Rustic fun: Peninsula cabins offer adventure, shelter for outings
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U.S. Forest Service
The Interrorem Cabin has propane heat, a cooking range, refrigerator and lights, but campers will travel back in time for water from the outdoor hand-pump well.
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U.S. Forest Service
Olympic National Forest’s four-room Louella Cabin cabin has a living room with a futon, two bedrooms and a kitchen with a table and chairs. The cabin also boasts a fully equipped kitchen, electricity, lights and a propane heater.
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U.S. Forest Service
The warm interior of the Hamma Hamma Cabin gives guests a base camp located near the Brothers Wilderness, Mount Skokomish Wilderness, Hood Canal and Olympic National Park.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

While some hardy souls may enjoy spring camping in tents or backpacking, others dream of curling up with a book under a thick quilt in front of a roaring fireplace in a cabin in the woods.

Washington State Parks and Olympic National Forest can make that dream come true with a cabin for $40 to $60 a night, much less than the average hotel room.

Often surrounded by old-growth forests, rhododendrons, salmon-stocked rivers and a plethora of trails, the cabins can be an ideal weekend getaway for your family, or a great way to reconnect with old friends.

Here are some options:

Rustic Ranger Bunkhouse, Dosewallips

The Rustic Ranger Bunkhouse in Dosewallips State Park is a ranch-style house located less than a quarter mile from the campground, with easy access to the forest and offering a less primitive cabin experience.

The house once served as a home for Dosewallips park rangers so they could have some privacy but also reach the campground quickly in case of an emergency, said Tracy Moos, a park aide.

“It's very good for privacy,” Moos said.

It is within walking distance to the Dosewallips Campground, 5,500 feet of Hood Canal beaches and 5,400 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Dosewallips River. Visitors can also hike the Steam Donkey Trail, which follows the path of a former logging railroad more than three miles into the forest above Dosewallips.

The bunkhouse can accommodate up to eight guests and has a fireplace, a full kitchen, three bedrooms and two baths.

Pets are not allowed in the bunkhouse.

The house also features a private backyard with a covered patio, picnic table and fire pit.

If the bunkhouse is not available, there are several small modern 5-person camp cabins available in the campground.

Reservations may be made year-round online at washington.goingtocamp.com or by phone at 888-226-7688.

State park cabins also can be reserved at www.recreation.gov.

National Forest retreats

Olympic National Forest's three area cabins are more rustic with fewer modern amenities.

There are three on the North Olympic Peninsula — historic buildings that can take visitors back to another era.

The National Forest Service provides the cabins with minimal services.

More information on Forest Service cabins, including directions, can be found at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-cabins.

Louella Cabin, Sequim

Olympic National Forest's Louella Cabin offers up to six visitors a turn-of-the-century retreat deep in the dense forest.

The Louella Guard Station was built in 1912 by Forest Service fireguard E. M. Cheney, who dedicated the structure to his wife, Louella.

Located near the Buckhorn Wilderness, there are multiple forest trails to explore.

The four-room cabin has a living room with a futon, two bedrooms and a kitchen with a table and chairs.

The cabin has a fully equipped kitchen, electricity, lights and a propane heater.

A fire ring and covered picnic table provide for outdoor cooking.

As modern as that may sound, the cabin is still very primitive.

Five miles from the nearest phone, the road to the cabin may require chains.

There is no water, bathroom facilities are in an outhouse and guests must pack out their own trash.

Pets and candles are not allowed.

To reserve Louella Cabin, or other National Forest cabins, phone 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov.

Interrorem Cabin

The Interrorem Cabin, located four miles east of Brinnon, was built in 1907 — the first administration office Olympic National Forest.

Ranger Emery J. Finch, Hoodsport pioneer, built the cabin for his new bride, Mabel, and the couple moved in to their new home in 1908.

From 1942 to 1986, the cabin was a fireguard station, and Forest Service volunteers used the cabin from 1986 until 1994.

The century-old peeled-log cabin has an open porch and cedar shake roof, and it boasts a furnished kitchen, living room with a futon and a bedroom with bunk beds.

It can house up to four guests. No pets are allowed.

Propane provides heat and power for a cooking range, refrigerator and lights.

Getting water will bring campers back a century or more as they head outside to an outdoor hand-pump well.

Beginning in mid-June, water is also available from a hand-pump well at Collins Campground, a mile west of the cabin.

Like Louella Cabin, bathroom facilities are in an outhouse.

Outside, a fire ring and picnic table are available for barbecue meals during nice weather or evening campfires for marshmallow roasts.

Hamma Hamma Cabin

The Hamma Hamma Cabin is a historic cabin with views of the Hamma Hamma River, old-growth Douglas firs, dogwoods and rhododendrons.

The structure was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places for the skill and craftsmanship that went into its construction and architecture.

The cabin was built as a guard station in 1937 by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

It was first used as an administrative site for Forest Service fire and trail crews.

Access to the cabin can be part of the adventure.

Normally, the cabin can be reached by car, but on snowy days, cross-country skis or snowshoes may provide the only access.

The cabin can house up to six guests, and it has a propane heater and lights, a furnished kitchen, a futon, and two bedrooms with bunk beds.

Guests must bring their own linens and pack out trash. Pets are not allowed.

Unlike the older National Forest cabins, it has a bathroom with a flush toilet but no potable water.

Guests should bring their own water for cooking, dishwashing and drinking.

Like the other cabins, it has a fire ring, pedestal barbecue grill and picnic table.

Hamma Hamma Cabin is located near The Brothers Wilderness, Mount Skokomish Wilderness, Hood Canal and Olympic National Park.

The cabin is situated near the Living Legacy Trail, an interpretive trail with historic information about the works of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

West of the cabin, Lena Lake Trail 810 provides an additional hiking opportunity.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 27. 2014 7:27PM
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