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In Recognition of World Toilet Day, We Wonder: What's Your Favorite Wilderness Outhouse?

Today is World Toilet Day, which despite the funny-sounding name is actually a serious-minded reminder than a few billion people on this planet do not have access to clean, modern sanitation.

Credit the nonprofit behind the cause for recognizing that a day called World Toilet Day is going to trigger an Involuntary Joke Response in a lot of people. The organization even aims to raise awareness by sponsoring “Big Squat” campaigns. Good call.

So we’re asking the same question we asked last World Toilet Day: What backcountry outhouse has the best view you’ve ever seen?

Last year REI Blog readers and Facebook fans flooded us (we’ll avoid saying “dumped on us”) hundreds of nominees. (See a partial list below the photo.) Who knew people were so passionate about privies?

My personal No. 1 is the wall-free squatter atop Desolation Peak above Ross Lake in North Cascades National Park. The photo below of me admiring the scene I believe supports my case as to why it’s my fave. Got a contender of your own? Do tell.


Nominees mentioned multiple times last year:

  • Philmont Scout Ranch in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of New Mexico got the most callouts. “Pilot to bombadier on top of a bluff that overlooks a valley, absolutely beautiful."
  • Chasm Lake on the way to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Solar latrines at the trail junction on the east side of Longs Peak (aka the Boulder Field area) with a great view of the East Face wall. (See wobbly video below.)

  • The "Loo with a View" atop Mackinnon Pass on the Milford Track in New Zealand.
  • En route to Angel's Landing at the junction with the East Rim Trail, Zion National Park. (Personal observation: The view outside the stalls is fab, but inside, whew! Especially after the summertime sun has had some time to work on those sheds.)
  • Fritz and Fabi's Benedict Huts, part of Colorado's 10th Mountain hut system, near Aspen.
  • Below Hornet Lookout, Flathead National Forest in Montana. “Full view to the east of the entire range of Glacier NP and into Canada.”
  • Several privies in the Enchantment Lakes district of Washington state’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Leavenworth, Wash., got a nod: “There is a seat overlooking Inspiration Lake of the Enchantments that is simply amazing.”

Some of the one-time nominees:

  • The old Exum toilet on the lower saddle of the Grand Teton.
  • Northstar-at-Tahoe XC trail Swiss hut.
  • "Outhouse built out over the ocean on the Utila Cays in Honduras. It has a little window cut out of the side wall so you can see the other Cays off in the distance."
  • “The hole carved in the granite slab at the Grand Mulet Hut (Mount Blanc region, France). The ‘alluvial cone’ is most impressive.”
  • The Emma and Marceline Yurts, Leadville, Colo.
  • Third Pass, Inca Trail, Peru.
  • Next to a public use cabin at Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. “When the door is open you have a great view of a calving glacier.”
  • Abeyta Jackass Mine, Darwin, Calif. “At the top of a high mountain peak is an old miner's outhouse with no more walls. Just the throne overlooking Death Valley National Park.”
  • Havasupai trailhead, Arizona.
  • “The stone outhouses at Camp Muir, on Mount Rainier. Nothing like a view of the Cascades from 10,000 feet.”
  • “The privy at Nine Stream on the Skokomish River in the Olympic National Park. But I'm biased, I helped install it.”
  • Overmountain Shelter (Avery, N.C.) on the Appalachian Trail.
  • “Top of the hill at the boat in campground at Carters Lake in northwest Georgia. No door on it and you sit 100-plus feet above the lake looking through a beautiful Georgia pine forest.”
  • Amber Zaragoza Mine, Trapper Creek, Alaska. “A beautiful view of Denali.”
  • “Open-air toilet on the side of Mount Baker (Washington state) at 6500 feet. You can see the lights of Vancouver BC at night.”
  • Grand Island, Upper Michigan. Campsite 3. “Just the pot and the great outdoors. Best view ever.”
  • Goodwin Green Hut outside Aspen. “Clear glass walls offer a great view at 12,000 feet.”
  • Top of Caines Head trail, Seward, Alaska, overlooking Resurrection Bay.
  • "Gaona Lua (composting toilet) perched in the middle of a lava field, with no enclosure whatsoever, halfway up the mountainside, back country Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Uninterrupted view of palm-lined beach and the Pacific."
  • The composting toilet in the Ishinca Valley, Peru. “Tough to beat for a view.”
  • Mountain House on Denali's Ruth Glacier, Alaska.
  • Antlers Campsite on the 100 Mile Wilderness (Maine) on the Appalachian Trail.
  • At Hamilton Lakes, along the High Sierra Trail, with a view of the Great Western Divide.
  • Beaver Woman Campground. Glacier National Park. “It's not an outhouse though. It’s a low rider (open-air toilet experience), so the view is that much better.”
  • Sierra Club hut on the Mount Baldy trail, San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. “Outhouse has a view down the valley. Gorgeous.”
  • Top of Chilkoot Trail, Coast Mountains, Alaska.
  • “Pants's the Yellow Mountain Barn; Appalachian Trail on the Tennessee/North Carolina border.”
  • “In Nepal, complete with goat tied up inside to keep you company!”
  • ”Best name: Fort Relief at Antlers campsite in the 100 Mile Wilderness.”

What privy would you renominate or add to this list? 

Posted on at 1:15 PM

Tagged: World Toilet Day, national parks, outhouse and privies

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Captain Kenito

Sahale Glacier privy at the top of the Sahale Arm in the North Cascades National Park. Best view I've seen for a privy.

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UUUuuuMMMmmm the LONG DROP TOILETS at Millenium Camp on Kilimanjaro, not for the feint of heart.. Not much of a view , except of eternity..


the second worst were at the Diesel Hut on Mt. Elbrus. ay caramba. i have pictures. shrinks would use them for shock therapy. .....


the outhouse at Erdene Zuu in Mongolia... had to go into therapy after using this "necessary room"....


Lookout Peak, near Priest Lake, Idaho.

Sheri N

The open air compost toilet at Hoh Lake, Olympic National Park. You look directly at Mount Olympus and the rest of the Olympic mountains while you do your business. Totally worth the hike!


The serene and beautiful Upper Crabtree Meadow west of Mt Whitney along (nearby) the JMT.

T.D. Wood Staff Member

Lots of great comments, folks. Has anyone visited the toilet above the shelter at Indian Bar along the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park? Take a look if you ever get the chance. It's a good one.


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