You don’t have to rough it when you spend the night in the woods. One of the Santa Cruz Mountains’ most comfy overnight escapes isn’t accessed by road, but by a moderate 1.5-mile hike through towering redwoods and shaded fern canyons. The Hiker’s Hut is an A-frame inspiration built by the Sierra Club in 1977 and remains a hidden Bay Area treasure. To reach it, you walk the Towne Trail from Sam McDonald Park parking lot, admiring the loping green hills and counting banana slugs along the way. Before you know it, you’re enjoying panoramic views from the top of Towne Ridge, with layers of mountains unfolding all the way to the ocean. The rustic yet comfortable cabin has a kitchen with a stove and microwave, and enough bed platforms to sleep 14—though you may prefer an intimate party of two. And yes, there are flush toilets. There’s also a fireplace with plenty of wood to keep the place toasty on cooler evenings. And what hut would be complete without the obligatory guitar? The large wooden deck makes a great hangout for strummin’ while the sun sets. Touchdown!
Distance: 46 miles from San Francisco.
For reservations and more information on the Hiker’s Hut click here, or call 650-390-8411 ext. 393. The hut is $25 per person, per night.