MONTANA NATIONAL FORESTS
Northern Region Headquarters
USDA Forest Service
Missoula, MT 59807
The forests operated by the National Forest Service, offer many cabins for rent for a small maintenance fee. The Forest Service also offers many lookout tower rentals in very scenic areas. Most cabins and lookout towers are equipped with woodstoves, tables, cots, mattresses, ax, shovel, bucket and cleaning gear. It is recommended that you bring your own sleeping gear (bedding is not included), food, and a Coleman cookstove. Utensils are available at some of the cabins, but not all of them. Electricity and piped in water is NOT included.
Many of the cabins were built from the late 1920ís to 1940 in order to provide field quarters for trail crews, timber cruisers, grazing inspectors and fire fighters. Permits must be obtained in person, or by mail, at least 1 week prior to use or reservations will not be guaranteed. Maximum usage is 14 days. Contact the ranger district that has administration over the cabin. Make checks or postal money orders payable to USDA Forest Service. A list of all people in the party is needed. Only one reservation per year per party. After use, burn all combustible waste materials, be sure fires in stoves are out, empty all bottles and cans, clean the cabin, leave a supply of firewood, and return the key.
Often the cabins are used during forest fires, so check to see what the late summer, early fall status on these cabins is. The cabins are open in the winter on a first come, first-served basis. Most cabins rent for $15-$20 a night unless otherwise noted. The cabins are listed individually under the various National Forests: Beaverhead/Deerlodge, Bitterroot, Custer, Clearwater (See Idaho section) Flathead, Gallatin, Helena, Idaho Panhandle (See Idaho section) Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo. Nez Perce.
Winter Activities: There are hundreds of miles of marked snowmobile trails, and cross-country ski tracks along forest service roads and other areas. The U.S. Forest Service has individual pamphlets on each system, length, etc. A few of the National forests publish pamphlets on camping, campfires, water and sanitation and other information.
BEAVERHEAD-DEERLODGE NATIONAL FOREST
420 Barrett Street
Dillon, MT 59725-3572
DEERLODGE NATIONAL FOREST
Butte, MT 59703
Straddling the Continental Divide and offering much of SW Montana, the 3.2 million acre Beaverhead/Deerlodge National Forest was formed in 1996, when the two units were merged into one, for administrative purposes.
President Theodore Roosevelt first proclaimed the Beaverhead and Deerlodge National Forest in two separate executive orders on July 1, 1908, pulling together lands earlier presidents had withdrawn as the Hell Gate, Bitter Root and Big Hole forest reserves between 1897-1905. In 1931, the Madison National Forest became part of the Beaverhead and Deerlodge Forests. In 1945, the west slope of the Madison Range was transferred from the Gallatin National Forest into the Beaverhead.
The name "Beaverís Head" first appears in Lewis and Clarkís journals in 1805. That year the two captains of the Corps of Discovery passed by the prominent rock shaped like swimming beaver during their trek to the Pacific. Sacajawea identified the rock as the spot where they would meet her people. Later, the river flowing past the rock was named after it. The Beaverhead River is a major tributary of the Jefferson Fork of the Missouri. Beaverhead Rock is located 14 miles NE of Dillon, Montana, along Highway 41.
The name "Deer Lodge" comes from the Deer Lodge Mound, a 40-foot-high geothermal formation at the site of present-day Warm Springs State Hospital. The moundís shape, with steam issuing from the top, resembled a large medicine lodge, and minerals in the water attracted large numbers of deer, so Indians in the area referred to the then-prominent landmark as the Deer Lodge. The formation was a major landmark for trappers and early travelers in the area who referred to the valley as the Deer Lodge Plain. The mound was described in detail in the journals of Father DeSmet, Granville Stuart, and others. It is still visible from I-90, through now obscured by trees and buildings.
There is a wide variety of recreation in the area. The Forest Services has forest maps, travelers maps and other information.
