Reader Participation Day: Where's Your Favorite National Park Cabin?

Are the cabins at the Tioga Pass Resort just outside Yosemite National Park among your favorite cabins in the park system? NPT file photo.

If I'm not sleeping in a tent in a national park, the next best place is a cabin, preferably a log cabin. And there certainly are lots of them, from the Colter Bay cabins at Grand Teton National Park to the tent cabins in Yosemite National Park. Which cabins are your favorites when it comes to visiting the national parks?

The Colter Bay cabins certainly are charming, while Yosemite's tent cabins might require a cultivated taste for some. I've been intrigued by the Roosevelt Fireplace Cottages in Olympic National Park, and enjoyed the rusticity of the Roughrider Cabins in Yellowstone National Park.

But those are just scraping the surface of the many options that exist out there. Since some parks are ringed by cabins just beyond their borders, for this week's survey let's also open it up to cabins and cottages that are within 5 miles of a park. That should toss into the mix the cottages near Acadia National Park, cabins that surround Great Smoky Mountains National Park, those at the Tioga Pass Resort outside Yosemite, and any others that attract national park visitors.

So, what say thee?

Comments

We loved staying at the Pioneer cabins at Grand Canyon North Rim.

Our favorite cabin would definitely have been the one we stayed in at Phantom Ranch, night of July 4th. 1988. If we get a second choice it would be at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. There was a huge pine tree that was right beside the cabin. It was so close that a notch had been cut in the eave of the cabin to accomodate it. We could hear the tree gently rubbing on the cabin during the night.

My favorite is a cabin at Bryce National Park. A caffeine-hungry mouse chewed through my backpack to enjoy some ground coffee.

I love the cabins at Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park. They are rustic and cozy, perfect for a weekend of exploring the park.

We had a good experience at the Ozark NSR Big Spring cabins. Very good deal. And although it was so hot, even at night, that it really wasn't much fun being outside, they had some nice screen porches that overlooked the woods. Very reasonable price-wise too (queen bed, A/C, fridge, microwave, couch, table all included that I can remember).

I don't know if this counts or not, but our favorite 'cabins' are the concrete units in the Virgin Islands National Park, Cinnamon Bay, St. Johns. We've been there 4 different times and will be there again in a couple of weeks. We can hardly wait. What a great place to camp only a few yards from the beach.

I love the cabins at Lake McDonald in Glacier NP. My husband and I stayed their for our honeymoon and have tried to go back every year since then. The backcountry ranger cabin up at Granite Chalet is not bad either.

Love cabins. My fondest memories were of staying in basic cabins around Lake Tahoe as a kid. Here's where I've stayed (that I can at least remember) at NPS sites:

Colter Bay - Grand Teton - duplex cabin.
Old Faithful - cabin w/o bath.
Yellowstone Canyon - quad (side-by-side) end unit.
Bryce Canyon Lodge - original Underwood-designed duplex.
Grand Canyon - Maswik Lodge - quad (all-corner) units.
Sequoia - Giant Forest Village - these cabins were razed in the 90s. I saw my first bear there.
Kings Canyon - Grant Grove Village - single w/o bath.

But my favorite? Probably a Roughrider Cabin at Roosevelt in Yellowstone. There was just something about a cabin where the only heat came from a smoky stove.

Now the one that sounds really intriguing is Sol Duc Resort at Olympic NP. They have various cabin units including ones with kitchens. However - what it comes with is that registered guests have use of the hot spring pools. I've actually used the hot spring pools by paying a day use fee.

My favorite cabin is a Pioneer cabin in Zion National Park. The flip a switch to make a fire was the best. Nice porch for sitting out and watching the shadow come down the face of the cliffs.

Maybe this doesn't count, but I sure loved the patrol cabins in Yellowstone. In the old days (and I hope it's still the case), a ranger could check out a key and take his wife or family to spend time in them if there was nothing else on the schedule. Wore a uniform to present a presence in the backcountry even though we were off duty.

And perhaps the best of the best is the cabin nestled at the base of those magnificent Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove at Yosemite. It's the same one spotted briefly in a couple clips in Ken Burns' National Parks.

These may not exactly qualify as cabins, but our favorite place to stay in Yosemite National Park is in the vacation homes in Yosemite West. Some of them are small and intimate, but others are large enough for a big family group. They are very close to Badger Pass Ski Resort so we can go crosscountry skiing when we visit in the Winter. We have enjoyed staying at Four Seasons Mountain Magic, Pine Arbor Retreat and one year we spent our 25th Anniversary at the Wonderland Complex with our entire family.

