Firewood is stored all over at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Firewood is stored all over at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A stylish yet rustic winter retreat just outside Granite Falls

Canyon Creek Cabins offer a cozy hideaway on an acre of riverfront property.

By Sara Bruestle / Special to The Herald

Granite Falls is known as the “Gateway to Mountain Loop.”

Mountain Loop Highway is one of Washington’s most scenic byways and a popular jumping-off point for fishing, hiking, camping and sledding in the Cascades. The nearby falls and parks attract visitors year-round.

The city of Granite Falls lies in the foothills of the Cascades in between two of Snohomish County’s largest rivers: the Pilchuck and the Stillaguamish.

Close to it all are the Canyon Creek Cabins, a trio of cozy cabins built on about an acre of riverfront property.

All three cabins, owned by Andy Whitcomb and Forest Eckley, overlook Canyon Creek, which flows into the South Fork of the Stillaguamish.

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Each one has been furnished by the owners with furniture, textiles, art and plants curated from Glasswing and Glasswing Greenhouse. The two Seattle design shops are co-owned by Eckley, Whitcomb and Alisa Furoyama.

“We’ve designed it so that there’s just enough to be comfortable, connect with friends, build a fire, go on a hike, and come back and relax in a hot tub by the river,” Eckley said.

Cabins 1 and 3 were built in the 1970s as fishing cabins. Both were recently remodeled to include two bedrooms, a bathroom, an open kitchen with dining room, two sofas and a fireplace.

Cabin 2, located between those, was built as a tiny home in 2020 and features a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, sofa and a fireplace.

READ MORE: The Big Four Ice Caves: Access to one of Snohomish County’s most iconic destinations reopens

Each cabin has an outdoor seating area, either on a deck or patio, plus a hot tub facing the stream.

“There’s demand for really good stays,” said Whitcomb, a co-owner of the Glasswing stores. “We don’t look at things from a competitive standpoint, but we do our best. We work to be at the top of the market.”

Here is a rundown of each of the Canyon Creek Cabins. You can book all three at once or pick your favorite one for a local getaway.

The view down from the bedroom in Cabin 1 looks down into the kitchen. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The view down from the bedroom in Cabin 1 looks down into the kitchen. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cabin 1

This asymmetrical A-frame cabin built in 1972 is the largest of the three at 1,229 square feet. The cabin features wood paneling, exposed beams and large geometric windows. It can sleep up to six.

After purchasing it in 2018, Whitcomb and Eckley installed slate tile on the floors, improved the overall lighting and renovated the bathroom. They added a hammock in the loft next to the upstairs bedroom. The loft has a great view of the river below.

“We bring in as much light or nature that we can,” Whitcomb said. “We also like to bring in some vintage touches.”

The owners plan to renovate the kitchen so it feels more like their own.

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At 375 square feet, Cabin 2 is the smallest unit at Cabin Creek Cabins. Shown here is a sunroom with a sofa and a fireplace. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

At 375 square feet, Cabin 2 is the smallest unit at Cabin Creek Cabins. Shown here is a sunroom with a sofa and a fireplace. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cabin 2

Cabin 2 was designed by Whitcomb and Eckley and built on a plot of land they purchased at the same time as their first Canyon Creek cabin.

The cabin is the smallest of the three, at about 375 feet. It comprises two structures connected by a covered deck and can sleep two.

A converted shipping container features the kitchen, bathroom and dining room. Next door is a bunkhouse with a sunroom, sofa and a fireplace.

This cabin’s hot tub is nestled in the woods and accessible by a lighted trail.

The shipping container was brought in by flatbed truck and then pulled by truck over rolling fence posts to its current location.

“It was a challenge to get that in here,” Whitcomb said. “We barely had enough room.”

Light shines in on a kitchen and dining space in Cabin 3 at Canyon Creek Cabins on Friday, Sep. 23, 2022, in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Light shines in on a kitchen and dining space in Cabin 3 at Canyon Creek Cabins on Friday, Sep. 23, 2022, in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cabin 3

At 672 square feet, this cabin is the second largest of the three. It was built in 1975 and can sleep up to six.

