation just a 3-4 hour drive from the Bay Area, and just over 2 hours from the Sacramento airport.


At the Chesa Madrisa guests will experience a high level of service every step of the way as needed.  The Family Property Manager, Hillary Gibson, is available anytime & manages remotely with a great team of boots on the ground locally if needed.   

Just relax, kick your feet up, and enjoy the mountains in this amazing home.


●3 bedrooms each with KING size bed & plush mattress topper

●3 bedrooms each have private attached full bathroom (2 have shower/bath tubs & 1 has large walk in shower)

●Siemens VersiCharge LVL 2 Universal Electric Vehicle Charger

●All newer top of the line kitchen gear, from silverware to Vitamix - it's all there!

●Nice quality linens & towels are included for no additional fee

●Duvet covers are laundered between each guest stay

●Electrolux full size front loading washer & dryer 

●Curbside trash & recycling are both included for no additional fee

●Dual zones heat & gas fireplace on main level

●Central AC (on very hot summer days the larger & open main level cools to around 75 degrees, while the lower level bedrooms stay nice & cool under 70)

●Touchscreen hospitality tablet "Your Welcome" - a digital welcome guide with local recommendations & home info

●Wifi, Comcast X1 cable tv on 2 Smart TVs, & a 3rd Roku TV in middle bedroom

●DVD collection, 2 Blu-Ray players & Nintendo wii with games

●Comcast landline for free long distance calls (cell service is weak in the area, though Verizon is ok)

●2 car garage with fairly level driveway & snow plow service in winter months

●Kids Toy Closet filled with games & activities (literally filled - 20 board games, puzzles, Legos, Brio train set, Lincoln Logs, play kitchen, dollhouse, pop up castle, arts & crafts)

●Large kitchen enables plenty of room to unpack your groceries & extra refrigerator in garage

●Storm? Built-in automatic generator for whole home

●Full size toiletries provided (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap) + basket of extras just in case anything was forgotten

●Kitchen & all 4 bathrooms feature Williams-Sonoma hand soaps & lotion sets

●All paper products are provided - no more running to the grocery to buy toilet paper on your vacation

●Wifi thermostat so the home will be heated upon arrival in cool weather

●Dusk-to-dawn exterior lights so you don’t have to fumble with a lock box in the dark

●Wifi enabled security system so the alarm will be off prior to arrival

●Outdoor cameras to see screen shots of current weather - especially handy in winter months

●Sonos wireless speaker

●Golden Poppy Pass for entry to Big Trees State Park

●Sno-Park Pass for access to local winter trails

●Big Trees Village Recreation Center - Highest level of membership for summer activities 

●Pool Towels for neighborhood pool Memorial Day to Labor Day

●Heated garage - comes in handy to keep ski & board gear in garage

●Mini ping-pong table

●Karaoke machine


The Chesa Madrisa opens to an inviting sitting area with tall windows and double-sided gas fireplace. This main level of the home features a half-bathroom, mudroom for ski gear, and a well-appointed kitchen overlooking the main living area & oversized sectional couch. The kitchen opens to the dining area with a table for six, which can be enlarged to accommodate ten guests. The dining area overlooks a TV area with patio access including Weber propane tank grill and outdoor table & chairs.

The Chesa Madrisa comfortably accommodates up to ten guests (six adults max).  All three bedrooms are on the lower level & each has a king size bed and private full bath.  The 1st bedroom on the lower level has a set of bunk beds for children, and a king size bed that can be split into two twin beds upon advance request. There are also two full sized cots for children to be placed by parents wherever they prefer.  Many families have enjoyed multi-generational vacations at the Chesa Madrisa with grandparents in the far bedroom with a walk in shower, parents in the middle bedroom, and children all bunking up together in the 1st bedroom.  The Chesa Madrisa does not accommodate more than six adult guests.

The Chesa Madrisa has a two-car garage for guests, and a covered footbridge with steps leading from the garage to the main entry. The driveway is not steep, and in the winter snow season it is plowed with each fresh snowfall. There’s no better place to hunker down during an exciting snowstorm!


