Index Cabins in Washington Review: A Weekend in the Trees

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A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - Skykomish River running through Index, WA
Skykomish River running through Index, WA. Photo credit: MaryRose Denton

The writer was hosted.

A wooded retreat is a place to relax and recharge your body, mind, and soul. An hour north of Seattle in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains lies a forest haven, the Index Cabins. These Pacific Northwest gems developed from a family retreat into a unique collection of six riverfront vacation rentals, including the rustic luxe Treeframe cabin. Here’s what you can expect during your stay.

Not Your Typical Mountain Cabin – Washington’s Index Cabins

There are times we need to leave the bustle of life behind and recharge our body, mind, and soul. Returning to nature offers us a simple remedy to do just that, be it a walk in the woods to forest bathe or sitting by the river’s edge sipping your morning cup of coffee. At the Index Cabins in Washington, both of these activities are found right outside your door.

The brainchild of Nick Pietsch (pronounced Peach – like the fruit)and his wife Nassim, the Index Cabins began as a desire for a family retreat. And as families do, it grew. Combine Nick’s background in geology with his love of the outdoors and you can see why the shores of the Skykomish River created the setting for a perfect getaway. Now they offer six cabins on their secluded riverfront property and invite you to share in this rustic luxury.

A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - Index Town Hall and Town Wall in Background
Index Town Hall and Town Wall in Background. Photo credit: MaryRose Denton

Why Book with Index Cabins? Sustainability, Location, and Luxury

What sets the Index Cabins vacation rentals apart is the commitment to sustainability without compromising on luxury. The eco-friendly materials used in every cabin’s construction, coupled with the minimal environmental impact, offer guests an indulgence with a lighter footprint and an opportunity to unwind in lushness while supporting sustainable living practices.

Beyond sustainability and giving a nod to the history of Index with their suite of cabins, the Pietsches also give back to the community. A portion of every booking gets donated to the Sierra Club, Forterra, The Washington Trails Association, the Tulalip Foundation, Friends of Heybrook Ridge, and the Index Historical Society.

A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - The Amos Cabin and Persis Cabin at Index Cabins, Washington
The Amos Cabin and Persis Cabin at Index Cabins, Washington. Photo credit: MaryRose Denton

The Index Cabins

We check in near sunset at the Index Cabins, affectionately dubbed by locals as the “Pietsch Pit,” and discover them to be a combination of artistic architectural design as well as sustainability. Nick uses reclaimed wood and recycled materials in all the cabins designing them with a natural ethos or as he says, “a clean, contemporary, and fun’ look.

Situated near the base of Mt. Index, this property spans five acres of land adorned with red cedars, Douglas firs, and alder trees that gracefully rise from the forest floor. Among these trees find accommodations from trendy and modern like the property’s showstopper, the Treeframe (more on that later) to a rustic tiny cabin like the one called Clay Baby.

Families or groups may enjoy spreading out in the Amos cabin or Persis cabin, the first two getaways built, appropriately named after the founders of the town.  If innovation and sustainability rank high on your list, try a night or two sleeping inside the Sea Containers, a 640-square-foot space created out of repurposed shipping containers with some truly magnificent views.

Whichever cabin you choose on this riverfront property, trendy or quaint, it will always feel luxurious.

The Family of Six Cabins To Choose From:

  • Clay Baby boasts a small footprint with all the luxury. Sleeps three guests with one bathroom.
  • Amos Cabin accommodates four guests. At this beautiful riverfront getaway in the Cascade Mountains, you will be lulled to sleep by the peaceful sounds of the Skykomish River. Perfect for a family, with two bedrooms and one bath.
  • Persis may be tiny but she is also mighty, sleeping three guests between two bedrooms and one bath. She even has an outdoor shower for a true northwest feel and views of the river.
  • The Sea Containers are eco-friendly, sustainable, and ultra cool. Designed from old shipping containers they feature floor-to-ceiling windows and a roof-top hot tub. Sleeps four guests between two bedrooms with 1.5 baths.
  • O’Neill Cabin fits the needs of a larger group or family sleeping five guests, with two bedrooms and one shared bath.
  • The Treeframe Cabin is the showstopper for the perfect romantic or weekend getaway. Literally set up in the trees this mountain chalet sleeps three with one loft bedroom and one bath.

The Treeframe – Rustic Elegance

Nestled amid the grandeur of the Northwest forest lies a secluded haven known simply as the Treeframe cabin. Part of the Index Cabins located on the North Fork of the Skykomish River in Index, Washington this architectural gem is not the treehouse of your youth. You are not far from the city but will feel worlds away as you snuggle in for a cozy weekend built just for two. With the floor-to-ceiling windows gaze out into a wooded wonderland or snuggle up by the cabin’s cozy fireplace while imbibing your drink of choice.

The Treeframe is an elevated A-frame cabin perched 13 feet above the ground between four evergreen trees, two Douglas Fir, one Cedar, and the only Spruce tree found on the property. The cabin’s interior is meticulously designed to provide a serene, comfortable, and relaxing retreat, for those days when a little escape into nature is most needed.

A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - A plush king bed at Index Cabins
A plush king bed at Index Cabins. Photo credit: MaryRose Denton

A Romantic Retreat

Walking up the staircase adorned with fairy lights, we were greeted by an ambiance that seamlessly fused modern furnishings with the warmth of the surrounding natural elements, inviting the outdoors in. The 455-square-foot cabin’s open-plan layout welcomed us into a space adorned with minimalist yet cozy and inviting furnishings like the sherpa blankets thrown over the back of the couch and soft enough to snuggle under for that cozy feeling of hygge.

