Log Castle

Live well in the wilds at these five perfect perches

May 3, 2004
Outside Magazine

Cabins on Cayo Costa Island
$30 per night; 941-964-0375
www.floridastateparks.org/cayocosta/activities.asp. Reservations: 800-326-3521, www.reserveamerica.com

Location is Everything
Fantasy Island has nothing on 7.5-mile-long Cayo Costa State Park, a barrier island of mangrove swamps and white- sand beaches six miles off the coast near Fort Myers. Access is by private boat or daily ferry.
Gimme Shelter
Australian pines and sand are all that separate 12 primitive cabins from the Gulf of Mexico. The cabins have six bunks apiece, plus picnic tables inside and out. Drinking water, restrooms, and cold showers are provided.
Where to Play
Hike the island's six-mile trail network, rent a sea kayak from the ferry service for a day in the surf, or arrange tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass, north of the island, through the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association.

Crescent Moon Cabin
Arizona $200 per night; 928-443-8280
www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/other-rec/recreation_room_with_a_view/crescent.html. Reservations: 877-444-6777, www.reserveusa.com

Location is Everything
The red-rock country around Sedona is the backdrop for untold Hollywood westerns. Crescent Moon Cabin is five miles south of town; Oak Creek winds past, and the vermilion capstone of Cathedral Rock leans overhead.
Gimme Shelter
A cabin only to a Rockefeller, this 1936 sandstone-and-redwood ranch house sleeps ten, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, electricity, a grill, running water, and an enclosed porch.
Where to Play
Fish for smallmouth bass and trout in the sycamore-lined creek, then wander with your camera along the Templeton and Baldwin trails around the north end of Cathedral Rock, a three-mile round-trip.

Dale Clemens Memorial Cabin
$45 per night; 907-224-3374

www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach/cabin_web_page/seward_cabins/dale_clemens.html. Reservations: 877-444-6777, www.reserveusa.com

Location is Everything
At the end of a 4.5-mile hike from the Lost Lake trailhead on the Kenai Peninsula, the forest yields to this gem. From its 1,750-foot elevation amid the glaciated Chugach Range, the cabin overlooks Resurrection Bay.
Gimme Shelter
The plank cabin—on ten-foot stilts to keep it usable during the snowy winters—is outfitted with a propane stove, four bunks, a loft, and a deck that fronts a Heidi-esque scene of lupine and paintbrush in midsummer.
Where to Play
Wave a fly rod for Lost Lake's rainbows, or wander surrounding valleys in search of moose, bears, and ptarmigans. Or make this cabin the first stop on the Lost Lake traverse, a stunning 16-mile backpacking route.

Doublehead Cabin
New Hampshire
$20 per night; 603-447-5448


Location is Everything
A vigorous 1.8-mile hike up the Ski Trail through hardwoods and spruce-fir forest leads to this hideaway on North Doublehead Mountain's 3,053-foot summit in White Mountain National Forest.
Gimme Shelter
Built in the 1930s and renovated in 1993, this log cabin has eight bunks in four rooms and a common area with a woodstove. The doorway frames a view of 6,288-foot Mount Washington.
Where to Play
Hikes include a two-miler down to the col between North and South Doublehead via the Old Path, then a clamber up the New Trail to the top of 2,939-foot South Doublehead.

Fall Mountain Lookout
$25 per night; 541-575-2110


Location is Everything
This drive-to aerie atop 5,943-foot Fall Mountain in Malheur National Forest (a 150-mile drive east of Bend) looks out on the southwest flanks of the Strawberry Mountains.
Gimme Shelter
The wooden fire lookout, made in 1933, sits on 25-foot stilts. Climb a stairway to the single room, which has a futon bed, plus electricity that powers a fridge, stove, heater, and lights.
Where to Play
Stargaze or witness summer thunderstorms on Fall Mountain. Or drive a half-hour to the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness to hike 100-odd miles of trails or catch brook trout in High Lake.

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