Artsdoer:
These may not exactly qualify as cabins, but our favorite place to stay in Yosemite National Park is in the vacation homes in Yosemite West. Some of them are small and intimate, but others are large enough for a big family group. They are very close to Badger Pass Ski Resort so we can go crosscountry skiing when we visit in the Winter. We have enjoyed staying at Four Seasons Mountain Magic, Pine Arbor Retreat and one year we spent our 25th Anniversary at the Wonderland Complex with our entire family.

For people who complain about the high prices and low availability of lodging inside Yosemite Valley, there's part of your answer. That's in addition to some rentals available in Foresta as well outside the park.

I've heard that some of the available rentals in Yosemite West are condo units that aren't all that expensive. Not bad especially considering they usually include kitchens.

The Low-Cost "Cabins" , forever lost , to that great flood of 1996-97 , provided access into Yosemite National Park to families for --FOR ABOUT $50 BUCKS A NIGHT !!

They were clean , warm , cozy , and most importantly accessible to regular folks and their kids from our National Park Concessionaire .

Suggesting that a handful of private cabins, ( such as Yosemite West) are some sort of substitute -- completely misses the point .

What is not lost however is the determination to see that NPS Managers address and correct this serious bias .

Sincerely ,

Lee McLaughlin
P.O. box 7589
Santa Cruz , Ca. 95061

Lee McLaughlin:
On December 25th, 2009
The Low-Cost "Cabins" , forever lost , to that great flood of 1996-97 , provided access into Yosemite National Park to families for --FOR ABOUT $50 BUCKS A NIGHT !!

They were clean , warm , cozy , and most importantly accessible to regular folks and their kids from our National Park Concessionaire .

Suggesting that a handful of private cabins, ( such as Yosemite West) are some sort of substitute -- completely misses the point .

What is not lost however is the determination to see that NPS Managers address and correct this serious bias .


I certainly don't care for the bias towards the most expensive lodging options in Yosemite Valley. I personally would be happy if the NPS approved either the reopening of previously closed campgrounds or the construction of new campgrounds in their place.

However - the price of everything has gone up. I wouldn't be surprised if the total demand for all lodging has gone up while supply had gone down. I doubt that $50/night cabin you refer to would have stayed that price even without the flood. In places I've stayed before, the price has gone up 12-20% in just 3 years. In addition, Yosemite Valley has a serious problem with overcrowding during the summer months as it is. Part of the increased demand probably comes from the ease/quickness of reserving via internet, when previously people would get flustered by calling the reservation operators at the same time and getting hit with busy circuits. I know when I tried to call the Wilderness Center to make or change my wilderness permit reservation, I'd sometimes have to try over and over agin until I got through. Or people who "knew the ropes" and had an advantage over others who tried for the first time but didn't have all the information; now all the information to make a reservation is available to anyone who has access to computer with internet access.

The fact is that Curry Village suffered a great loss of available units because of rockfall this year. With a certain amount of risk (and potential for lawsuits) I don't think those are coming back. Mr Tent/Cabin - meet Mr Granite. Apparently they don't get along with each other.

My point is that there are other options for a Yosemite visit other than just Yosemite Valley. There are vacation rentals in Yosemite West or Foresta. There are a variety of places along 140 including Yosemite Bug and the KOA. And of course Mariposa or Oakhurst. I personally haven't stayed indoors in Yosemite Valley for over 30 years. My folks claimed we stayed in a Camp Curry cabin when I was young but my recollection is fuzzy; all I remember was that we took the Valley Floor tram tour.

Terry--I've been trying to find out if these cabins are in good repair as I have a reservation in April, and on the phone the woman was really nice but said she never looks at the cabins. I'm an avid camper but didn't want to haul camping equipment on the plane. My main concern is if the screens are torn so that insects can get in, something I have experienced in other places in Mexico, even in hotels, or there are places where rats can get in. I've spoken to 2 people who hat rats in their tents at Maho bay, years ago, and also saw on tripadviser that folks in the canvas tents at Cinnamon had rats! So what was your general impression having been there about what I can expect in terms of the maintenance end of it. And also, did you use the restaurant and did you find the hours reliable, etc...? I'd appreciate any info. you'd like to share. It sound like a really wonderful place.....Jeanine