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Reviewed May 28, 2016

I was fortunate to get reservations thru Reserve America (Mount Tamalpais state park) as these cabins get reserved within minutes of opening reservation window. These cabins are very rustic, with wood stove, picnic table, wood platforms for beds, counter top for cooking/food prep. You need to bring same things you would for tent camping minus the tent. I stayed in cabin 7, besides the living room/kitchen area there was two bedrooms. One small bedroom with one single size bed platform and a larger bedroom with a single and double size bed platform. Recommend you bring a sheet or towel to cover bedroom windows if you want privacy. There are two bathrooms with water shared between the 10 cabins nears the parking area. Only one car is allowed at parking site. Private gated road to get to cabins, you have to call to get gate code prior to arriving. Tip: across highway from gate is the Steep Ravine trail head, this is a very popular hike (Steep ravine/Matt Davis/Dipsea loop trail).

Date of stay: May 2016
7  Thank Lori M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2016 via mobile

Hello just did first stay at Steep Ravine, it was glorious, as others have posted. Here are my observations as we go again tomorrow.

Stayed at cabin 7, closest to the beach, great unobstructed views but it is farther from the parking lot which means more steps to the shared restroom and more energy used to bring your stuff to your cabin. Wheelbarrows were provided, but the last steps are steep enough that we just carried everything instead.

A tip from here or from Yelp advised to bring something to clean the Windows, which I did and it made the views much better!

As for mice, we saw one mouse try to get in through a small hole in the door, that's about it. Will bring something next time to plug the hole temporarily, like a wine cork, or something.

First timers, remember to print out your reservation confirmation, and call reserve America to get the gate code and your cabin combination lock code. You should put the letter on your dash, but a lot of campers did not. But the reservation letter can be valuable in that you can park and use any California state park while camping. For example, Mount Tam has parking regulations where you are supposed to put money in an envelope to park at the lookout or trailhead parking lots, but if you put the confirmation letter on your dash, it is the same thing, as you have paid through your reservation at the cabin! Same thing if you want to picnic at Samuel P Taylor park or China Camp nearby (although to be realistic, you are better off relaxing in your cabin at Steep Ravine). But if you want to go to Pantoll ranger station at Mount Tam State Park nearby and hike from there, your letter covers your parking fee.

Most people want to go to Steep Ravine to unplug, and relax. But here is my limited connectivity observations: sprint had no connection down there, I used cell and hot spot. T-mobile had spotty coverage, connected less than 20% of the time there. AT&T the best of my providers, (I do not have Verizon) 80% connection with two bars maximum.

Bedroom has two platforms, one queen sized, one slightly larger than twin sized. Our regular camping mattress thermarest was too small for the big platform, so we found a air bed from Costco with a battery operated pump at a reasonable price.

As others have posted, bring flat sheets or thin blankets to use as curtains (most cabins have curtain rods and clips) if you want more privacy. The big ocean facing Windows do not have curtain rods, but why would you want to cover up that million dollar view anyway? One thing I found is that the middle window in the main room can open up to let breezes in, but when it gets cold at night and windy, you should close the middle window and push it in to make a better seal to keep the cabin warm.

Speaking of warming the cabin, the stove inside the cabin is glorious and has many uses besides keeping you warm. Wifey loved putting our kettle on top of the flat part of the stove to keep the water warm, you could cook soups and stews and let it simmer on the top of the stove to eat later. You can buy wood for $8 (exact change in envelope) in the parking lot, we also bought bear bricks from OSH hardware to supplement our supply.

Nearby Stinson Beach has a small market serviceable but limited, same with Bolinas, so come with enough food to cover yourself, although we did buy a slice of pizza from Stinson Beach Parkside and re heated it on the wood stove. Mill Valley would be closest for complete provisions, but it is a winding drive to get there.

If you have them, or can borrow a pair, binoculars allow you to see the ships, whales, and other interesting things outside your window. Last time saw kite sailers jumping waves and braving the insane high winds off the coast.

