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Spotlight: Alaska’s Recreation Cabins

Spotlight: Alaska’s Recreation Cabins

Alaska, Cabins Salmon Lake Cabin in the Tongass National Forest (USFS)
"I’ve seen when you’ve been the best friend that I had,
Your light like a gem on the snow;
You’re sort of a part of me—Gee! but I’m sad;
I hate, little cabin, to go."
-- Robert Service in Good-Bye Little Cabin

What You’ll Find

Rustic charm and beauty! More than 180 public-use recreation cabins are scattered throughout the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska and the Chugach National Forest in south central Alaska. Alaska cabins are small to mid-sized, with an outhouse nearby. Most cabins have wood or oil stoves for heat, a table and benches, as well as bunk space for two to 15 people. Some are wheelchair accessible. Many are located near lakes or streams, or along the coast, but there is no piped running water at the cabins. To see some of the cabins, download A Photo Sampler of Forest Service Recreation Cabins in Alaska.

Getting There

Alaska cabins may be accessed by starting from a nearby city. Reach towns in southeast Alaska by water or air to start your Tongass National Forest cabin adventure. Access to the Chugach National Forest cabins usually starts by getting to Anchorage or a few larger towns by air or road (and from the lower 48 states, we’re talking about a long, long road trip). From there you’ll need to hike, fly on a small plane, or take a boat to most cabin sites.

Make Sure You

Start early, prepare well and expect to have a great time!

Taking a trip to an Alaskan cabin will take some logistical planning. Start by watching the video "Forest Service Rental Cabins in Alaska."



Carefully read the Recreation.gov description of the cabin and cabin site, its amenities and the list of recommended supplies and equipment. Cabins provide a primitive, yet authentic Alaska experience, but a few days without the basic necessities can be uncomfortable, at best.

Reserve the cabin early. Keep in mind that some cabins are in very high demand but you can book them up to six months in advance.

If you have additional questions, contact the Supervisor’s Offices for the Chugach or the Tongass National Forest.

Try This

Pack your camera – it doesn’t get much better than the dramatic landscapes of Alaska!

If you like fishing, choose a cabin near water, check local fishing regulations and pack your fishing pole. Some cabins even come with a boat.

Is hiking your thing? Bring a pair of sturdy hiking boots and be prepared for extraordinary scenery and wildlife. The variety of plant communities range from temperate rainforests to alpine regions, which are also home to bear, deer, bald eagles, mink, otter, and more watchable wildlife!

Don’t Forget

Black and brown bears frequent most of Alaska. Visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website to learn about living near bears and other wildlife that might be in the vicinity of the cabin you visit. Rain, snow, wind and cool to cold temperatures are very common, so pack appropriate clothing. In the summer, mosquito repellent is a must in most areas of Alaska.

Get Started!

Book your Alaska cabin on Recreation.gov! Search for lodging in Alaska and then select “cabins.”