Caines Head State Recreation Area
★ Occupancy: 1 to 6 Guests
★ Site Access: Hike, boat, water taxi, kayak
★ Stay Limit: 7 Nights
★ Check-in/out Time: 12:00pm
★ Pets Allowed: Yes**
★ Fees: (see fee page)
★ Cabin Dimensions: 14' x 18'
★ Heating Method: Kerosene Heater (Kerosene or Diesel Fuel - Bring your own fuel)
★ Fire Ring
★ Two wooden bunkbeds with a double below and single above
★ Benches, table and shelving
★ Kerosene Heater with 7-gallon tank
★ Smoke Alarm/Carbon Monoxide Detector
★ Fire Extinguisher - Please notify Alaska State Parks if you used the fire extinguisher, and of any other problems or concerns.
Resurrection Bay Brochure
The Tonsina Cabin is the newest cabin at Caines Head State Recreation Area.
The Tonsina Public-Use Cabin is located in the Caines Head State Recreation Area, approximately two miles from the Lowell Point State Recreation Area parking lot. The cabin can also be accessed via water taxi, kayak or boat, but boaters should use caution during negative tides as the landing can be very shallow, rocky, or muddy. No mooring buoy.
Hike in: Check the tide tables before you go. 12' and higher tides will prevent access to the first bridge, requiring long wait times for the water to recede. Storm surges, strong winds, and atmospheric pressure can raise tides higher as well. Follow the Tonsina Point Trail south from the upper parking lot at Lowell Point State Recreation Area to the first bridge at North Fork Tonsina Creek (1.7mi.). After crossing the bridge, the trail veers right and enters a large forested tidal/flood plain crossing a series of boardwalks that lead to the second large bridge, which spans South Fork Tonsina Creek. Upstream and away from tidal influence, this is a potential source of fresh water in the summer. Continue across the second bridge past the rustic campground and pavilion on the right and follow the trail to the beach (.3mi).
Head south on the beach about 0.1 mile. As you near the cabin, notice the "ghost trees" aged by time and surf. These are the remnants of spruce trees that were killed in the 1964 earthquake when the land sank and saltwater flooded the roots, both preserving and killing the trees. Whether standing or fallen, they are protected as historic artifacts. Enjoy, but DO NOT harm or use for firewood.
Watch for the cabin on a nearby rise. Due to severe and continuing coastal erosion, much of the once-forested hill and many of the trees have fallen down the bank and into the ocean. High tides over 10' on calm days, and lower tides with storm surge or strong winds will make access difficult, even if walking far back from shore, requiring long wait times for the ocean to recede.
Tonsina Cabin GPS coordinates: 60.02'27" N 149.26'41"W
Check the tide tables before you go. 12' and higher tides will prevent access to the first bridge, over North Fork Tonsina Creek, requiring long wait times for the water to recede. Storm surges, strong winds, and atmospheric pressure can raise tides higher as well. High tides over 10' on calm days, and 9' tides with storm surge or strong winds will make access to the cabin difficult, even if walking far back from shore, requiring long wait times for the ocean to recede.
Tide Tables are available here:
* There is no potable water and no reliable year-round water source near the cabin; plan to bring your own drinking water. The most reliable water source in the summer near the cabin is the South Fork Tonsina Creek above the tidal zone. A seasonal spring about 150' north of the cabin and about 30' up the mountainside may be available. No fresh water is available in the winter. Be sure to filter or boil all wild water.
The only heat source is a kerosene oil-drip heater.
The Coastal Trail connects the south end of Tonsina Point to Derby Cove and is only along the beach. Due to several "pinch points," it is only navigable at a plus 3-foot low tide or lower. Do not attempt to climb the hazardous cliffs around these pinch points. The trail does not continue south in any way through the forested area along the coast, in front of or behind the Tonsina Cabin. To avoid getting stranded between the sea and the cliffs, get started 2 hours prior to the outgoing side of a low tide.
** Pets must be under control at all times and you are responsible for cleaning up your pet's waste.
Cell phone service may be available, but do not count on it.
Pack out everything you pack in.
Check Availablility on Reserve America
Once you make a reservation, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from Reserve America with important information about the cabin. Print out this confirmation e-mail and bring it with you to the cabin. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours of making the reservation, please contact the reservation call center at 1-844-351-9733 9am-5pm..
Remember that these cabins are not hotels. Always be prepared! Be sure to bring:
- Kerosene fuel for heater: WHITE GAS OR REGULAR GASOLINE IS NOT USABLE. The heater burns approximately 0.13 gallons/hour on the highest setting. A good rule of thumb is a gallon for summer overnight and two gallons for winter, more in colder weather or if used extensively. If the heater has been run dry by the previous guests, you must add at least two inches of fuel to the seven-gallon tank before the stove begins to gravity feed and heat. The cabin will not heat up instantly when it's cold outside. It takes time, just like a wood stove. Be patient.
- Sleeping bag and pad or air mattress
- Cookware, dishes, utensils
- Cooking stove and fuel
- Matches, lighters, paper fire starter for outdoor fire ring
- Fresh AA batteries (2) for smoke/CO detector
- Toilet Paper
- First aid items
- Plastic trash bags
- Jug of drinking water
- Saw or axe, just in case
- Lantern and fuel