Photo courtesy of Elk Meadow Cabins
Elk Meadow Cabins
Elk Meadow Cabins offers a peaceful immersion within Redwood National Park, complete with near-daily sightings of local Roosevelt elk throughout the meadowy grounds. Guests have direct access to park trails that lead to the world's tallest trees, and a nature guide is available for customized educational treks. The setting is the star here, but the cabins, former housing for sawmill workers, are the perfect complement, with log or wood-siding facades and an understated Americana aesthetic—think cozy quilts and western-patterned rugs. In 2015, the property added a seventh cabin with two bedrooms and one bathroom, while the others have three bedrooms and two bathrooms each. All offer full kitchens, laundry facilities, and satellite TVs. The richest experiences are found outside, though, whether that means mountain biking to North Coast beaches, hiking amid old-growth sequoias, or strolling through Fern Canyon, a filming location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, draped in several species of ferns and mosses (the access road is only 100 yards from the property). Those needing a break from adventure can retire to the back porch and fire up the grill—every cabin has both.
Exploring the Redwoods in Northern California
The redwood groves of Northern California seem to exist in a magical dimension on the outskirts of time. The Elk Meadow Cabins in Orick are six renovated loggers' homes inside the boundaries of the park. I stayed in the Johnny Redwood Cabin with six of my closest friends. We took turns cooking for each other in the fully equipped kitchen, watched the wild deer grazing in the meadows from our deck, and soaked in the onsite jacuzzi. In addition to exploring the trails that wind through the massive sequoia groves, you can spend time combing the driftwood and the tide pools of the wild Pacific Coast, marvel at the colorful Victorian architecture in Arcata, and stop by the Cypress Grove cheese factory to sample such delicacies as Humboldt Fog, Truffle Tremor, and Purple Haze.