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State Parks Cabin Reservations

Alaska's state parks rent remote public cabins similar to the famous Forest Service cabins, but they're usually newer, larger, and easier to get to. Most are in Southcentral Alaska -- in this chapter, they're mentioned near Homer, Seward, and Valdez. Like the Forest Service cabins, it takes a hike, boat ride, or air taxi to get to the state cabins, and you need equipment such as a cookstove and sleeping bags, but once there, you can experience the real Alaska all by yourself.

Some cabins book up the minute they become available, and since Alaska residents get a jump on the reservation system, visitors are unlikely to reserve the most popular cabins at peak times. But if you can be flexible about where and when you travel, you can probably find a cabin. Alaska residents can reserve 7 months ahead, nonresidents 6 months ahead. Reservations do not open on weekends or holidays, only at 10am Alaska time on the following business day. Once a date opens on the system, it stays open until someone takes it.

The easiest way to reserve is via the online system with a MasterCard or Visa. You can also reserve in person, by mail, or by fax (you can ask questions by phone, but not apply). The staff is friendly and will guide you around the system, and help you find a cabin where you can get a permit, even if it's not your first choice. The main information and reservations desk is the Department of Natural Resources Public Information Center -- Anchorage, 550 W. 7th Ave., Ste. 1260, Anchorage, AK 99501-3557 (tel. 907/269-8400, or 269-8411 TDD; fax 907/269-8901; www.alaskastateparks.org; open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm). The website is the best source of information about the cabins, with a picture and description of each and a real-time availability calendar. Cabins rent for $25 to $75 a night, with fees highest for popular cabins at peak periods.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.