DILLON RANGER DISTRICT
420 Barrett Street
Dillon, MT 59725;
BLOODY DICK CABIN
($20 night) Open in the winter from 12/1-3/31, on weekends only. The cabin is a 1-room, wood-frame structure, with sleeping facilities for 3-4 people. There is a small woodburning stove. Try ice fishing in Reservoir Lake just down from the cabin. The cabin is a great base camp for discovering the area. If the road is closed you must use skis or a snowmobile. The Forest Service uses the cabin in the summer. There are 2 ways to access the cabin. From Dillon take Hwy. 15, travel S for 17 miles, turn right at Clark Canyon Reservoir (W into State Hwy 324). Drive 12 miles to Grant. Seven miles W of Grant, turn right onto the Bloody Dick Road, and drive 19 miles to a road junction with Reservoir Lake Campground. Follow the left fork down to the creek, cross Bloody Dick Creek and take a left. The cabin is in the timber 1/2 mile from the junction. Snow conditions vary from year to year. Another route to the cabin follows the Bloody Dick Road 181 S from Jackson. This is a snowmobile route in winter and is about 23 miles long. Just beyond Reservoir Lake Campground turn right. Follow this road down across Bloody Dick Creek and go left. The cabin is 1/2 mile from the turnoff.
HORSE PRAIRIE GUARD STATION
($20 night) Open everyday in the winter from 12/1-3/31. This cabin is located about 46 miles SW of Dillon. The cabin lies 5 miles W of Red Butte in the Station Creek Drainage, a tributary of Bloody Dick Creek. The cabin is on an open, treeless bench adjacent to Station Creek. The 2 room log cabin offers sleeping facilities for 4. There is a woodstove and propane cook stove. There is also a nearby spring and outdoor toilet. The Coyote Creek Road to the W of the cabin provides access to great cross-country skiing terrain. The Coyote Creek road runs about 7 miles to the top of the Big Hole Divide. The vertical rise from the cabin to the Divide is 1,500 feet. Over the snow, distance to the cabin varies from 1-6 miles. In the past, giardia was present in the water, so boil all water. In the winter sunglasses are recommended. In the winter the road is plowed within 1.5 miles of the cabin.
BIRCH CREEK CABIN
($20) Open everyday in the winter from 12/1-3/31 The cabin is one of the newer ones to open to the public, but is still very rustic. It is located 20 miles NW of Dillon. In past years the Birch Creek Road avoided access to within 1/4 mile of the cabin.
MADISON RANGER DISTRICT
5 Forest Service Road
Ennis, MT 59729
($20 Night) Open daily from 12/1-6/1. This is a new cabin to open to the public, located 32 miles SE of Dillon, Montana. Depending on snow conditions, snowmobile travel may be required up to 6 miles. Access is from Blacktail Road. The cabin sleeps 3.
BLACK BUTTE CABIN
($20 Night) Open from 7/1-4/30. The cabin is located 30 miles S. of Ennis, Montana, 20 miles NW on Standard Creek Road, in the Gravelly Range. The cabin can be reached by driving 20 miles off US Hwy. 287 S of Ennis, or 13 miles from Vigilante Guard Station. The cabin sleeps 4. Snowmobile travel may be required in the winter, with special travel restrictions.
BEAR CREEK CABIN AND BUNKHOUS
($20 night for the cabin, $40 for both) Open daily from 12/1-4/30. The facilities are near each other, 21 miles S of Ennis, Montana. The Cabin sleeps 4. The bunkhouse is for groups. Located on the border of Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, with wonderful cross-country skiing in the area.
($20 night) Open from 7/2-12/1. This is a very remote cabin, located 41 miles S of Sheridan, Montana. Access is by road by 4-wheel drive vehicle via Snowcrest Trail. The cabin sleeps 3.
WEST FORK CABIN
($30 night) Open from 7/2-3/31. The cabin is 40 miles S of Ennis, Montana. Access is by road in the summer, or over 30 miles in winter, by skis or snowmobile. The cabin sleeps 3.
WALL CREEK CABIN
($20 Night) Open from 5/16-12/1. The cabin is closed in winter, and is located 24 miles S. of Ennis, Montana. It sleeps 4.
