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{USA} Modern Twist to Camping at Rolling Huts

We first heard about Rolling Huts from our friend Sandra. Rolling Huts is a modern alternative to camping, designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects in Seattle. It is a group of 6 modern “cabins” located about 15 minutes away from Winthrop (~4 hours from Seattle). There are six huts, forming “The Herd”. We were convinced the moment we saw the pictures. I’m sure you’d agree….

Photo Copyright: Tim Bies/Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

COOLEST. CABINS. EVER.

The huts are equipped with a small refridgerator, microwave, heating and even has Wi-Fi!

Together with our friends, Sandra & Vincent, we went for a weekend camping trip to Rolling Huts in mid-March 2011. The only classic “camping” thing we really did was sleep in our sleeping bags! The huts are equipped with a small refridgerator, microwave, heating and even has Wi-Fi! A modern wood-burning fireplace supplies additional heat. A little balcony at the back of the cabins lets you enjoy views of the mountain without having to leave your cabin. There is a sleeping platform that fits two adults and a living area that can fit another two on the floor. There’s a honey-bucket style toilet adjacent to the huts and a fully heated bathroom that is complete with hot/cold showers and flushable toilets just a few steps away.

Image of Rolling Huts entrance

Our assigned hut (Hut #6)

Group photo

They are also pet friendly, so we brought along Tamago – Sandra & Vincent’s puppy.

TIP: Photos above were taken using a Nikon D40x DSLR (no longer being sold) along with a must have, versatile traveler’s lens, the Nikkor 18-200mm. An equivalent DSLR would be the Nikon D3000.

 

CREATIVE SOLUTION

Turns out, the elevated wooden huts are a creative solution to a local zoning code that only allows RVs in this area. The huts are put on rusted wheels as a workaround which enabled the huts to be classified as mobile homes, which met the regulatory requirements. The wheels are what gave the huts their name – “Rolling” Huts. It was a moment of eureka when we figured that out 🙂 Firewood is stored under the huts, in between the wheels.

LUXURY ALL THE WAY

As if the heating, the wifi, heated bathrooms and hot shower was not luxury enough, there’s also a restaurant just steps away from the huts at the entrance to this “campsite”. So if you didn’t want to bother bringing your own food, you can always just take a short walk to the restaurant and have your meals there. The weekend we were there, the restaurant was closed, so we brought our own food. We used the both the gas grill and charcoal grill to cook our marinated chicken wings, pork rib and salmon! It was delish!

Image of gas grill at rolling hutsPicture of restaurant at Rolling Huts

FARMHOUSE

Right opposite the six huts, adjacent to the bathrooms is a two-story house called “The Farmhouse”. We learnt that it is also available for rent, sleeps 8 comfortably (3 rooms) and has all the amenities of a home (including bathrooms). We loved our camping weekend so much that we decided to go back and rent the Farmhouse for a weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We’ll be doing that this coming month of May!

The Farmhouse is not advertised on Rolling Hut’s website, so you’ll have to call if you want to reserve it. It is $250/night for the entire house with a 2-night minimum reservation.

Image of farmhouse

GETTING THERE

From Seattle, it’ll be about ~4 hours drive through the North Cascade Scenic Highway. On the way to Rolling Huts, you’ll pass through the tiny town of Winthrop that has preserved its “American Wild West” building design & architecture.

photo of winthrop

The town of Winthrop (this is it – this one street!)

Photo of a gas station in Winthrop

Local gas station in Winthrop

Photo of bank in Winthrop

Local bank in Winthrop

Image of winthrop city town hall

City’s Town Hall

Wild West

Wild West themed town that has become a popular tourist destination

Photo of the view on the way home from Rolling Huts

Cascade Loop Scenic Highway – This is the view as you’re driving to and from Rolling Huts

We had a wonderful weekend there. It was so peaceful and quiet that we ended up not doing any hiking or activities. The view was simply stunning that we spent our time reading on the balcony, taking the puppy for walks, eating, drinking, enjoying each other’s company and played monopoly into the night! Ah, the simple pleasures of life.

For the more adventurous, there are plenty of trails to hike and if you go in the winter, there are also snow-shoeing, dog sledding and other winter activities in the vicinity for you to enjoy.

For those of you who don’t like the ruggedness of camping, this is the PERFECT “camping” trip to get you started!

 

 REMEMBER:

  1. There are only six huts ($125/night), so they do get booked up fast, so remember to reserve in advanced through their website.
  2. For the “Farmhouse” ($250/night), you’ll need to call them as they are not advertised anywhere online.
  3. There’s a restaurant called “Three-fingered Jack Saloon” that you can check out in Winthrop town (apparently the oldest legal saloon in Washington state). Their lunch menu was so-so. Dinner menu looked better (we didn’t get to try dinner). So if you’re going to stop by the saloon, try stopping by for dinner instead.
  4. The drive there from Seattle passes Steven’s Pass, so you may need chains (check the weather forecast for the Pass).
  5. Bring your sleeping bags!
  6. You can leave your mattress pad for the sleeping bags behind because they provide thin mattresses at the huts.
  7. You do not need to bring your own toilet paper! Only need it if you use the honeybucket adjacent to your cabin.
  8. Drive there during daylight if possible, so you can enjoy the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. On the way there, you will also pass by the town of Leavenworth (worth a stop if you’ve never been there before).
  9. As always, don’t forget to bring your camera!
  10. TIP: Most of the photos above were taken using a Nikon D40x DSLR (no longer being sold) along with a must have, versatile traveler’s lens, the Nikkor 18-200mm lens. An equivalent DSLR would be the Nikon D3000.

29 Comments

  1. Ezra September 27, 2012 Reply

    Which hut would you recommend booking? Looks like the one on the end furthest from the road is best but what number is that?

  2. Ashley September 22, 2012 Reply

    My husband and I are visiting the Rolling Huts the last week of October. I was wondering what you packed for food and if there is grocery store nearby. We will be driving from the Seattle airport so we aren’t too familiar with the area. Any input would help! Thanks.

    • Author
      Jeremy & Shirlene
      Twitter:
      September 24, 2012 Reply

      Hi Ashley – when we went, the restaurant in the compound of the Rolling Huts was closed, so we didn’t have the option of dining at the restaurant. Instead, we stopped by Costco (there’s one in Tukwila near the airport) and picked up drinks, baby back ribs, salmon, chicken wings, baked goods and snacks to bring with us and used the BBQ available on site to cook our food (we also brought our own BBQ utensils).

      Check with the restaurant if they’ll be open when you’re there. If so, that could be your food option or a backup option. There are of course other restaurants if you drive to the town of Winthrop just about 15 minutes away. We don’t recall any big grocery stores in the town. There may be small convenience stores that may stock some groceries. We’re not sure because we didn’t specifically go looking for one in Winthrop when we were there.

      We do however recall stopping by a small convenience store along the road before reaching Winthrop to pick up some snacks but it’s more like a 7-eleven than a grocery store. Hope this helps!
      Jeremy & Shirlene recently posted..{USA} The Elusive Milky Way at Crater LakeMy Profile

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