And don’t forget to cuddle your four-legged friend under that Sherpa, for these vacation rentals are pet-friendly.

This modern treehouse features luxury amenities such as a sleeping loft with a plush king bed adorned with soft linens, a glowing fireplace for more of that hygge feeling, heated floors in the bathroom,  WiFi, and a jacuzzi hot tub built for two nestled on the edge of the forest. Sink into the warm water, take life down a notch or two, and listen to the distant hoot of an owl from its perch in a night tree. The perfect beginning to a romantic getaway.

Inside the cabin, enjoy the skylights and picture windows for they not only offer breathtaking views but also infuse the space with an abundance of natural light, creating a soothing environment that encourages relaxation.

Thoughtful Amenities Inside The Treeframe

  • AC/Heat
  • Allows pets
  • Dine alfresco
  • Plush bed linens and blankets
  • Riverfront access
  • Hair and body soaps
  • Coffee Maker
  • Air fryer
  • Microwave
  • Fully stocked kitchen with pots, pans, and utensils
  • Dishes and silverware
  • Wifi and Bluetooth with speaker
  • EV charger if needed
  • Fireplace, very cozy on a blustery winter night
  • Free Parking
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Hammock
  • Hot tub
A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - The Index General Store is a great place to grab snacks
The Index General Store is a great place to grab snacks Photo credit: MaryRose Denton

Dinner for Two? Two Options

The cabin’s amenities are thoughtfully curated to enhance your experience. From the cozy blankets and warm floors to a well-stocked kitchen equipped with state-of-the-art appliances such as an induction stove top and countertop air fryer, every aspect of the Treeframe cabin exudes comfort, convenience, and sustainability. The easy blend of contemporary design and rustic charm ensures that you can unwind and rejuvenate in style during your self-catering stay.

You will find coffee mugs next to the coffee maker to start your day and wine glasses to pour your favorite pinot at the end of the night.

Stock up the full-size refrigerator with ingredients from home and prepare to dine in as you create a savory meal for two. The small kitchen is fully equipped with pots, pans, and dishes leaving only the food to be supplied by you.

The Index General Store is the only grocer in town with limited stock and hours so your best bet is to shop beforehand. If a run to the supermarket is essential, you will find the Red Apple Grocer in Sultan, about 13 miles from Index, or Safeway in Monroe which is a bit further at 19.5 miles west of Index. The locals tend to drive into these larger towns to do their shopping as well.

If you prefer an evening out, take a drive into town (about 1 mile) and dine at The North Fork Kitchen, where you have a front-row seat to the spectacular mountain views. Here Chef Fabian offers a delightful dining experience showcasing Pacific Northwest cuisine with a creative twist. We sampled the locally foraged Grilled Mushrooms paired with a main course of pesto ravioli. Delish!

Things To Do in Index

Beyond the lavish accommodations, the Treeframe cabin rental offers an immersive experience that transcends the ordinary. Lounge on the deck with a good book, savor a morning coffee while taking in the panoramic views, or embark on an outdoor adventure in the surrounding wilderness. The Treeframe cabin provides the perfect base for those seeking to connect with the great outdoors.

The property is not operated as a resort so guests looking for things to do can venture into the surrounding region. Index’s allure remains constant all year long because of its scenic location in the Cascade foothills with easy access to outdoor adventures.

Ski and Snowboard at Stevens Pass

For a little fun in the snow begin by heading east on US Hwy 2. The highway is easily accessed from Index, leading every snow bunny and winter sports enthusiast up into the Skykomish Valley and Stevens Pass, a very popular skiing area. Bring out the snowboards and skis and be ready to hit the slopes.

A Weekend Getaway At The Index Cabins, Washington - The Skykomish River in Index, Washington
The Skykomish River in Index, Washington. Photo Credit: MaryRose Denton

Get Outdoors with A Hike

Index has an array of hiking trails that cater to various skill levels. The Lake Serene Trail, a popular choice, leads day adventurers through lush forests to a pristine and stunning alpine lake offering breathtaking views.

Another rewarding trail to explore is  Heybrook Ridge Trail, now a county park it provides panoramic vistas of the Skykomish River Valley with its majestic surrounding peaks proving to be a haven for outdoor lovers.

Heybrook Ridge is a well-maintained trail incorporating a smaller ADA-accessible loop trail within it, making time in the woods available to everyone.

Kayak the White Water Rapids or Fly-fish in a Quiet Spot All Your Own

The Skykomish River presents an ideal setting for fishing and kayaking enthusiasts, offering opportunities for serene moments on the water or thrilling rafting amidst the rapids. Grab all of your gear or book a guided river tour at the Outdoor Adventure Center, located at the River House in town, and go play in the water.  

Rock Climbing the Index Town Wall

Additionally, rock climbers from all over the world flock to the area known as the Index Town Wall to conquer the 1,000-foot granite cliff that makes Index a renowned rock climbing destination.

Running the length of town, this colossal granite wall sits as the backdrop for town life beyond the range of climbs it holds for adventurers of all skill levels.

When it’s time to refuel, restock your trail mix and water bottle at the Index General Store, a local mercantile offering up the necessities in comfort food and beverages.

MaryRose Denton is a traveler and blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She applies the philosophy of “meraki” to her writing as much as she did to her thirty-year career as a massage therapist. A lover of history, she writes cultural pieces focusing on the people who make a place special, wellness and soft adventures, and vegan dining. She has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, and into Western Europe, growing her bucket list each year. She is excited to keep adding those off-the-beaten-path adventures both at home and abroad.
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