The Sauk River rushes by near a popular boat launch area close to White Chuck Mountain off the Mountain Loop Highway, just outside of Darrington. (Daniella Beccaria / Herald file)

The Sauk River rushes by near a popular boat launch area close to White Chuck Mountain off the Mountain Loop Highway, just outside of Darrington. (Daniella Beccaria / Herald file)

Darrington considering movable, tiny cabins as lodging lure

The plan is for high school students, working with construction pros, to help build the cabins.

DARRINGTON — One or two new tiny cabins could be set up for overnight stays here as soon as this summer.

A survey is online now to round up thoughts from people interested in a place to stay near Darrington. The plan is for high school students to help build the cabins.

“There’s definitely a need … for unique lodging opportunities,” said Adrienne Hall, the tourism coordinator for Darrington who previously worked for the U.S. Forest Service. “We don’t have the Hiltons or the really nice high-end hotels out here, but we want a few more options for people who want to get away from those fancy hotels and just have a nice, comfortable, dry place to stay and explore all there is to do out here.”

Local leaders have been focused on improving the outdoor recreation industry in the Stillaguamish Valley. People are drawn to the area to hike, bike, camp and raft or kayak on the river. There are new mountain biking trails, annual music festivals and an archery range where national competitions are held.

However, there aren’t many places to stay.

The lack of lodging came up during a series of rural tourism workshops that included the Stillaguamish Valley, said Amy Spain, director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. Overnight visitors spend significantly more money in communities than day-trippers, according to research by the bureau. During the workshops, participants looked at gaps in services and infrastructure.

Similar work was done with people living in the Sauk, Snohomish and Skykomish river valleys.

“The purpose was for the river valleys to go through a process to think about what their tourism destiny is,” Spain said. “We ended with OK, where do we go from here?”

Hall has been working to tackle the lodging issue. She drew inspiration from the town’s planning efforts during the nationwide America’s Best Communities competition, in which Darrington and Arlington teamed up and advanced to the finals.

“One of the projects that has kind of floated to the top is developing tiny cabins for the outdoor recreation community when they come up to hike or raft on the rivers or use the North Mountain bike trails as well as the Whitehorse Trail,” Hall said.

Hall recalled a previous project where students learning construction skills at Darrington High School remodeled a Forest Service building.

A similar approach could be used for the cabins, she said. Students would work with experienced builders to make the tiny cabins, which would be easy to move from venue to venue. The teens could gain valuable skills, and the town could add lodging options on a tight budget.

Hall hopes work can begin soon so one or two cabins would be ready for a test run this summer.

Information from the online survey will help shape the cabins. Participants are asked what they value most: proximity to businesses; storage; water access; group gathering space; toilet and shower; cooking area; wireless internet. It also touches on potential prices, with a range from $55 to $100-plus per night.

“This is the first of a few surveys that we’re going to send out,” Hall said. “This is a broad survey to find out what activities people engage in when they come up to Darrington, what time of year are they up here, and, when they do come up here, what their preference for overnight stays would be.”

The survey is expected to be open for at least another month.

A few months ago, Hall went to a tiny home convention in Portland to gather ideas. Some of those homes were ritzy. Darrington’s cabins would be simple and rustic, she said.

“The people who come out here are kind of no-frills, adventure travelers,” she said.

“They maybe don’t need wifi access or a hot shower right there in the cabin. They can walk to the county park to shower. They can cook outside.”

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

Take the Survey

Share your thoughts on lodging in Darrington: www.surveymonkey.com/r/DarrLodging

Talk to us

More in Local News

Zachary Robbins
Marysville superintendent could start a month early

A June start means Zachary Robbins could weigh in on a $13.5 million budget shortfall and a parental consent policy for clubs.

Arlington
Driver dies after rollover crash at Smokey Point

The deceased man, 25, reportedly sped off from police before crashing into a nearby utility pole. A woman, 19, was injured.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Marysville
Smokey Point Boulevard stretch closed for crash investigation

The road was closed between 136th Street NE and 152nd Street NE after a possibly fatal collision.

The Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Granite Falls remains closed beyond Barlow Pass. (Snohomish County)
Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly open

A miscommunication led Snohomish County to misstate how much of the road is open.

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, a Washington state Department of Agriculture worker holds two of the dozens of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a tree in Blaine, Wash. Authorities say they've found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 in a rural area east of Blaine. State entomologists will now develop a plan to eradicate the nest. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Scientists will set 1,000 traps for murder hornets this year

Asian giant hornets, first detected in 2019, are are believed to be confined in Whatcom County.

Janette Burk and Timur Keskinturk are fighting to keep their coffee shop location in Alderwood Mall. Photographed in Seattle, Washington on May 23, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A Turkish café served coffee next to Starbucks. They were told to move.

After years, Kismet Turkish Cafe Bakery’s owners say they were told to relocate in Alderwood mall due to a nearby Starbucks kiosk.

Monroe High School with (inset) a Facebook video screenshot from Nov. 10, 2021, which showed a white student repeatedly using racial slurs in a confrontation with a Black student.
‘It makes me angry’: Black students in Monroe report persistent racism

“Please help stop this racism,” a first-grade student told the Monroe school board Monday. Other kids reported racist slurs.

Most Read