Holy Cow! Have You Seen The Recreational Use Cabins in Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Canyon?
Have You Been to Holy Jim Canyon?
I get to play lots of roles in my job as an Orange County Realtor – investigator, financial analyst, therapist, and research analyst top the list. So a couple of weeks ago, I got to play uninformed tourist as I discovered the Recreational Use Cabins for sale in Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Canyon. Oh – what’s that? You didn’t’ even know there was such a place as Holy Jim Canyon – not to mention there were Recreational Use Cabins you could buy? Me either! So let’s explore this remote section of Orange County, shall we?
Where is Holy Jim Canyon?
Holy Jim Canyon is about 5 miles up a rocky dirt road off of Trabuco Canyon Road by the bridge next to Rose Canyon. Or to put it another way –it’s in the mountains behind Rancho Santa Margarita in the Orange County portion of the Cleveland National Forest. The dirt road has enough potholes to make it even bumpier that the jeep ride you get on Indiana Jones’ – and it lasts longer. About 25 minutes to get to the area of the canyon where the cabins are located. The parking lot is past the Green Volunteer Fire Department Cabin on your left. Look for the blue out house on your right. These are the exact directions that were given to me, I kid you not.
Hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts, make up the majority of the folks you’ll find in the canyon. And for a Friday afternoon, I was surprised by just how many hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts there were out there. Here’s the big news flash – there are also the folks who own Recreational Use Cabins – many of whom are in residence on any given day. On your hike, you may even meet a couple of them.
What Do People Do With Their Cabins?
As it was told to me: some families visit their cabin every weekend; some never visit; another, the husband goes to their cabin with his guy friends because his wife won’t go out there anymore; still another, only the wife goes out to their cabin with her girlfriends because her husband won’t go there anymore. One cabin is frequented by a single gal and her pit bull.
In a nutshell, it’s a cabin that you own that sits on land leased from the United States Forestry Service. The leases are renewed in 20 year increments. There are 49 Recreational Use Cabins in Holy Jim and Trabuco Canyon. Most of the cabins were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. At the time of this writing, four of them were up for sale.
What’s the Catch to Owning a Recreational Use Cabin?
Well, there are several catches that are important to note. First, you have to have another residence in order to acquire a Recreational Use Cabin. Get it? These are not intended for use a primary residence, so you have to prove to the Forestry Service that you have another domicile somewhere else. To prove you only need the cabin for recreational purposes. Then the cabin gets inspected by the Forestry Service, you go to a hearing with the Forestry Service, and you or the seller fix the stuff they’re worried about, and then the seller transfer’s it to you just like you’d do with a mobile home sale. The cabins are sold as personal property. So you pretty much have to pay cash. But since the current going price is right around $100K – why not buy two? Just make sure you can handle something of a rustic setting. One cabin has not bath tub or shower, just a barrel full of water in the bathroom big enough for one person. As I said, rustic indeed. So get familiar with septic, propane, and generators.
I’m Leslie Eskildsen – your local Real Estate go-to expert.
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