WISDOM RANGER DISTRICT
Wisdom, MT 59761
($20 night) Open daily from 12/1-3/31. The cabin is located 25 miles W of Wisdom, and sleeps 4. Access is 5 miles by snowmobile from nearest road, or 3-1/2 miles by ski trail. The cabin has a woodstove, 4 beds and mattresses, and a Coleman stove and lantern. No electricity. There is an outhouse. Vehicles not allowed within the confines of the fence surrounding the cabin.
MAY CREEK CABIN ($20 Night) Open from 7/5-8/25 and 12/1-3/31. Take Hwy.43, 16 miles W. from Wisdom to May Creek Campground. Follow the trail 2 1/2 miles to the cabin. The cabin sleeps 4.
TWIN LAKES CABIN
($20 Night) Open daily from 12/1-3-31. Winter access is on a snowmobile trail 12 miles from end of a plowed county road, 26 miles SW of Wisdom, Montana. The cabin sleeps 4
WISE RIVER RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 100
Wise River, MT 59762
CANYON CREEK CABIN
($15 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is located 13 miles W of Melrose, Montana, and sleeps 4. Winter access depends on snow conditions. Most of the time a 4-wheeled vehicle can get to the cabin, otherwise it is a 6-mile ski or snowmobile trip.
($20 night) Open everyday in the winter from 12/1-8/31. The cabin is located 12 miles W of Wise River, MT at the N end of the Pioneer Mountains. The cabin sleeps 4. The nearest road is 12 miles, so a snowmobile is recommended. In the summer a road comes within 2.5 miles of the cabin.
DEERLODGE RANGER DISTRICT
11 Hollenback Road.
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
DONEY LAKE CABIN
($15 Night) Open daily, year around. Located 11 miles NW of Deer Lodge, the cabin sleeps 6. Access distance varies with snowfall, but usually you can drive within 5 miles of the cabin in the winter. The 1-room cabin has woodstove, bunk beds, table, chairs, dishes and wood. No electricity, plumbing, or water. Reservations can be made 14 days in advance, by telephone.
DOUGLAS CREEK CABIN
($15 Night) Open daily year around. The cabin is located 10 miles SE of Hall, Montana. Take Highway 1 S from Hall, approximately 2-1/2 miles to Douglas Creek. Take Forest Road 707 for about 7-1/2 miles to cabin. There is no water. Cabin sleeps 6.
PHILLIPSBURG, RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box H
Phillipsburg, MT 59858
($20 Night) Open daily, year around) The cabin is 19.4 miles NW of Phillipsburg, Montana. A 1/4 mile walk may be required from Dec 1-April 1, depending on snow conditions. The cabin sleeps 4.
MOOSE LAKE GUARD STATION
($20 Night) Open daily, year around. The guard station is located 24.3 miles SW of Phillipsburg, MT. A 1/4-mile walk may be required from Dec. 1 to May 1, depending on snow conditions. Sleeps 4.
JEFFERSON RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box F
Whitehall, MT 59759
HELLíS CANYON CABIN
($20 night) Open daily, year around. Located 30 miles SW of Whitehall. The cabin sleeps 4. Road access is not plowed. Access distance depends on snow conditions. The route to the cabin is S of Whitehall on Hwy 287. Go through Silver Star and turn off Road 125, depending on road conditions. From Hellís Canyon Road, 123, to the guard station is 14 miles of dirt road. A sawmill once stood near the site. The 1-room, 25' x 14' cabin has 4 beds, a woodburning cookstove, wood, first aid kit, 2 cots.
BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST
Forest Supervisorís Office
1801 N. 1st Street
Hamilton, MT 59840
The 1.6 million acre Bitterroot National Forest, in west central Montana and E central Idaho, is part of the Northern Rocky Mountains. National Forest lands begin above the foothills of the Bitterroot River Valley in 2 mountain ranges Ė The Bitterroot Mountains on the west and the Sapphire Mountains on the east side of the valley.
