You rise early, roll out of your sleeping bag, grab your fishing pole, and stroll only a few yards to cast your line into a stream or lake all your own. The forest is fragrant and morning mist hovers over the water—but you are on a mission to catch fresh fish for breakfast from pristine waters. If you are up for a no-frills adventure in a rustic cabin in the wilds of Alaska, this dream can come true for a fraction of the cost of staying at a full-service fishing lodge. All you need to do is rent one of these remarkable public use cabins.
Many PUC’s offer an off-the-beaten-path solitude that’s missing from popular fishing holes on the road system. Often these cabins are situated on lakes or sloughs, where the cry of a loon might accompany the casting of your lure. Some of them even provide boats, or an easy chance to rent a canoe. It’s a best of all worlds deal—a private backcountry fishing expedition with the security and comfort of four solid walls and a heat source.
Just remember: Public use cabins near fishing are not lodges with services. Think of the experience as comfortable camping where you handle the logistics. You’ll be the guide—and the cook and firewood chopper. You usually sleep in sleeping bags with pads on a hard bench, and probably need to travel at least some distance off road.
- Read through the most recent fishing advice from Alaska Department of Fish & Game before you go so that you bring the correct tackle. For instance, some cabin locales feature Northern pike, others Dolly Varden char or rainbow trout. Some offer a shot at landing a salmon or a marine fish. Many lakes and streams are stocked, too—search the ADFG stocked lake database for the water body near your cabin.
- What if you find yourself in Alaska without the right gear for your PUC fishing adventure—or any tackle at all? No problem! If near Anchorage, call The Bait Shack for a gear package catered to the type of fishing and type of fish you’re after. You can take these rentals with you on all of your Alaska adventures. Just return them to Anchorage when you’re finished.
Public Use Cabins
Rhein Lake Cabin overlooks a large, pristine lake with great paddling and decent fishing for rainbow trout in the forest of Nancy Lake State Recreation Area near Willow. This handsome (brand-new in 2018) log cabin offers something special in a vast park known for its backcountry outposts
The cabin is located on the north shore of Engineer Lake. The cabin is south facing overlooking the lake surrounded by spruce and birch trees. Two bunk beds, table with benches, wood stove, broom, shovel, water bucket, fire extinguisher, established campfire ring, and outhouse.
Mile 8.6 Russian Lakes Trail. Rustic cabin with bunks for six and sleeping space for eight. Fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow trout in the nearby Russian River. Features counter space, table, benches, a wood stove, splitting maul and handsaw, and outhouse. Check Availability ...more
Mile 29.2 Resurrection Pass Trail. This cabin sits at the south end of Juneau Lake. A rustic cabin with counter space, a table, benches and a wood stove for heat. Sleeps eight with bunks for six. Other features include a splitting maul and saw, an outhouse — and a canoe with paddles for exploring the lake. Check Availability ...more
Mile 11.9 Russian Lakes Trail.Handsome 12×14 trapper’s style log cabin that overlooks the lake and a stunning view. With bunk space for six and sleeping for eight. (The Forest Service recommends space for 4, so expect close quarters.) Check Availability ...more
16-x-16 log cabin in an alpine valley nestled amid steep mountain slopes. Sleeps 6, with table, oil stove, and outhouse. Note: You must bring #1 stove oil if you want heat. One gallon lasts about one hour. Devil’s Creek Trail intersects here, a 10-mile descent to the Seward Highway trailhead. Devi’s Pass Lake is about one mile down the trail. Check Availability ...more
This cabin is situated along east shore of Juneau Lake. A rustic cabin with counter space, a table, benches and a wood stove for heat. Sleeps eight with bunks for six. Other features include a splitting maul and saw, an outhouse — and a canoe with paddles for exploring the lake.
Although it takes some getting to, this wilderness, lakeside public use cabin offers great sportfishing and a skiff to paddle around in. This new cabin is a 7 – 10 mile hike and four-mile paddle or skiff ride across Wrangell Narrows from downtown Petersburg. It sleeps six.
This is a very small enclosed CCC Adirondack shelter. It has a concrete floor, and a 1930s fireplace. 2 single wooden bunks, wood stove, table and benches, Cooking counter, broom, fireplace, axe and maul, wood, outhouse, skiff with oars. The cabin is in the central part of the island on the southern end of Hasselborg Lake at an elevation of 300ft (91 m).
Have you ever wanted to spend time in a trapper’s shack deep in the Alaska Bush? A place where you might see the outline of a loon’s head against slate water with Denali gleaming above the trees and no other movement? Nestled on a peninsula on a lake deep inside the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, Lynx Lake Cabin 1 is private, snug and cozy. An early-to-bed, early-to-rise retreat with a weathered, lived-in vibe.
