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Forget Airbnb. Arizonans can spend their summers renting out historic cabins in the forest

The "Rooms With a View" program allows citizens to rent out a historic cabin located in Arizona's parks and forests.

COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz. — Summer is a time for Arizonans to seek refuge elsewhere in cooler climates, but locals may not always have to travel very far to escape the Valley's heat.   

The U.S. Forest Service's "Rooms with a View" rental program gives citizens the unique opportunity to live out in the secluded wilderness in structures built up to a century ago. 

Over 2,500 reservations are made at the agency's historic properties each year, with many bookings taking place during the summer season. 

From wildfire lookout towers to cabins dating back to the Great Depression, Arizona has a wide variety of structures available to rent for about $100-$200 per night.

Many of the rentals were originally built in the early 20th century, meaning some of them aren't hooked up to the electrical grid and require tenants to live like they're in old pioneer times.  

Jeremy Haines, a spokesperson for the Forest Service, said the rental program began 25 years ago as a grassroots effort to protect Arizona's historic buildings. 

Starting with just three properties, the service has since expanded to include 29 rentals throughout Arizona and more are in the process of getting added to the agency's list.

Each of the Forest Service's rentals comes with different amenities and services. Here's a list of some of the properties available to rent:

  • The Apache Maid Cabin is located about 45 minutes north of Camp Verde in a pine forest south of the Mogollon Rim. It was built in 1909 as a ranch house for cattlemen and has since been restored to resemble its original design. Tenants must bring their own water supply to the cabin.
  • Crescent Moon Ranch is located in Sedona near the base of Cathedral Rock. Founded by homesteaders during the 19th century, the ranch was bought by the Forest Service in the 1980s to protect it from future developers. 
  • Kendrick Cabin was built in the 1960s to house firefighters dispatched to protect Arizona's forests during fire season. It can house up to 10 people and has great views of the San Francisco Peaks mountain range.
  • Horsethief Cabin dates back to the 1930s when it was built in the Bradshaw Mountains to house Forest Service crew members.
  • Sycamore Cabin is located at an elevation of 4,000 feet near the Pine Mountain Wilderness and is a popular destination for horse riders.
Credit: Forest Service

The Forest Service is close to adding a few more properties to the "Rooms with a View" catalog. The new additions include a fire lookout tower in the Coconino National Forest, a cabin in the Prescott National Forest dating back to the 1870s, and a ranger station near Springerville. 

More information about the rentals and their amenities can be found here.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Olvídese de Airbnb. Los arizonenses pueden pasar los veranos alquilando cabañas históricas en el bosque

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