5 Northern California Cabins for a Perfect Weekend in the Mountains
Go for the views, stay for the goats
There’s no more classic California weekend than one spent in the upper loft of an A-frame cabin in the Sierras. Here, our picks for five lovely little spots in the mountains — there’s something for just about everyone, whether you’re looking for easy access to a bevy of national parks (from Yosemite to Lassen), hiking trails galore, a taste of the farm life or exceptional dining in an unlikely place.
Big Oak Flat
Think you could live off the grid? Why not try your luck with a weekend at the Wondernut Farm? This working farm will give you easy access to hiking, rock climbing and whitewater rafting — but the “working farm” part is key: Dogs are barking, “hammers are hammering” and sometimes, animals are experiencing a variety of different life stages. And being off the grid means rustic living: There’s a shared kitchen, living space and showers. There’s a composting toilet and limited electricity and water. But you may get the chance to snuggle with baby goats or sheep, and that’s not going to happen at most any other cabin.
Make your way to Fresno, then head up into the Sierras: That’s where you’ll find Shaver Lake (pop. roughly 600) and this tidy little A-frame. It’s gorgeous on the outside. It’s modern and clean and well-designed on the inside. Even the chairs around the fire pit look cool. And its compact frame belies the fact that you can sleep five here, with plenty of room to spread out on the wood-plank deck. If relaxing isn’t your primary concern, there’s boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, sledding, snowmobiling and whatever else you’re not doing back home.
Do you paddle board? Here’s your chance. This log cabin near Bass Lake and Yosemite includes two stand-up paddle boards, plus a few decorative paddles to remind you that you’ll have access to some paddle boards. This cozy two-bedroom sleeps four and also has a fireplace and a treetop deck. Treetop deck! Also, this place is close to lots of natural wonderlands (Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park, etc.) — but for our money, the proximity to Château Du Sureau is key. You won’t need to book a room at this Relais & Chateaux property (read: pricey), but do pay a visit to its onsite restaurant, The Elderberry House, which is probably the best dining for 100 miles in any direction.
You’ll only be 20 minutes from the main entrance at Lassen Volcanic National Park at this well-equipped cabin, meaning that the “steaming fumaroles and numerous volcanoes” (per the park’s own rather self-satisfied description) are within easy access. If you’re here more to relax than to explore, you’re in equally good shape, with hiking trails out the door, a brook in the back and a magazine-ready kitchen all your own.
This sleeps-8 cabin is essentially on Yosemite’s doorstep — it’s eight miles to the entrance — while offering basically everything you could want from a roomy log cabin in the Sierras: no fewer than five acres all your own, three queen beds, two wood-burning stoves, a front deck, a back patio and a greenhouse. There’s a hot tub for après-hike, and the village of Mariposa is 15 minutes away when it’s time to restock.
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