These two almost identical cabins (only 200 feet apart) are aimed toward adventurers and families who want to include both paddling and hiking in their daily adventures. They offer direct access to two lakes as well as the park’s trail system. Though relatively close, each cabin is colored by a slightly different atmosphere. Lynx 2’s porch faces the sunset, with good afternoon sun and a view of Lynx Lake. It feels open, more exposed. Lynx 3 ...more
Centered on a park-like island with winding trails through the brush, Red Shirt Lake Cabin 1 is a big cabin that’s an easy paddle from the launch point at end of the three-mile Red Shirt Lake Trail. From its sprawling front porch, you can glimpse water on two sides, but no major vistas. Situated in the mouth of the lake’s protected northwestern lobe, the cabin is a great launch point for exploration by canoe when the main lake becomes windy and ...more
Located on an isthmus between a sheltered cove and the main body of a vast backcountry lake, Red Shirt Lake Cabin 2 offers a basic, easy-to-heat base for exploring 1,186-acre Red Shirt Lake regardless of weather. It gives a small party no-fuss access to water, fuel and ski trails — a cozy space to relax when the day is done and the light begins its dying slant.
Red Shirt Cabin 3 celebrates the ancient spirit of Red Shirt Lake as a gathering place. The lake once featured large salmon runs and summer camps for Dena’ina Native groups, and still hosts private cabins on its southern half. The cabin may be perfect for large parties in quest of lake action, a platform for those who want strenuous days of paddling, fishing, swimming, and motoring followed by rousing evening campfires.
Ideal for those paddling, boating, fishing, hiking as well as those looking for seclusion away from the lake’s more popular routes for skiing and snowmobiling. The cabin faces the sunset and may be the perfect locale to string a hammock for long summer afternoons listening to forest birds.
16ft x 12ft Pan Abode style cabin with 4 single wooden bunks, Table, Wood stove, Food cupboard, Axe, Cooking counter and shelves, Log book, Broom and dustpan, Outhouse, Wood supply (rounds), 12-foot skiff with oars. Water is available from the lake. Treat all water before using.
This U.S. Forest Service rental cabin is accessed only by boat or floatplane and lies about 20 miles southwest of Hoonah on Frederick Sound. Located on a sunny patch of beachfront, the 15 by 17-foot cedar log structure sleeps up to eight people and is heated by a wood stove.
Nestled just off the Seward Highway near Bird Creek, these two new, spacious cabins might allow you to fulfill almost any family-friendly Alaskan recreation fantasy in a single weekend. They offer unmatched options for all kinds of activities — biking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing — with exceptionally easy access by car.
The Sea Star Cove public-use cabin is located in Tutka Bay, about three-quarters of the way in, on your right, on the south side. The cabin is surrounded by large, old-growth Sitka spruce. By far, this is the best Public Use Cabin in the park, and it has many hiking and kayaking options if used as a base.
This airy and handsome 16 x 20 cabin with a sleeping loft stands in a popular campground next to an 800-acre fishing and boating lake about 59 miles southeast of Fairbanks. The cabin may be unavailable for public reservations May 1 through Sept. 30 because it is used to house campground hosts.
This large 20 x 24 cabin with a broad, covered front porch supported by burled posts looks out over the Chena River and features exceptional access with wheelchair suitable ramps. Located about 37 miles from Fairbanks in the Chena River State Recreation Area, the cabin nestles in a handsome spruce-birch forest on the river inside the 254,000-acre recreation area.
Very striking at the 2,973-foot level of the Alaska Range, this simple, 12×14 log cabin can anchor your alpine adventure — with sweeping views of surrounding tundra foothills only a few miles north of Paxson off the Richardson Highway. The 605-acre state recreation site features a boat launch and picnic sites, with berry picking and ATV trails in summer, and a vast realm for snow sports in winter. Note: The 1.5‑mile access road is not plowed in ...more
A historic 15 x 20 log cabin that resembles a Gold Rush Sourdough’s retreat hunkers in the forest on the shore of Quartz Lake. It’s accessible from the lake, too, by boat in summer or ski/snowmobile in winter. The lake is 86 miles southeast of Fairbanks, inside a 556-acre recreation area with some of the best road-accessible fishing in Alaska’s Interior.
This cozy 10×16 cabin inside a campground about 22 miles up the Elliott Highway from Fairbanks offers great access to the 400-acre Chatanika State Recreation Area with nearby sled and ATV trails, and boating on the Chatanika River. Wired for electricity, the cabin may be unavailable for public reservations May 1 through Sept. 30.
This 16 x 20 log cabin is situated inside the park-like Delta State Recreation Site a half mile north of Delta Junction and the junction of the Alaska and Richardson highways. The braided Tanana River is just across the highway, offering stunning views of the Alaska Range during clear weather.
This large log cabin sits adjacent to the parking lot at Quartz Lake, with a reputation for some of the best road-accessible fishing in Alaska’s Interior and hiking trails with striking views of the Tanana River Valley. During winter, ice fishing is popular, with four huts available for rent. The cabin may be unavailable for public reservations May 1 through Sept. 30.
A cozy 14 x 12 log cabin inside a 61-acre park with a boat launch site on the Salcha River about 40 miles southeast of Fairbanks in the Tanana River Valley. The site is known for its grayling fishing, with a July salmon run. With skiing and snowmachining in winter. The cabin may be unavailable for public reservations mid-May through mid-September.
The only state public use cabin on the Ketchikan-area road system, this popular 12 x 16 cabin features one of the region’s few accessible sandy beaches. Hiking trails, salmon viewing, sports fishing, excellent kayaking and wildlife viewing all contribute to the cabin’s reputation as a remarkable base for recreation in a serene coastal rain forest setting.