Cabins are all about relaxing, reconnecting, and repairing the soul. Here are the most extraordinary cabins around the West that will keep you coming back, time and again.
Sierra National Forest, CA
Far Meadow, Sierra National Forest, CA
Yosemite may be only 12 miles away, but Far Meadow's Base Camp, in some ways, trumps the iconic park. No valley floor swarmed with bus tours or crowded cafeterias--just you, your friends, and family tucked into a 750-square-foot pine cabin, with 5 glorious High Sierra acres all to yourselves. The Base Camp cabin--undamaged by the 2013 Rim Fire, which actually stopped 100 miles north--was remodeled in 2013, with the addition of a second bedroom and French doors that open onto the deck. In autumn, you'll find the kind of Technicolor fall foliage that'll make you think you've landed in New England. A bit farther east, above Bass Lake (and the snow line), Far Meadow maintains five additional properties in the Sierra National Forest: a new A-frame was added this season alongside a log cabin, two outfitted trailers, and another A-frame. From late May to November, you can swim, fish, and hike your heart out. After that, these five solar-powered accommodations remain open, but getting there gets more complicated. In winter, after the road closes, they're accessible only by snowmobile or snowcat, and guides will take only the adventurous in--to cross-country ski, snowshoe, make snow angels--with a friendly reminder to stay safe. As manager Kris Roni puts it, "This is the High Sierra, and we are, always, at the whims of nature."
Best time to go: November if you're adventurous, or June for the Sierra's sunny, clear-sky days.
3-night min.; far-meadow.com.
Crested Butte, CO
Pioneer Guest Cabins, Crested Butte, CO
Why it's cozy: Buckets of chopped wood, riverside hammocks, and kitchenettes.
What's out the door: Hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing along creeks and through meadows ringed by Douglas fir.
Who will love it: Outdoorsy types who prefer fall leaves and fresh snow to Frette sheets.
8 two- and three-bedroom cabins; pioneerguestcabins.com.
Top ski towns in the West
Camano Island, WA
Cama Beach State Park, Camano Island, WA
Why it's cozy: Because you can hear the lapping of Puget Sound as you fall asleep; handmade quilts; cedar walls and ceilings.
What's out the door: The sand and wooded trails of one of Washington's prettiest state parks.
Who will love it: Families, couples who kind of want to camp--but not really, and those happy to bring their own linens and use communal bathrooms in exchange for closeness to the sand.
32 cabins (sleep 2-8); parks.wa.gov.
Big Sur, Big Sur, CA
Glen Oaks Big Sur, Big Sur, CA
Let the luxury hotels on Big Sur's dramatic coast have all the glory--in-the-know Highway 1 travelers would rather keep Glen Oaks all to themselves. The main lodge has 16 rooms, but it's the eight renovated cabins and two cottages along the burbling Big Sur River that are the most coveted. None more so than the Big Sur Cabin, with its private patio, outdoor firepit, and twin side-by-side clawfoot tubs, set up for soaking under the stars. (In fact, according to Glen Oaks's manager, they've already poached a few guests from the high-end Ventana and Post Ranch Inn who've realized they can spa and sup there--but save a load by bunking at Glen Oaks instead.) What this 1957 motor lodge turned eco-mod retreat lacks in sparkling ocean views, it makes up for with the kind of rare, woodsy quiet that comes only from snuggling under a Pendleton wool blanket by the crackling fire, beneath ancient, soaring redwood trees. (That includes the 500-year-old, 12-foot-wide, 100-plus-foot-tall Grandmother Pfeiffer Redwood, the second-largest in all of Big Sur.) The cabins' radiant-heat floors, cast-iron stoves, and ready-to-go s'mores make it a little too easy to hunker down instead of hike. The Big Sur Roadhouse restaurant is just steps away too, which means you can dine on grass-fed steak and stumble back to your bed instead of cooking in your (sparse albeit cute) kitchenette.
Best time to go: September and October, for Big Sur's sunniest, warmest weather.
Briar Patch Inn, Sedona, AZ
Why it's cozy: Wood-burning fireplaces, open-air massages, decks overlooking fields of grazing sheep, violin players serenading you over summer pancakes at breakfast.
What's out the door: Creeks for dipping, softly lit paths for après-supper strolling, and Sedona's famed red rock canyons just beyond.
Who will love it: Couples seeking affordable romance.
19 one-, two-, and four-bedroom cabins; briarpatchinn.com.
Point No Point Resort, Shirley, B.C.