When Whitcomb and Eckley purchased it in 2019, Cabin 3 was largely unfinished. They moved the front door, installed a bunch of windows, upgraded the deck, replaced the fireplace and added a bunkhouse.

“We completely reimagined what the space looks like and the way it flows,” Whitcomb said. “It feels handmade to us.”

This cabin’s signature is the burnt-orange stove fireplace from the mid-century.

The owners also built the bunkhouse next door with room to sleep two more. The 120-square-foot addition features floor-to-ceiling windows that look out at the creek.

Co-owner Andy Whitcomb stands below Cabin 3 and above a trickling Canyon Creek at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Co-owner Andy Whitcomb stands below Cabin 3 and above a trickling Canyon Creek at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

‘Similar tastes but different points of view’

Whitcomb, 42, and Eckley, 40, were friends before they became business partners.

In 2009, they stayed at a friend’s cabin in Index and got to talking about buying one of their own and renting it out to vacationers.

Around 2015, Whitcomb and Eckley rented a turn-of-the-century home with six bedrooms to try their hands at vacation rentals. After about three years of on-the-job-training, they purchased their first cabin with the profits.

The cabins were bought or built in 2018, 2019 and 2020 — all in a row. Now the owners are focused on maintaining and improving their homes away from home.

Whitcomb, of Black Diamond, and Eckley, of Seattle, are both fans of art, architecture and design. While Whitcomb is drawn to midcentury modern design, Eckley is inspired by wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy that emphasizes the acceptance and beauty of life’s imperfections. Together, they make a fine design team.

“When it comes to design, we have similar tastes but different points of view,” Eckley said. “It’s very complementary.”

Most of the furniture in the cabins have been designed and built by the owners. For example, the sofas in cabins 1 and 3 are custom-designed so that you can sleep on them comfortably, if more beds are needed.

“I haven’t seen a sofa like that anywhere else,” Eckley said. “It feels good to have a functional piece of art that’s right in the middle of the space.”

If it isn’t theirs, then a table or chair is probably from Tirto, an Indonesian-style furniture company in Seattle.

Each of the cabins also has a sculpture by Aleph Geddis on display. The wood carver from Orcas Island is a friend of theirs.

And there’s more: They have wool Pendleton blankets in the closet. The pillows on the sofa are made from vintage Kaleen rugs in a variety of patterns and textures. The paintings are from Mineral Workshop. All of the plants are from Glasswing’s plant nursery.

Whitcomb and Eckley plan to eventually design more cabins. Ideally, they want to have several rentals lining a sleepy lake with a dock. They’re waiting for the right opportunity. For now, they’re enjoying the spaces they renovated — and the reason they set down roots here in the first place.

“What we love most about the place, more than the architecture or the furniture that we designed, is the setting with the trees, the river, the way the light filters through in the morning when there’s fog,” Whitcomb said. “That’s what makes this place special and the thing that we could never recreate ourselves.”

Cabin 3 faces the road at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cabin 3 faces the road at Canyon Creek Cabins on Sep. 23, in Granite Falls. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Tips for a great stay at the Canyon Creek Cabins

  • Get on standby. The trio of cabins are booked out about 10 weeks in advance, so it’s best to sign up for the waitlist. If there’s a cancellation, you might get to book a stay sooner.
  • Go hiking. Some of Whitcomb and Eckley’s favorite hikes while staying at the Canyon Creek Cabins include Gothic Basin, Big Four Ice Caves, Mount Pilchuck Fire Lookout, Lake Twenty-Two and Heather Lake.
  • Try the hot tub. No matter which cabin you rent, you’ll get a great view of the creek as you relax in the bath.
  • Play a game. The owners’ collection includes Monopoly, Life, Catan, Ticket to Ride and Risk.
  • Check out the record collection. In cabins 1 and 3, you’ll find albums by Sunhouse, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Woody Guthrie, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Prince, David Bowie, Patsy Cline, The Smiths and more.

If you go

Go to canyoncreekcabins.com for more information and to book your stay.

Sound & Summit

This article is featured in the winter issue of Sound & Summit, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine.

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