by Anastasia Melnick
If you are yearning for a camping adventure, but you are not up to sleeping on the ground, rustic log cabins provide a perfect compromise. It is a getaway that provides the experience of “roughing it” while having the comfort of being indoors. Rustic cabins (aka camping cabins) have primitive features that can range from no electricity or plumbing, to having residents bring their own bedding. You can enjoy these trips in many state parks and forests throughout the Northwest. Featured below are five ideal locations for the rustic cabin experience.
LaPine State Park, LaPine, OR
Near the city of Bend, LaPine State Park is located in a subalpine forest along the Deschutes River. The river and the surrounding area allow visitors to partake in many fun activities: mountain biking, fishing, hiking, boating, picnicking and swimming. The cabin area is connected by trails to the rest of the park, making it easy to explore the area. This scenic campground is right by famous Central Oregon landmarks, including the Lava River Cave and the Newberry Crater.
The LaPine State Park campground is home to 10 cabins, some basic and some deluxe; each can accommodate up to eight people. These log cabins have light and heat, along with a picnic table and fire ring located outside. The cabins do not have indoor plumbing, but there are restrooms and showers at the campground. Guests will need to bring their own bedding, dishes, and cooking utensils.
Chugach State Park, Anchorage, AK
With nearly 500,000 acres, Chugach State Park is one of the largest state parks in the United States. The park is known as an ecologically diverse region; it contains an ocean shoreline, lakes, glaciers and ice fields.
There are seven cabins for public use. The Bird Creek campground contains two of the cabins, while Eklutna Lake contains the other five. These cabins can accommodate up to eight or twelve people, depending on the specific cabin. Although there are beds, they do not come with mattresses. The cabins do not come with electricity or indoor plumbing. But outhouses are provided and drinking water is available nearby. Being right by Bird Creek, the campground provides outdoor experiences including hiking, climbing and biking. It is also a popular destination for wildlife viewing. Along with traditional outdoor activities, the Eklutna Lake campground offers experiences such as horseback riding, boating and ATV riding. Chugach State Park is known for being an ideal fishing location. In the summer, you are able to view and catch Coho salmon at Bird Creek. And in the Spring, Dolly Varden trout can be found at Eklutna Lake.
To plan a stay at Chugach State Park, visit dnr.alaska. gov/parks/aspunits/chugach/chugachindex.htm. Find information about Anchorage and the Chugach State Park region at anchorage.net.
Custer Gallatin National Forest, (Yellowstone District), Park County, MT
The Custer Gallatin National Forest is more than 3 million acres and is known as one of the most ecologically diverse locations in the region. It is composed of multiple ranger districts, with many of them offering rustic cabins. They were built in the early 20th century and, therefore, have an-old time feel. Only some of the cabins have electricity, and none of them have indoor plumbing.
The Yellowstone Ranger District has ten cabins for rent, each with their own characteristics. Some of the cabins can fit up to four or five people, while others can fit up to eleven. The different locations within the district provide unique experiences. You can stay near nature trails or by a river. Some of the cabins come with corrals and pastures, so you can ride on horseback. You can enjoy activities such as river and stream fishing, day hiking, nature viewing, picnicking and more.
Cama Beach Historical State Park, Camano Island, WA
On Camano Island, which is just a short trip north of Seattle, is the Cama Beach Historical State Park. Cama Beach is set in a breathtaking waterfront and forest location. The park is home to cabins that are right at the shoreline. Each of these cabins can fit up to four people, and contain a living space, kitchen area, and one bedroom. There are also second-row cabins that can accommodate up to six people. The amenities include electric heat and light, a refrigerator, a microwave and a sink. The campground contains a bathhouse, with restrooms and showers, directly near the cabins. Guests would need to bring their own bedding, pillows, towels, cookware, dishes and utensils.
Cama Beach State Park retains a historic feel from its heyday in the early-mid 20th century. You are able to enjoy a plethora of activities: crabbing, fishing, diving, swimming, bird watching and biking, just to name a few. The park contains over 15 miles of hiking trails for exploring the area. Cama Beach also has row, sail and motor boats that can be rented to guests. Near the cabins, there is a campfire circle where the guests can socialize.
Three Island Crossing State Park, Glenns Ferry, ID
Just two miles off Interstate 84 at the Glenns Ferry exit, there lies one of the most famous river crossings on the historic Oregon Trail: Three Island Crossing. It is located on the Snake River and is known for the Oregon Trail History and Education Center. Here, visitors can learn about early pioneers and Native American history. The displays tell different stories through audio. There are also hands-on exhibits, including basket-weaving and primitive trap setting.
Beyond the education center, the park has scenic trails for hiking or cycling. And it is the perfect location to go bird watching. The park has eight cabins for rent, with six of them being available year-round. They are one-room cabins that fit up to five people on bunk beds and futons. Guests will have to bring their own bedding, since only a mattress is provided. The other amenities inside each cabin include a small table, two benches, and a heater-air conditioning unit. There is electricity, which consists of indoor and outdoor lighting, plus an electrical outlet. The campground has central showers and restroom facilities. All of the cooking must take place outside. There is a grill-covered fire pit in the cabin area; guests need to prepare for that by bringing the proper resources.
To learn more about the cabins at Three Island Crossing, visit parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/three-island-crossing/cabins. Head to visitidaho.org/regions/southwest for more information about the region.