Since it is the centennial of our national parks, I bought a years National Parks access pass, since we would be close to Muir Woods. For $80 a year, our one visit should have costed $20 ($10 per person), four visits we break even, plus you could go to Pinnacles, Yosemite, etc. We went on the second day, around 930am and got great parking, a benefit of being so close (20 minutes) before the crowds arrived. Did the basic tour, will now explore more of the connecting trails. The locally food sourced restaurant in the park was great for a quick tuna salad, will try other choices next time.

As for other practical matters, no electricity, so battery lights or propane lighting (with ventilation) when night falls. Our regular propane Coleman lantern shone brightly, and we were glad we brought curtains so to not disturb our neighbors. This time around I got usb powered led lights that can work off of batteries I can recharge with solar panels during the day. We are night owls, so the extra time staying up required either propane lighting or our new solar recharge system. If you sleep and wake with the sun, no extra lights (except for headlights or flashlights for the bathroom run) are needed.

Other random things: there is a small closet between main room and bedroom, bring hangers for jackets and such. Push broom and regular broom with dust pan provided in closet, I will bring swiffer with wet cloths to keep place clean for next guest. Opposite closet is small platform for small people to sleep in only. We used it to stow our packs/bags with our clothes. In main room is another small platform, we used it to stow cooler and provisions, and to set up low chair to enjoy the views.

More things to follow after our next trip, thanks for looking.

Date of stay: April 2016
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
18  Thank bremori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2016

We stayed for 2 nights, and had an absolute blast. The views are fantastic, and each cabin gets a view since they are stacked in rows on a slope. The inside is clean but extremely basic (think of it as camping, but without needing a tent). You go here for the views and the solitude, not for fancy amenities. If you've never been car camping before, read up on it or be prepared for disappointment.

The cabins have 3 rooms -
1) a main 'living room' with a wood burning stove (bring your own wood, or buy some at the campground with cash), a dining table+ 2 benches, a small counter that can serve as a makeshift kitchen (bring your own stove) and a wooden platform with room for one person to sleep);
2) a small bedroom with room for one person, and
3) a main bedroom with a queen sized platform and single sized platform.

There are no doors except the entrance to the cabin, and the windows do not have curtains (they do have bars for you to hang your own shades on. There are a couple of common toilets with running water and toilet paper (thank god!)

There is tons of hiking all around, and you can get food in nearby Stinson beach (a tiny community 2 miles down the road) if you'd rather not cook.

PS: The main gate and each cabin are secured with number-coded locks. You need to call ahead to get the combinations. The combinations change weekly (at the very least, based on our experience), so if your booking includes a Sunday, the combinations will change on Sunday. Make sure to call ahead on the day of your reservation to avoid a panic moment (cell reception is very dodgy at the campsite).

PPS: The drive down to the campsite can be very scary. It's a single lane road overlooking sheer cliffs. Drive slowly and carefully, always be on the lookout for oncoming traffic.

Date of stay: April 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
8  Thank Saurabh P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2015

The cabins have been on my list of "must do" for years. They sell out within hours of the reservation window. We managed to book one in December after someone else canceled a night in Cabin 5. The cabins are rustic, but are very clean and a comfortable step up from camping. There is no electricity. Water and shared flush toilets are a short walk from the cabins. The wood stove heats the main room well and wood is available onsite for $8.00 a bundle. We cooked dinner outside on the charcoal grill and it was well protected from the wind but still offered a great view of the sunset. We kept all our food in a plastic tub overnight and did not have any problems with mice or critters in our cabin. The main sleeping platform in the "bedroom" does fit a queen size air mattress and made the night pretty comfy. I brought fabric to hang as curtains but really only felt it was necessary in the bedroom window. Otherwise, I wanted to look out of all the windows all of the time. The view of the coast is truly incredible. With some candles (bring something to set them on) and a camp lantern it is an incredible experience for a couple, a family or close friends. Worth every penny!

Date of stay: December 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
9  Thank fingersandtoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2014

It doesn't get any better than this. Rustic cabins, sounds of crashing waves, natural beauty, quaint setting, Steep Ravine just up the road, great company and wine. Really is one of those things I adore about CA.

Date of stay: October 2013
Trip type: Traveled with friends
8  Thank phillysilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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