It exists: that private waterfront cabin with front-row views of the crashing Pacific, crackling fireplaces, and nary another tourist in sight--for less than $200 a night. So why haven't you heard much about Point No Point before? Perhaps because it's on Vancouver Island and Canadians have somehow learned to keep these sorts of special places a secret. The decidedly un-resort escape is the best of both worlds--seemingly on the edge of civilization and yet still accessible, just 40 miles west of Victoria. Point No Point's 25 simple log cabins were built on a cliff, some in the 1950s, but there have been gradual improvements over the decades, such as new two-person showers and, most recently, a hot tub on almost every wooden deck. Shaker-style furniture, bright red Adirondack chairs, and warm cedar walls give the cabins a timeless feel, as does the winding country road, which you can follow from rugged beach to beach, back to your own empty stretch of sand, complete with a covered firepit to keep you warm. When it's time for dinner, you can continue up the path to the intimate on-site restaurant. One of Vancouver Island's best, it has walled-in windows so you can scan for otters, whales, and dolphins (binoculars are on every table) over locally caught salmon and seared scallops. It's the kind of place that fosters loyalty, says Sharon Soderberg, who's owned Point No Point with her husband, Stuart, for 32 years. "We've watched children grow up here," she says, "who now come back with their own."
Best time to go: July through September for sunbathing on the beach and your best chance of spotting humpback whales; you can see orcas and gray whales year-round.
More on Vancouver Island wilderness
Coast Cabins, Manzanita, OR
Why it's cozy: Heated floors, private outdoor hot tubs, feather beds, and BBQs that double as firepits.
What's out the door: The cutest small town on the Oregon Coast (that'd be Manzanita--sorry, Bandon!), a windswept beach, and killer sunsets. Cinematic Cannon Beach is 13 miles north.
Who will love it: Anyone who's tired of sky-high-priced hotels on the California coast.
6 cabins; coastcabins.com.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, MT
Why it's cozy: It's like a luxe log-cabin home of your own, with hot tubs on the deck, stone fireplaces, and leather seemingly everywhere.
What's out the door: Snowmobiling, ice-skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and moose, wolves, and elk--guided walking safaris are on the agenda.
Who will love it: Big families looking for an upscale reunion locale.
8 one- to five-bedroom cabins; theranchatrockcreek.com.
Fireside Resort, Wilson, WY
Why it's cozy: All the wintry musts--fireplaces, pillow-top mattresses, and decks big enough for snow gear--in a compact, eco-conscious package. The cabins' siding is reclaimed snow fencing from Interstate 80; the hardwood floors are made from Douglas fir deadwood; even the ceilings are recycled barn wood. The cabins are close together, but they're so well designed, with a glass doorway and high windows that let in lots of light, that your neighbors seem to disappear once you step inside. For extra privacy, they're angled to maximize views of the woodsy property. The resort supplies firewood and s'mores kits for use at the campfires.
What's out the door: Just 6 miles from Teton Village, the fluffy-powder-filled backcountry surrounds the cabins. When you're ready to reenter civilization, free ski shuttles run twice a day.
Who will love it: Style-conscious skiers.
23 cabins; firesidejacksonhole.com.
More favorite winter getaways
Redfish Lake Lodge, Stanley, ID
Why it's cozy: Classic log cabins with stone fireplaces, private decks with lake and creek views, and peace and quiet; none of the cabins have phones, TVs, or alarm clocks.
What's out the door: Swimming in the 5-mile-long namesake lake, hiking the 17.5-mile path that rings the lake, and lounging on its sandy beach.
Who will love it: Families.
11 one- to four-bedroom cabins; open from Memorial Day weekend through early October; redfishlake.com.
Ultima Thule Lodge, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK
Why it's cozy: Every cabin has king-size feather beds, leather armchairs, wrought-iron stoves, and panoramic views of the Chitina River and surrounding mountains. Meals are served in the lodge, nearby, with fresh ingredients taken from the on-site organic garden and salmon and wild game caught locally. There's an on-site cedar sauna, as well.
What's out the door: Accessible only by small plane, Utlima Thule Lodge's cabins sit 100 miles from the nearest road, immersed in the jagged peaks, emerald valleys, and glaciers of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. At night, you can bask in the glow of the Northern Lights.
Who will love it: Bucket-list adventurers aiming to check off the ultimate Alaska experience.
5 two-bedroom cabins; three-night minimum; ultimathulelodge.com.
More off-the-grid vacations
Abajo Haven Guest Cabins, Blanding, UT
Why it's cozy: Simple, solar-powered log cabins, with a king bed plus two twins for family QT. Outdoor cooking areas or preordered BBQ dinners.
What's out the door: Ancestral Puebloan archeology sites, thousands of miles of trails for hiking, horseback (BYO), and ATV (you can get one delivered to your front door), plus Mesa Verde National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument, an "International Dark Sky Park."
Who will love it: Adventurous souls and starstruck Europeans.
4 one-bedroom cabins; abajohaven.com.
More of our favorite cabins and lodges