Forty-seven percent of the Bitterroot National Forest (743,000 acres) is part of the Anaconda-Pintler, Selway-Bitterroot, and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
Elevation ranges from 3,200 feet at the N end of the Bitterroot Valley to trapper Peak at 10,157 feet in the mountains on the south. In the Idaho portion of the Forest, elevations drop to about 2,600 feet along the Selway River and 2,200 feet on the Salmon River.
A wide variety of vegetation covers the spectacular terrain of the Bitterroot National Forest. The drier valley floor and lower foothills have an arid-land mix of sage, juniper and paintbrush, broken in places by ponderosa pine. Higher up, the land receives more moisture and provides habitat for stands of grand fir, Douglas fir, Western larch, birch and alder. In the upper elevations, are spruce, subalpine fir and the subalpine larch-found only in a few places in the United States.
There is a wide variety of wildlife species on the forest. The most popular are mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, moose and black bears. Grizzly bears are not known to inhabit the Bitterroot Forest, however, black bears are common. If you encounter one, donít panic-donít run, information on cabining, hiking in bear country is available at any Bitterroot Forest office.
Recreational opportunities: Include hiking, and riding on over 1,600 miles of trails, camping at 18 developed campgrounds, or staying in a wilderness cabin. Or raft, kayak, rock climb in the Stevensville Ranger District, hunting for many species of big-game, fishing for cutthroat and rainbow trout, and in the winter snowmobiling, alpine and cross-country skiing.
Climate: In the Bitterroot Valley average temperatures in June, July and August are 70-85 degrees F, in the daytime, and 40-50 degrees F. at night. At higher elevations, temperatures are generally 10 degrees lower with frosty nights or snow, possible any time of the year. July and August are generally warm and dry with extended periods of little or no rainfall. In the valley, average precipitation is about 1 inch per month. June is the wettest month; however, thunderstorms are frequent throughout July and August. Snow depth varies from 2-6 feet in the Sapphire Range and 4-10 feet in the Bitterroot Mountains. Snow usually begins to accumulate in October and may last until July at higher elevations.
Fire danger: Varies from year to year, but is most extreme in July and August. Fire has been historically important in shaping natural ecosystems. In most of the wilderness sections of the forest, naturally caused fires are allowed to burn if they meet specific criteria if they donít threaten life or property. Inquire about wilderness fires at the Forest Service offices when traveling in the forest.
Bitterroot National Forest has Ranger District offices at Stevensville, Darby, Sula and West Fork. The Forest Supervisorís office is in Hamilton.
Snakes: There are rattlesnakes along the Salmon and Selway Rivers, and at lower elevations in the Sapphire Mountains. Be observant around areas obscured by foliage, or near ledges when walking or hiking in rocky country.
Wood ticks: The tick season generally lasts from late March to early July, although it varies at different elevations. Wear layers of clothing to prevent ticks from reaching your body, and keep clothing snug around ankles, wrists and waist. Examine yourself at least twice daily to check for ticks. If a tick is embedded in your skin, remove it immediately without crushing it. Pull it gently with the fingers, forceps, or tweezers, being careful not to leave the head in your skin, and apply an antiseptic. Ticks in the mountainous regions of the northwest transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Colorado Tick Fever. If a flu-like, moderately severe illness occurs several days or weeks after finding a tick on your body, consult a doctor immediately. Tick season usually lasts from March through July.
Drinking Water:Water quality is generally high, but giardia has been detected in some mountain streams and lakes. Water should be boiled 5 minutes before drinking. Water may not be available on ridgetop trails and in late summer.
Campfires: Visitors building fires outside designated campgrounds are required to have a shovel and bucket during the established fire season from May 1-September 30.
There are 743,800-acres of wilderness on the Bitterroot Forest-The Anaconda-Pintler, Frank Church-River of No Return, and Selway-Bitterroot.
Selway-Bitterroot:About 35 percent of this wilderness is on the Bitterroot Forest. This portion is readily accessible from local roads along U.S. Highway 93 and the road following the Nez Perce Fork of the Bitterrrot River. More detailed information is available from Ranger District offices in Stevensville, Darby and West Fork.
