Wet, isolated, eerie, and breathtakingly gorgeous, the Olympic wilderness of the Pacific Northwest is unlike anywhere else in the world. A few hours' drive west from the concrete jungle of Seattle and the I-5 corridor, the rainforests, salmon-filled rivers, wilderness coasts, and glaciated peaks of the Olympic Peninsula sit patiently, awaiting your weekend adventure.
Bordering Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest is home to five of the region’s six wilderness areas. Featuring everything from towering mountains and high alpine lakes, to deeply forested trails and fern-filled gullies that look more at home in the Lord of the Rings, the wilderness of Olympic has everything you would ever desire in nature.
Offering over a thousand miles of trails around the most pristine wilderness in the lower 48, it's clear that one of the hardest parts about visiting the Olympic Peninsula is leaving at the end of the day. Luckily, you don’t have to. Instead, you can extend your stay by opting in for an unforgettable night or two at a remote Forest Service cabin in the heart of the Olympic wilderness.
With unique architecture and mesmerizing views, cabin life on the Olympic Peninsula is accessible and affordable, with four cabins open to reservations. Act fast though; these cabins get quite popular in the summer!
1. Louella Cabin
Complete with two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with a bunkbed, this place is an absolute steal at $60 a night. Rented out year round, this cabin can have a maximum of six people a night. Don’t expect luxury though. Built in 1912, this cabin has no running water and just a Port-a-potty located outside. Overlooking a pretty valley and stacked against a dense forest, the cabin is ideal for those looking for something a little more primitive, but still warm.
Before heading out, make are you check out the rules, amenities, and suggested gear; this is an old cabin and needs to be treated kindly. Keep in mind that the nearest phone is five miles away, and cell service is less than dependable. Sequim and Port Angeles are both a short drive away, letting you have both small town adventures and the solitude of wilderness all out your cabin door.
2. Interrorem Cabin
You probably haven’t heard of the Duckabush River, and it is even less likely that you have heard of the Interrorem Cabin . Yet, this charming, historic cabin is exactly the cabin in the woods that you have been dreaming about. Located a few miles upriver from the Hood Canal and just 2.5 hours from downtown Seattle, this is the perfect romantic getaway for you and your special someone.
Built in 1907, not a lot has changed for this one story, square cabin in the middle of the forest. With a wooden porch and cedar shake roof, you might think it can’t get any more rustic than this, but you’d be wrong. The cabin has no running water inside, but does have an outdoor hand pump to use just a few feet from the structure. It also has a kitchen furnished with a dining table and chairs, a living room with a futon couch/bed, a bedroom with twin bunk beds, and even a propane heater to keep you warm during the night.
The cabin is just $50 a night and can house up to four people.
3. Hamma Hamma Cabin
The Hamma Hamma Cabin is one of the most popular cabins in Olympic National Forest, and for good reason. Close to the always stunning Hamma Hamma River and a short jaunt away from some of the Olympic Peninsula’s best trails , the cabin should without question be added to your short list of vacation destinations.
Completed in 1937, the Hamma Hamma Cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can have it all to yourself. Costing just $60 a night, the cabin can sleep up to six in the two bedrooms and living room. The living room is unique, as it features a a hexagonal bay window overlooking the Hamma Hamma River drainage. The cabin’s two bedrooms are comfy, one with a double bed and one with bunkbeds. There is a kitchen with a table and chairs, as well as a bathroom with a flush toilet. The Hamma Hamma Cabin has propane lights and a propane heater, and even a cook range for those looking to make delicious meals. Be aware that there is not a refrigerator, but there are dishes, pots, silverware, and cooking utensils provided.
4. Lake Quinault Lodge
Probably the crown jewel of all the lodges on the Olympic Peninsula, the Lake Quinault Lodge is gorgeous, historic, and just feet from amazing hiking in the Quinault Rainforest . While technically not a small cabin, it is still a destination that needs to be explored. Built in 1926, in the heart of one of world’s most breathtaking rainforest regions, the Lake Quinault Lodge has hosted everyone from presidents to dirtbag hikers.
Staying at the Lake Quinault Lodge doesn’t come as cheap as the smaller cabins, ranging in price from $90-$160, but that should not deter you. With herds of elk all around, and magnificent views of the always impressive Lake Quinault right out your back door, the historic old lodge will captivate your heart and soul the minute you set your eyes on it. Three short hours from Seattle, the wooden logs of the lodge stand triumphantly against the mighty rainforest, creating the perfect combination of wilderness and rustic architecture. With daily adventures possible in every direction, the Lake Quinault Lodge has helped generations fall in love with the Quinault Region of the Olympic Peninsula.