The lower level of the Chesa Madrisa has a fun red couch & TV area with cable channels/Smart TV, Blu-Ray player, Nintendo Wii, karaoke machine and a closet full of toys, games, puzzles, and crafts. The garage has a mini-ping-pong table that can be set up anywhere a guest chooses.  The closet in the 1st bedroom has a Baby Bjorn Portable Crib, Little Einstein Exersaucer, Baby Bjorn Babysitter, diaper changing pad to place on dresser, Cloud B Twilight Ladybug nightlight for bedtimes, bath toys, step stool, gate, and red dinosaur humidifier.  The dining room pantry has a high chair-booster combo seat for infants & toddlers.  


Nightly rate varies from $340-$500

Weekend nightly rates start at $350

Weekly rate starts at $2,000

Monthly discounts are available & variable - please inquire

Extended discounts for ski season rentals are available when schedule allows - please inquire

For a quote please enter dates into calendar for grand total


This website is the best way to #bookdirect & get the lowest overall cost for all stays at the Chesa Madrisa. Listings on VRBO & Airbnb have booking & service fees added by the listing sites that can range from $100 for a weekend booking to well over $500 for a longer stay. Feel free to check out the listings on AirbnbVRBO to compare prices & see the savings, but be sure to reach out here for the lowest total price: or 503-568-9133 text/call.  

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Please email or text/call 503-568-9133 to reach Family Property Manager to reserve your dates. Reservation Agreement, ID, and 50% Reservation Payment are required to complete a reservation, with balance due 30 days in advance (60 days for select dates, such as holidays or longer term stays).

The Chesa Madrisa only accepts credit card payments via Square: AmEx, Visa, MC & Discover.


●KitchenAid double wall oven

●Breville mini oven

●Breville microwave

●Set of Le Creuset ceramic bakeware

●Espresso VertuoPlus Coffee & Espresso Maker


●Krups coffee bean grinder

●Mr Coffee

●Cuisinart Coffee Maker

●Le Creuset french press

●Le Creuset tea kettle

●Williams-Sonoma pots & pans (non-stick & dishwasher safe)

●Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker 

●KitchenAid standing mixer


●KitchenAid Double Belgian Waffle Maker

●All-Clad 7qt Slow Cooker

●Black+Decker electric pancake griddle

●Williams-Sonoma wok

●Crate & Barrel Aspen place settings

●Crate & Barrel wine glasses 

●Bosch 3 row dishwasher 

●Fondue set 

●Everything you need to cook a Thanksgiving feast


Big Trees is amazing in all seasons with a wide variety of outdoor activities. Winter is a great time to check out Bear Valley, a friendly & relaxing ski resort in the Central Sierra Mountains just 21 miles further up scenic Highway 4. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling & sledding opportunities abound.

Summer is an enjoyable time for activities such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and swimming at Union & Utica Reservoirs, as well as Lake Alpine & White Pines Lake. The Chesa Madrisa offers the premium level membership at Big Trees Village Recreation Center, which includes complimentary swimming at the neighborhood outdoor pool Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Hiking is a fun activity no matter the time of year – just throw on some snow shoes in the winter!  Feel free to borrow the Golden Poppy Pass from the Chesa Madrisa to enjoy complimentary access for one car to Calaveras Big Trees State Park and marvel at the giant Sequoia trees.  Hikers should check out the nearby Arnold Rim Trail.

Year round the nearby town of Murphys is the perfect destination for guests who enjoy one of a kind shops, nice restaurants, and wine tasting. This historical mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills is now well known for excellent wineries and its charming Main Street lined with boutiques. Pack a picnic, or grab a sandwich from Aria or Alchemy in Murphys, and then head to the picnic tables by the creek and let the kids enjoy the playground. There’s even a bocce court! The 1st Saturday every October is the annual Calaveras Grape Stomp & the Annual Gold Rush Street Faire. In March, Murphys Irish Day features a parade and entertainment all along Main Street. 