About 25 percent of this wilderness is on the Bitterroot Forest in the SE corner. The portion is accessible from the East Fork Road near Sula. For further information contact the Sula Ranger District.
Frank Church-River Of No Return
Only one percent of the 2 million are wilderness is on the Bitterroot Forest. Access to this portion is by a Forest Service road that follows the Salmon River, the southern boundary of the Forest, or by the road to Elk City, which follows the Nez Perce Fork of the Bitterroot River. The Elk City route is generally not open until July 15, and there are no service stations or other commercial facilities from the West Fork Ranger Station to Elk City, Idaho Ė115 miles. For further information contact the West Fork Ranger District.
Float trips require a reservation and permit from May 15-July 31. Information and reservations are available from the West Fork Ranger District - 406/821-3269.
Permits and reservations are required to float the river between June 20 and September 7. Information and reservations are available from the North Fort Ranger District, North Fork, ID 83466, 208/865-2700).
Permits are not required in the Wilderness, but the following restrictions apply to wilderness use.
Party size limited to 15 people in the Anaconda-Pinler and 20 persons in the Selway Bitterroot and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
Pack stock maximum is 20 stock animals in one group.
Weedseed free feed for stock is required.
Camping is limited to 14 days in one area.
Motorized vehicles and mechanized equipment are not allowed in the wilderness.
Most trails shown on Forest Service maps are good hiking and riding trails. They are usually open and snow free by July 15. Opportunities for backpacking, horse riding, mountain climbing, and wildlife photography are numerous and varied. Consult the Forest Office nearest the area you intend to use for detailed information on trails.
The six mile Palisade Mountain Trail skirts the northern edge of the 20,000-acre Skalkaho Game Preserve and ends at Burnt Fork Lake in the Sapphire Mountains. Travel along the ridge trail offers views of the scenic Bitterroot Mountains and opportunities to see big game. The trailhead, 18 miles NE of Hamilton on the Willow Creek Road, has a developed campsite, horse-feed bunks, and hitchrails.
The 22-mile Easthouse National Recreation Trail follows the Skalkaho Mountain divide north from Skalkaho Pass, which is 26 miles E of Hamilton on Montana Highway 38. One fork of the trail joins the Palisade Trail. The other fork follows the divide north along the Skalkaho Game Preserve. Fourteen connecting trails provide opportunities for access and loop trips.
The Lake Como National Recreation Loop Trail, 17 miles SW of Hamilton, extends around the lake for 7 miles and includes a pack bridge across Rock Creek.
The Big Hole Battlefield Trail begins 6 miles south of the Sula Ranger Station at a trailhead on the E side of U.S. Highway 93. The route climbs 3.8 miles to the Gibbons Pass area. In 1877, Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe traveled the trail in their attempt to reach Canada. Scarred Indian trees and wagon ruts are visible along the trail.
Approximately 50 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail No. 9 occupies a portion of the SE boundary between the Bitterroot and Beaverhead National Forests. A number of developed trailheads provide access to Trail No. 9 Travel along this trail offers views of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and the picturesque Big Hole Valley. Deer, elk and other big-game species may also be observed as one makes their way along this pleasant byway.
Where garbage services are not provided by the Forest Service at campgrounds and other recreation areas, visitors are asked to pack-it-in, pack-it-out. Paper, fish entrails and other combustible garbage may be burned if you have a campfire, but aluminum foil, cans, pull tabs, and gum wrappers need to be carried out.
Topo Maps: Maps may be ordered from the Branch of Distribution, Central Region, U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25286, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225. Call the Supervisorís office for an index of maps for the area.
SULA RANGER DISTRICT
7338 Highway 93 S
Sula MT 59871
EAST FORK GUARD STATION
($30) Open daily year around, except hunting season, with a maximum stay of 7 nights. Located 16 miles E of Sula, Montana, on the East Fork (No. 472) of Bitterroot Road. Winter access may require 3/4 mile travel by skis or snowmobile. Electricity and firewood are provided. Equipped with woodstove, with three burner cooktop and fuel. The one-room cabin sleeps 8. The group facility sleeps up to 40 in a campground.
