17 Holy Jim


2 bed • 1 bath

solar,generator,shared well,composting toilet 

Holy Jim and Trabuco cabins are recreational homes located in the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County, CA. 

The cabins themselves are privately owned, but are located on Federal government land. They are off the grid & classified as personal property, and therefore do not qualify for standard real estate financing (a mortgage). 

A Forestry Cabin is a recreational residence located within the National Forest. The cabin itself is private property but the land belongs to the Federal Government. The cabin owner must obtain a Forestry Service Special Use Permit, which is generally issued for 20 years. Recreation residences are for recreation use only. They may not be used as a primary residence.


•Why are the homes NOT for full time occupancy?
It is a National Forest rule.  You are not allowed have your primary residence in the National Forest. The forest cabins are for vacation and recreation. Cabin owners are required to have a primary residence elsewhere in order to qualify for the forest permit.

•How long is the permit and what is the fee?The permits are in effect for 20 years. The fees are very low cost.

•What kind of people live out in the canyon?
Regular, normal, intelligent, ordinary everyday people, just like you!
The cabins are all privately owned and you will often see other cabin owners out during the weekend enjoying the getaway from the stresses of the "flat land"

•How long have the cabins existed ?
Many were originally built between 1930's-1940s and many have been rebuilt

•Do they have utilities?
Just their own. Most have propane for gas, a water tank and some generate their own electricity through use of a generator or solar power. Many of the cabins do have hot water, a bath and shower, kitchens, refrigerators, etc. Just because they are remote, does not mean that they do not have creature comforts.

•Why don't the forest cabins have utilities ?

Because the Cabins are intended to be rustic and natural

•Can I have animals on the property, like a horse?
No, but you can bring your dog while you're staying there. You cannot keep horses or other farm animals there.

-•Do you own the land?
No, the cabins are in the National Forest, so the land belongs to the Federal Government.

•Is there a lease on the land?
No. You have to have a National Forest special usage permit. The permit is renewed every 20 years. The land belongs to the Federal government, not the cabin owner.

•Could the Federal Government ask me to remove my cabin since it is on Federal land?

Possibly, however I would think that it would be unlikely, since the cabins have been there since the 1930s. From what I have been told, the Fed would have to give you 10 years notice, plus your remaining permit time, so potentially this could be up to 30 years notice. Please verify this with the Forestry Dept

•What is the difference between the Holy Jim cabins and the Upper Trabuco cabins,?
The Holy Jim and Trabuco cabins are accessed by driving up Trabuco Creek Road. Once you reach the large parking lot at about the 5 mile mark, the "Holy Jim" section of cabins are to the left, while the "Upper Trabuco" section of cabins are straight ahead.

•How far is the drive to get to the cabins?
Trabuco Creek Rd is a dirt road and you will travel approximately 5 miles before reaching the first cabins. The first section of Trabuco Creek Rd is maintained by the County of Orange. It is flat, but it can be difficult to drive on after it rains. You will pass a gate - this section of the road is owned by the Federal government. It is much rougher with potholes and steep dips. Drive time at moderate speeds should be between 30 and 45 minutes.

•Do the cabins have a garage? Can I add a garage ?
Most do not but there may be a few that have a garage type of carport like structure. You are not allowed to add a garage

•Am I allowed to fence my cabin ?
No. The whole idea is to be "one with nature” and keep a forest vibe.

•Can I repaint my cabin using a color of my choice?

No. Any exterior improvements or changes must be approved by the forest service.

•How many days a year am I allowed to stay at the cabin?There are certain guidelines with the Forestry Documents. The main rules is you must have a primary residence somewhere else..

•Can I rent it out?
Yes, but just for a maximum of 2 weeks per year. 

•Could I live at the cabin and commute everyday?
Technically, yes as long as you have a primary residence elsewhere and qualify for the forestry permit.

•What about cell phone service? Internet? Cable ? TV ?
Cell phone service varies. there. Many cabin owners install a satellite dish which may give access to TV, phone and Internet.

For more information, contact
Susan Piazza

Coldwell Banker 

CA RE 01207960


[email protected]