Rooms with a View
Southern Arizona's National Forest Rental Cabins
Have you ever dreamed of staying in a rustic cabin with views of Southern Arizona’s diverse landscapes? The state has 19 historic U.S. Forest Service cabins available for overnight rentals, and whether it’s primitive or modern accommodations, there are options for every traveler.
From the desert to the woods, Arizona’s Rooms With a View cabin rental program offers unique lodging in five of the state’s national forests, with a range of amenities. Some cabins are equipped with modern comforts like bathtubs and coffee makers, while others have pit toilets and outdoor showers. All cabins are accessible via a lockbox, and many sit behind driveways with secure gates, offering an extra level of privacy.
Beds with mattresses are provided, along with cooking supplies like pots, pans and dishes, but guests must bring all linens, including sheets, towels and pillows. Previous renters will often leave first aid kits, paper towels, toilet paper and dish soap, but this is never guaranteed, so guests should pack cleaning supplies as well. It’s wise to bring extra drinking water, matches and a flashlight in case of emergencies, as most cabins are off dirt roads in remote areas without cell signal. Guests are also responsible for cleaning up after their stay, and this includes packing out their trash. All cabins are booked via recreation.gov on a six-month rolling reservation system, but they rarely sell out, and many can be reserved with just a few weeks’ notice.
Coronado National Forest
Half moon ranch
Tucked between the trees and the Dragoon Mountains, Half Moon Ranch is surrounded by stunning scenery.
Half Moon Ranch is located on the east side of the Cochise Stronghold, at the base of the Dragoon Mountains. In addition to horseback riding and hiking, the area is home to dozens of rock climbing routes suitable for both beginners and advanced climbers. The seven-room ranch house has electricity, heat, a full kitchen, a dining room and two full bathrooms. One bedroom has a queen bed, while the second has a twin and a double bed, and there are two double futons in the living room. Guests also have access to a camp table, patio chairs, a grill and a fire pit in the backyard, and the parking area can accommodate several vehicles. Guests are asked to take extra precautions with food storage, as rodents have been reported in and around the property. Though Half Moon Ranch sits behind a locked gate, dispersed camping is allowed on the road behind the property, so you may hear your neighbors from time to time. The ranch house is available year-round for $150 per night, and it can accommodate up to ten guests and six horses.
The spacious interior of the Half Moon Ranch, which has three beds, a pair of futons and two bathrooms.
The Shaw House is located a mile and a half south of Half Moon Ranch on Ironwood Road, and it also offers a great space for larger groups. The house has electricity, heat, three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a living room with two futons, a full kitchen and a dining room. The cabin also has a screened-in porch and a grill. The Shaw House is available year-round for $150 per night, and it can accommodate up to ten guests.
Not only is the Portal Bunkhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it is recognized as one of the best remaining examples of river cobble masonry from the 1930s.
The Portal Bunkhouse was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), just steps from Cave Creek on the eastern side of the Chiricahua Mountains. Cave Creek Canyon has nearly a dozen hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous, along with several campgrounds. The bunkhouse has electricity, heat, a full bathroom and a full kitchen packed with modern appliances, and guests have access to a table and grill outside. The bedroom has a double bed and a twin-over-double bunk bed. While the bunkhouse is in an idyllic setting, it is located along Portal Road right next to the visitor center, so it doesn’t offer the same kind of privacy as other cabins on this list. The bunkhouse is available year-round for $100 per night, and it can accommodate up to four guests.
A peek inside the Portal Bunkhouse, which is a typical setup for a U.S. Forest Service rental cabin.
portal ccc house
Located just a few hundred feet down the road from the Portal Bunkhouse, the Portal CCC House has electricity, heat, a full kitchen, a dining area, a full bathroom, plus a second bedroom. The Portal CCC House is available year-round for $125 per night, and it can accommodate up to five guests.
kent springs cabin
Cozy up in the Kent Springs Cabin, which has electricity, heat and a fireplace.
The Kent Springs Cabin is located in scenic Madera Canyon, just 43 miles south of Tucson. Long considered a haven for birders, the canyon provides access to a number of trails, ranging from flat nature walks to the 9,456-foot summit of Mount Wrightson. The cabin was built in the 1950s, and after being purchased by the U.S. Forest Service in 1970, it was renovated by Friends of Madera Canyon in the 1990s. The house has electricity, heat, a full kitchen, a full bathroom, a fireplace in the living room, plus a workspace with a gorgeous view of the woods. In addition to a queen bed, a twin-over-double bunk and a rollaway bed, the back room has a futon. The expansive back deck is perfect for lounging, and there is also a grill and fire pit in the backyard. The cabin is available year-round for $150 per night, and it can accommodate up to eight guests.
The Kent Springs Cabin also features a workspace with 180-degree views of the forest.
kentucky camp cabin
The Kentucky Camp Cabin has electricity and propane heat, but no running water indoors. The kitchenette has a small refrigerator, a microwave and a hot plate, and the sink, showers and pit toilet are located outside. In addition to two twin beds and a twin bunk, there is a futon in the living room. The Kentucky Camp Cabin is available year-round for $75 per night, and it can accommodate up to five guests.
palisades ranger residence cabin
The Palisades Ranger Residence Cabin sits in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just 20 miles northeast of Tucson. The cabin has electricity, a propane heater, a full bathroom, a full kitchen and a dining room. The bedroom has a twin-over-double bunk bed, plus a futon in the living room. The Palisades Ranger Residence Cabin is available year-round for $125 per night, and it can accommodate up to four guests.
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