McCART LOOKOUT TOWER
($25 night) Open from 5/1-10/30, depending on snow conditions; maximum stay is 7 nights. The lookout tower is popular in the summer so book in advance. It is located 20 miles E of Sula, Montana, on E Fork Road No 472. Travel 5.5 miles up Forest Service road #5765 to the Johnson Peak Trailhead. An easy 1.5-mile hike leads to the lookout tower, and sleeps 4. The lookout tower was recently restored to its 1930ís era look. Great for families, but there is no water.
($25 night) Open daily year around, except from 10/15-12/1 (hunting season). The cabin is 10 miles SW of Sula, Montana, on Forest Service Road #370 about 6 miles north of Sula off U.S. Highway 93 to the Warm Springs Trailhead, located at the Upper Crazy Creek campground. Continue to the cabin by hiking six miles along the Warm Springs Trail. This is a roadless area. Winter access may require a 10 mile ski or snowshoe trek. Sleeps 6. The cabin is well equipped with water, woodstove, firewood, propane cooking stove, kitchen utensils. The range line cabin was built in 1952 on Porcupine Creek, in the Allen Mountains. Access may require a 9-mile ski or snowmobile trip.
DARBY RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 388
Darby, MT 59829
($50 Night) Open from 5/1-9/30. This is a group use cabin located 8 miles NW of Darby, Montana, on Lake Como., adjacent to Upper Como Campground. The cabin is used primarily for education, interpretative and informational meetings, workshops, and retreats. Advance reservations required. The well-provided cabin includes water, wood, heating stove, propane cooking stove, 3 bedrooms, large meeting room and a deck. The cabin sleeps 15. Great fishing.
WEST FORK RANGER DISTRICT
6735 West Fork Road
Darby, MT 59829
HORSE HEAVEN CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily year around, with a maximum stay of 7 nights. The cabin is located in a road corridor between two of the lower 48 statesí premier wilderness areas. From December through June, there is no vehicle access to the cabin. This is a very remote site, 57 miles by snowmobile in the winter on a primitive road. The cabin is 75 miles SW of Darby, Montana, 57 miles W of the ranger station on the Magruder to Elk City, Idaho. Road No 468. The one room log cabin sleeps 4. Equipped with a woodstove for cooking and heating with firewood provided, but no water. Snowmobile, cross country skiing and hiking nearby.
MAGRUDER RANGER HOUSE
($40 Night) Open 6/1-10/31, and 12/1-2/28. The house is 52 miles SW of Darby, Montana, in Magruder Corridor, adjacent to the Selway River. The cabin sleeps 5, and includes propane stove, refrigerator, lights, wood furnace, hot and cold water, shower, flush toilet (summer only).
CLEARWATER NATIONAL FOREST Ė SEE IDAHO SECTION
CUSTER NATIONAL FOREST
Billings, MT 59103
ASHLAND RANGER DISTRICT
Ashland, MT 59003
($20 Night) Open daily, ear around, with a maximum stay of 4 nights. The cabin is located 18 miles E of Ashland, Montana, on Beaver Creek. The cabin sleeps 4 persons.. There is a horse pasture and corral at the cabin, plus drinking water, woodstove, some utensils, and electricity.
FLATHEAD NATIONAL FOREST
GLACIER VIEW RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 190340
Hungry Horse, MT 59919
($40 Night) Open daily year around, 3 night minimum. The cabin is located 42 miles N. of Columbia Falls, Montana, on N Fork Road 210. Sleeps 12. All of the following are included: propane heat, cooking stove, refrigerator, lights, There is great skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. No pets allowed. Handicapped accessible.
($25 night, 3 night maximum.) Open daily from 12/1-3/31. The cabin is 44 miles N. of Columbia Falls, Montana. Winter access only by snowmobile or cross country skiing. Sleeps 6. No pets allowed. Firewood is provided.
HORNET LOOKOUT CABIN
($15 night, 3 night maximum) The cabin is 44 miles N of Columbia Falls, Montana, with winter access difficult. Sleeps 4. There is no water. Pets not allowed.
