Kendrick Cabin perfectly reflects its former life as a seasonal fireguard station. It’s still open seasonally, from May through November, with limited amenities: a tiny kitchen and outdoor bathhouse, with no hot water (and no running water at all beginning in mid-October). But what the three-bedroom, stone-and-wood cabin lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in scenery, with long views of Kendrick Peak and the San Francisco Peaks. Don’t be surprised to hear elk bugle or catch a glimpse of a pronghorn. And at an elevation of 7,900 feet, you’ll be happy enough just to fire up the wood-burning stove in the cozy, wood-paneled living room and enjoy the peace and solitude.
Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-526-0866 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Kent Springs Cabin
The fireplace is charming, the dual living rooms are quirky, and the expansive deck overlooking Daniels Creek is impressive. But what makes this stone-and-wood cabin in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson memorable is the way it takes in the surrounding oak-and-juniper woodland — literally — with boulders and a juniper tree built right into the structure. Ben and Annie Daniels homesteaded the area around 1910. A former Rough Rider, Ben owned one of the dozen or so mines that operated in Madera Canyon in the early 1900s. He was elected Pima County sheriff in 1920. Annie served as the county’s school superintendent. The remains of their original cabin lie nearby. The current structure grew up around the landscape, beginning in the early 1950s. It expanded to include a bathroom, a porch, a dining room and an additional living room in the ’60s and ’70s. The Friends of Madera Canyon renovated the cabin in the 1990s. The tree was eventually cut, but the trunk remains.
Information: Nogales Ranger District, 520-281-2296 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado
Drawn to Arizona by the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, Frank Lloyd Wright created a provocative and inspiring design for Taliesin West, the great architect’s winter camp and desert laboratory. Immerse yourself at Scottsdale’s only National Historic Landmark as you are welcomed into each room and space to experience one of the world’s most extraordinary architectural sites.
Spring Valley Cabin and Bunkhouse
With a corral, plentiful parking and a plethora of twin beds, the Spring Valley Cabin and Bunkhouse are perfect for large groups and people with kids or horses. Views of Kendrick Peak and nearby trails lined with oaks, aspens, pines, firs and spruce create a fall backdrop for long walks or rides. The nearly 100-year-old cabin served as a residence for Forest Service rangers. For larger groups, add the bunkhouse, formerly the office, at a modest additional fee. The cabin is open year-round, but when snow closes the roads, you’ll need cross-country skis to make the last mile.
Information: Williams Ranger District, 928-635-5600 or www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
Portal Bunkhouse and Portal CCC House
Two of the Forest Service’s newest cabin rentals occupy prime real estate in Cave Creek Canyon, a premier birding destination and an area of uncommon beauty, with dramatic rhyolite cliffs rising high above a leafy canopy of oaks and sycamores. And while spring may be the most popular season for birders, fall’s reverse migration has its own rewards: beautiful fall foliage and fewer people, to name just two. Built in 1933 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Portal Bunkhouse is one of the few remaining structures from the Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was located here, and it’s one of the era’s finest examples of river-cobblestone masonry. The nearby CCC House first served as the camp’s garage, then as housing for a telephone operator and switchboard. Today’s guests include naturalists of all types who come to answer the call of the wild.
Information: Douglas Ranger District, 520-364-3468 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado