Irish Cabin Property

Our beautiful Irish Cabin Property, near Mount Rainier, plays host to Tacoma Branch Field Trips and as a site for weekends in Mount Rainier National Park.

Currently the Irish Cabin Property offers primitive wilderness camping opportunities just outside the Carbon River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP). It's available for use by individual members when not being used for a course field trip. 

A wooded property with an open space for parking and tents, the site used to be home to our oldest cabin. Although there are no permanent toilet facilities, there are vault toilets down the road at the Carbon River entrance to MRNP. The Tacoma Navigation Course has a short course set up there and they use the boundary trail at MRNP for their long course exercise. We also use it as a scrambling base camp and Leave No Trace courses.

Irish Cabin Property Calendar

The Tacoma Irish Cabin Property Calendar covers all events held at the Irish Cabin Property.

Please contact the calendar schedulers, at if you would like to add an event to the calendar or change a listed event.


The Tacoma Mountaineers' Irish Cabin property is located on State Route 165, one-fourth mile west of the Carbon River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. The Cabin was built in the late 1890s - early 1900s by a miner named Irish, hence its name. It was later owned by the Manley-Moor Lumber Company who loaned it to the club from 1926-1937. At that time the Cabin and its 18 acres of land on the Carbon River were purchased by the club for the sum of $300.

The Cabin's main use was as a base for climbing and hiking in the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park. During the period after 1926 members of the club identified 24 peaks and established routes to the "Irish Cabin Peaks," all within the boundaries of MRNP.

Many additions and changes were made to the Cabin to make it a comfortable place for at least a score of climbers to spend weekends, prepare meals, and enjoy the grounds on a regular basis. The men and boys occupied bunks in a dormitory over the main cabin, while the women's dorm was upstairs over the addition. Running water was provided from running springs high on the hill south of the Cabin, and electricity was created by a diesel generator in a utility building beside the main Cabin. Outhouses were down a path through 10' high salmonberry bushes, in the deep shade of hemlock trees. A merry stream on the south side of the Cabin was a great attraction to children.

After World War lI until the early 1980's Irish Cabin was the site of the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. What a colorful and festive occasion that was! Over 100 diners were served by Mountaineer cooks who roasted the turkeys at their homes in Tacoma, bringing them directly to the dinner. The other menu items were prepared at the Cabin by the crew that spent all day Saturday getting things ready. The dormitories were full of weekend hikers, plus the Dinner Committee, on the night before the feast.

The Cabin was decorated with bright fall leaves, pumpkins, apples and candles. At the singing of the Doxology, the crowd filled the tables crowded into the main room with the overflow in the side room. After Thanksgiving Dinner, over mince and pumpkin pies and coffee, there would be a program by talented Mountaineer storytellers and musicians. The program also included remarks by invited-guest, the MRNP Ranger assigned to the Carbon River Entrance.

Hikes in the area around Irish Cabin were popular early in the day before the dinner, and many Thanksgiving Sundays were memorable for the silver frost on the forests, and icy lace in wet places near the Cabin. Sometimes there was snow, but seldom enough to close the road. And sometimes the November winds would roar down the river, giving the trees against the hillsides a chance to show their supple maneuverability, swishing against the gray skies of winter in the foothills. It was exciting (and risky) to be out in such drama! But the natural world at Irish in November is beautiful. Lovely mosses, lichens, fungi and woodsy plants, not so noticeable in the jungle of summer's lush growth, become special. Winter's dampness, the softly muted colors, and the quiet peace add a pleasant dimension to the outdoor experience.

One winter the Carbon River's annual flooding savaged the road, surged onto Irish Cabin property, moving tons and tons of boulders and debris through the underpinnings of our Cabin. The torrent's scouring off of topsoil and its ferns and herbaceous plants was something to behold! But miraculously the cabin stood, spring came, the river resumed its former braided channels, the trees and brush survived and flourished.

For the several years he served as Irish Cabin Chairman Gene Fear and his crew did many improvements to the buildings, the grounds and trails. An overnight campground was prepared for Mountaineers who wished to do tent camping there. The climbing course practiced on the rocks above the cabin, using the facility almost every weekend.

Break-ins, thefts of gear and supplies, as well as vandalism became a major problem for the Irish Cabin Committee. Members of the club stayed at the Cabin so there was constant surveillance. But after a time it became necessary to bring valuables like generators, tableware, lamps, etc. to town for safekeeping.

With the opening of the Mowich Lake Road many of our members, who wanted to climb into areas once accessed by the Ipsut Pass Trail, went directly to Mowich Lake. By now most of the climbers were backpacking with comfortable gear to bed down in the alpine meadows for overnights, so Irish Cabin was too low, and out-of-the-way.

Easy access to the Irish Cabin Peak trailheads by car, plus the constant takeover by vagrants, vandals and beer busts, were circumstances that forced the Tacoma Mountaineers to seriously consider the future of Irish Cabin. A commitment to keeping the Cabin for club use meant expensive maintenance and repairs, constant responsible surveillance to protect the property from destruction, and consistent scheduling of events there to make it worthwhile to the club. This proved to be more than we were able to manage, except for some notable exceptions by dedicated Irish Cabin Chairmen.

Irish Cabin was dismantled in 1980. It was a sad thing for many old time Mountaineers, and for the many younger members, and the descendants of the "old-timers," whose childhood were filled with memories of joyous times at Irish. The club still owns the property. It is used by the Basic Mountaineering Course for teaching various mountaineering techniques including belay practice. Located near many of Mount Rainier National Park trailheads, it is used occasionally as a car-camping site by members of the club.