Small bits of history on some of the 40 cabins that remain today.

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Upper Trabuco Tract

This cabin, nicknamed the "Outside Inn", has been owned by the same family for several generations. It is in original condition.

Cabin #1 in 1960
Cabin #1-3 in 1962 (rare shot of Cabin #3, now gone)
Cabin #1 in 1965
Cabin #1 in 1969 after major flood (note the horse!)

Holy Jim Fire Barn
Cabin #4 (a.k.a. the Fire Barn) houses the Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department. Thanks to a long term cabin owner, we've been able to post some nostalgic 'Canyon Wren' newsletters that discuss the Fire Barn in the early days. Some of these are a real hoot! Read them here.

Fire Barn after 1969 flood - 1 | 2 | 3
Cabin destroyed in 1969 flood
Original drawing of the fire barn
(from 1962)

Trabuco 2

Cabin #2 in March 1962 with original screened porch. Also shows #3. Cabin #3 was removed by the Forest Service many years ago.


This cabin boasted an ornate cast iron stove. "Standing four feet high, the stove is an elaborate casting by Joliet Stove Works of Joliet, IL. It's patent date is 1883. Originally designed as a coal burner, its sides are a maze of of filigree work topped by a fancy ornamental lid. Parts of the stove were recently nickled by [Ed] Siebler and the rest re-blacked with stove polish. Purchased in a junk yard, the reported price was $100." (Canyon Wren, February 1966)

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Tragically, this cabin (along with the stove and majestic taxidermy eagle) was destroyed by a fire on January 1st, 2014. OC Fire Authority video.


Built by beloved canyon legend, Russ Makely, this cabin has seen many family and canyon gatherings over the years.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. This cabin was also destroyed by the fire on January 1st, 2014.


Cabin 13 was remodeled within the last couple years.


This cabin has been remodeled.


Cabin #15 was in original condition.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. This cabin was destroyed by the fire on August 6th, 2018.


The 'Wishing Well' (or 'Thank God It's Friday') cabin was remodeled a few years back. It went from a one-story structure to a roomy two-story. Take a look at cabin 22 prior to the remodel.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


"Casa Verde" (Trabuco 29) is in original condition but has had several repairs over the past few years.


Trabuco cabin 35 was built in 1929.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


With lovely rock work and storybook potential, Trabuco 36 is a diamond in the rough.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Trabuco cabin 37 is known as the 'Alpine' cabin. It has multiple levels and is very cute.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Trabuco cabin 39 is known as the Artist's cabin. There are several lovely metal sculptures in the yard.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Trabuco cabin 40 (aka the "Bee Keepers" cabin and the "Life Begins at 40" cabin) was built in the late 1920's or early 1930's. It is still in mostly original condition and is eligible for historic status.

Cabin #40 in 2006| 1991| a long time ago!

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


This cute cabin sits on the largest lot of both the Holy Jim and Trabuco tracts and used to be home to a Boy's Club.

Cabin 41 Under Construction - Early 80's ??
Cabin 41 in 1985 - The Blue Days

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018

Trabuco #44 is in original condition.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Cabin 62 has been beautifully rebuilt.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Cabin 45 was threatened by a fire several years ago, but was saved with help from the Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department as well as the Forest Service and OCFA. It has recently been remodeled.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018


Probably the largest cabin in Upper Trabuco, this cabin was rebuilt sometime in the 80's.

Status: LOST TO FIRE. Destroyed on August 6th, 2018

No cabins for sale at this time.

Did you know?

  • Cabin owner Gail G. used to drive her Cadillac to HJ #2 back in the 70's-80's when the road was more of a rock road than a dirt road. She and her kids would stop by the canyon store and purchase ice cream for the 'rocky' ride. Her daughter, Laurel, said the goal was to stay clean while the car bottomed out on the rocks!
  • Cabin #1 HJ: "Home Plate"
    Cabin #5 HJ: "Lazy Daze"
    Cabin #6 HJ: Shine-Gra-La"
  • Seven cabins were lost to fire in November, 1980, one in January 2009 and two in January 2014.
  • Confederate Civil War Veteran, Josiah Clay Joplin, came to Orange County and had six sons here. He was a six term Treasurer for Orange County and organized the Trabuco and Olive School Districts. Today, Olive is known as the City of Orange. The little Trabuco Canyon School is the oldest in Orange County. He organized the Humane Society, and was the Director of the Santa Ana Board of Trade in 1889. His son Andrew killed the last Grizzly in Trabuco Canyon. Josiah Joplin passed away at age 88 and is buried in the Santa Ana Cemetery.
  • The last of Orange County's native grizzly bears was killed near the fork of Holy Jim and Trabuco Canyons in 1908. Its crime was stealing honey from the resident beekeepers.
  • A black bear was seen in the canyon in July 1995.
  • The annual Holy Jim auction was started back in the 1950's when cabin owner Jim Sleeper was elected to clean out a vacated cabin. There was such a collection of treasures in the cabin that Sleeper came up with the idea of an auction. The auction has since become an (almost) annual tradition.
  • The first Holy Jim auction was held in 1961 in the home of Charles Schlegel. $300.00 was raised.
  • One cabin owner has a tradition of hiking to Bear Springs each year and decorating a special pine tree with edible ornaments for the birds. Folks, this is not a trivial hike (10 miles total). Can you guess who it is? 
    Click for Answer.
  • All the cabins used to be referred to by name rather than number. For example, there was the "Thank God It's Friday" cabin, the "Casa Verde" cabin, the "Life Begins at 40" cabin, the "Palsey Walsey" cabin, "Outside Inn" cabin and the "Cabin at the End of the Road". If you know your cabin's name, let us know.


** Cabin Sales - Important **
All cabin sales transactions are solely between the seller and the buyer unless otherwise specified. Neither the Trabuco and Holy Jim Cabin Owner's Association nor the webmaster assume any responsibility and make no guarantee regarding specific cabin sales. Unless otherwise specified by the seller, all sales are assumed to be "as-is." It is up to the buyer to perform their due-diligence.