The Inland Northwest has a wide range of options to cure “cabin fever.”
Solitude and vacancies are more likely midweek. Here’s a sampling.
What: Simple unplumbed, wood-heated cabins rustic but comfortably equipped with kitchen gear, firewood, propane cooking stoves and lamps, sleeping bunks or pads for 8-10 people.
Where: Near Winthrop on Methow Valley Sport Trails Association groomed ski-trail system.
Details: Ski 5 to 9 miles on a groomed trail system into one of five huts with options ranging from skate-skiing to snowshoeing and backcountry telemarking. Great views of peaks above and valley below. Snowmobile shuttle service available to carry in food and gear for extra fee. Haul in water or melt snow. Outhouses. Used by mountain bikers during summer. Note: Dogs are allowed at several of the huts.
Cost: Price packages range from as little as $25 per person to $175 a night for exclusive hut use; cheaper midweek.
Contact: Rendezvous Outfitters in Winthrop, Wash., 98862; telephone (800) 422-3048; rendezvoushuts.com/
Snow Peak Cabin
What: Rustic log cabin sparsely equipped with bunks, wood-heating stove, Coleman cooking stove and pots. Sleeps about six.
Where: Colville National Forest on Kettle Crest south of Sherman Pass.
Details: Popular with snowshoers and especially backcountry skiers, who don packs and skins and ski in six miles from Sherman Pass. A wilderness-like experience. Melt snow for water. Outhouse. Visitors should be familiar with travel in avalanche terrain and come equipped with transceivers and shovels. Used by hikers and equestrians during summer.
Reservations: Required. Book through Reserve America, (877) 444-6777; www.recreation.gov/ up to six months in advance of arrival and at least one day prior to arrival.
Cost: $30 a night for up to six people, plus $10 reservation transaction fee.
Contact: Eric McQuay, Republic Ranger District, (509) 775-7435.
Contact: Republic Ranger District, (509) 775-7400.
What: Primitive Canadian forestry cabin with wood stove, table and bunks.
Where: In British Columbia near Stagleap Provincial Park off Highway 3 at Salmo-Creston Pass.
Details: Ski or snowshoe backpacking style about two miles from Salmo-Creston Pass (elev. 5,854 feet) to rustic cabin. Sleeps six comfortably; up to 10 in a pinch. Two outhouses. Area open to motorized vehicles in summer, but limited to non-motorized use in winter.
Reservations: First-come, first-served. Be prepared for others to be there when the snow is good, especially on weekends.
Contact: B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Arts in Castlegar, (250) 365-8600.
Wing Ridge tent shelters
What: Large wall tents with wooden floors, bunks for 12 people, wood stoves, firewood, white gas lanterns, propane cook stoves, cooking utensils, and deluxe sleeping pads.
Where: At high elevation (7,220 feet) on edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa National Forest near Joseph, Ore.
Details: Popular with backcountry skiers and snowshoers who trek in about two miles backpack style to backcountry comfort, complete with a wood-fired sauna. Bring your own food; option to pay for backcountry guides. Avalanche gear required. Latrine.
Cost: Start at $50 per person a night with options for guided groups.
Contact: Wing Ridge Tours, (800) 646-9050; www.wingski.com/
Caribou Mountain Lodge
What: Luxurious two-story lodge, with solar electrical power, easily accommodates 10 people.
Where: High in the Selkirk Mountains 10 miles north of Sandpoint.
Details: Meet at trailhead, drop off food and gear for operators to shuttle in by snowmobile, then ski or snowshoe up seven miles to lodge in scenic setting with great access to powder slopes and Selkirk Crest. Lodge is for self-guided groups. Travel into high country beyond lodge requires backcountry experience and avalanche gear. Lodge has bedding, towels, sauna.
Cost: $900 for three days, $100 additional days.
Contact: Caribou Mountain Lodge in Sandpoint, (208) 255-2333; e-mail email@example.com; cariboumountainlodge.com
Bull River Guard Station
What: Historic Forest Service cabin built in 1907 but modernized with electric stove and oven and heater; sleeps eight in three double beds and two single beds. No running water.
Where: North of Noxon on East Fork Bull River, Kootenai National Forest.
Details: Winter visitors normally would have to ski or snowshoe a half a mile or less from the county road, but vehicle access sometimes possible. No utensils. No water available. Outhouse. Skiers and snowshoers tend to head up trail into Moran Basin.
Cost: $55 a night for entire cabin.
Reservations: Required. (877) 444-6777; www.recreation.gov/
Contact: Cabinet Ranger District in Trout Creek, Mont., (406) 827-3533.
West Fork Cabin
What: Bare-bones wood cabin with bunk platforms, wood stove.
Where: Selkirk Mountains northwest of Bonners Ferry.
Details: Rebuilt in 1999, has had periodic issues with vandalism and unsavory visitors. Cabin, which is about three miles in from the end of plowing on Smith Creek Road, is available to snowmobilers as well as non-motorized travelers.
Reservations: First come, first served.
Contact: Bonners Ferry Ranger District, (208) 267-5561.
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