Big Trees State Park - Giant Sequoias, Beaver Creek, Sour Grass Bridge

Bear Valley Ski Resort - downhill alpine skiing & expansive groomed cross-country skiing trails

Lake Alpine - summer water sports such as swimming, stand-up-paddle boarding, & kayaking

Murphys - Irish Day (March), Calaveras Grape Stomp & Street Faire (October), Day of the Dead (November)

Angels Camp - Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee (May), Mark Twain Wild West Fest (October)

Stanislaus River - fly fishing & rafting

Mercer Caverns - cave tours

Columbia State Historic Park - historic gold rush town

Union & Utica Reservoirs - canoeing & kayaking

White Pines Lake – summer swimming & playground next to town of Arnold 

Arnold Rim Trail – hiking & bicycling along unique trail system 

Sierra Nevada Logging Museum - history of logging industry in the Sierra Nevada

Big Trees Village Recreation Center – summer swimming pool

SWS Mountain Guides - guided mountain excursions near Bear Valley, including rope climbing


Chesa Madrisa offers a $50 non-refundable Rental Guardian Damage Protection policy which includes $1,500 of accidental damage coverage during your stay.  Any damages not covered are the responsibility of the guest.  Rental Guardian does not cover extra cleaning.  Guests are welcome to pay a fully refundable $1,000 deposit in lieu of this offering.


Want to squeeze in more fun during your vacation? Guest may purchase flex-check-in or flex-check-out. Subject to availability within 72 hours prior to check in or check out dates. Complimentary 1 hour early check-in & late check-out available upon request - subject to availability within 24 hours.

$100 Flexible check-in anytime after 10am day of arrival

$100 Flexible check-out anytime before 5pm day of departure 


Dogs are welcome with advanced permission & fee.

The Chesa Madrisa has an exterior Nest video camera & Nest Hello doorbell, both of which record exterior video & audio. There are NO interior cameras & the privacy of all guests is well respected.

Email inquiries are automatically added to quarterly newsletter & may unsubscribe at any time.

The Chesa Madrisa is a NO SMOKING property, both inside & out due to wild fire danger.

The Chesa Madrisa comfortably sleeps a maximum of 6 adults and 4 children.

Weekly curbside trash pickup & curbside recycling every 2 weeks.

The Chesa Madrisa is equipped with a generator in case of power loss during winter storm.


Currently a beloved family vacation home, and not a generic investment rental property, the Chesa Madrisa is managed by the original owner’s granddaughter, Hillary Gibson, a resident of Oregon.  Hillary’s grandparents, Lawrence & Luana Wilsey, built this home in 2001. The original Chesa Madrisa was built by the Wilsey family in 1973 in Snowmass, Colorado.  It was the first home on its road, overlooking a stunning landscape of aspen forest, the Rocky Mountains and a 180° view of the Continental Divide. The home’s design was inspired by Swiss ski chalets that the Wilseys had grown fond of during their travels. The name “Chesa” means home, and “Madrisa” was the Wilseys’ favorite ski run in Switzerland, from Klosters to Davos. The Snowmass Chesa Madrisa was regrettably sold in the 1980s when the Wilseys moved to California.

After a long and distinguished career, which included working for the Marshall Plan in Norway, for the State Department in the Philippines and Washington DC, and for businesses, banks, hospitals and educational institutions around the world, in 2001 the Wilseys built the second Chesa Madrisa in Big Trees, California, modeled on the first Snowmass Chesa Madrisa. In fact, the same Soleri bell that hung by the entry of the Snowmass home currently adorns the entry of the Big Trees home. Be sure to ring this bell upon initial entry - it’s a tradition! Also, be sure to admire the vintage wooden Norwegian skis hanging in the stairway that were retired by the original owner decades ago after amazing runs in Norway, Switzerland, and Colorado.  The antique Swiss bell (beatfop) in the kitchen also hung in the same place in Colorado.

The Wilsey family has deep roots in the Sierra Nevada region. The original owner’s father was a leader in the logging industry in nearby White Pines, Big Trees, and Angel’s Camp, and the town of Wilseyville, also up in the Sierras, was named after the original owner’s father. The original owner worked in the area during summer breaks from high school and college. The Chesa Madrisa is currently owned by the original owner's daughter & managed by the original owner's grand-daughter - a true family home.

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