BEN ROVER CABIN
($40 Night, 3 night maximum) Open daily year around. The cabin is located 35 miles N. of Columbia Falls, Montana, on N. Fork Road 210, then E 1 mile to Polebridge. The cabin sleeps 8, and is equipped with propane heat, cook stove, refrigerator, lights, water from a hand pump well. No pets allowed.
($25 night, 3 night maximum) Open daily from 5/20-3/10. The cabin is 45.2 miles N of Columbia Falls, Montana, on North Fork Rd 210. The cabin sleeps 8 and is equipped with propane cooking stove and heat. Water is from a hand pump well. No beds or snowmobiles allowed in Ford Access area from 10/15-5-10.
HUNGRY HORSE RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 190340
Hungry Horse, MT 59919
($40 night, 3 night maximum) open from 6/1-3/31. The cabin is 48 miles E Of Hungry Horse, Montana, on U.S. Hwy. 2, then 2 miles S on a gravel county road. The cabin sleeps 8 and is equipped with propane heat, cooking, electricity, water from a hand pump well. No water at other times. During the winter, park off US 2, and then next 2 miles by snowmobile or cross-country skiing. Grizzly bears known in the area, availability with certain restrictions. No pets.
($25 Night, 3 night maximum) Open daily from 12/1-3/31. The cabin is 51 miles E of Hungry Horse, Montana, on US Hwy. 2, and 7 miles E trail system on Skyland Road. The cabin sleeps 6, and is equipped with propane cooking stove, lights, wood heat, no water. Parking is off US 2, and then the next 7 miles by skis or snowmobile. No pets allowed.
SWAN LAKE RANGER DISCTRICT
200 Ranger Station Road
Bigfork, MT 59911
MISSION LOOKOUT CABIN
($25 Night, 3 night maximum) Open daily from 6/1-8/15 and 9/15-10/20. The cabin is 3 miles SW of Swan Lake, Montana, at the end of Forest Road 9803. The cabin sleeps 4, and is equipped with propane cook stove, but no water. There is a pit toilet. No pets allowed. Grizzly bear restrictions apply.
GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
Bozeman, MT 59715
BIG TIMBER RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 196
Big Timber, MT 59011
WEST BRIDGER STATION ($20 Night) Open daily year around. The cabin is 27 miles SE of Big Timber, Montana, on W. Bridger Road. There is a 1/4 mile driveway to the cabin that sleeps 4. Winter access varies with snow conditions. The cabin is equipped with wood heat and a cookstove. No power or drinking water.
DEER CREEK CABIN
($20 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 33 miles S of Big Timber, Montana on I-90, 11 on W Bridger Creek Road, 4 miles S and SE on trail by foot or horseback. There is a primitive road the last 1/2 mile to the trailhead, not recommended for low clearance vehicles. Hikers need to ford Lower Deer Creek many times. There are corrals for horses, and supplemental feed is required. The cabin sleeps 4, and is equipped with wood heat and a cookstove. No power or drinking water provided.
($30 night. Open daily year around. Reservations can be not be made more than 2 weeks in advance from 6/1-9/30. The cabin is 42 miles S of Big Timber, Montana, in Main Boulder Canyon. The cabin sleeps 5, with winter access by snowmobile or cross-country skis. Grazing livestock is not allowed in either administrative pastures. The cabin is equipped with power, electric stove, refrigerator and woodstove. No water is provided.
WEST BOULDER CABIN
($30 night) Open daily year around, but reservations cannot be made more than 2 weeks in advance from 6/1-9/30. The cabin is located 30 miles SW of Big Timber, Montana on W Boulder River, adjacent to F/S campground. There is a gravel road the last 14 miles, with winter access by snowmobile or snowshoes a short distance on a county road. The cabin sleeps 6, and is equipped with power, electric stove, wood stove, refrigerator, but no drinking water.
BOZEMAN RANGER DISTRICT
3710 Fallon St., Box C
Bozeman, MT 59715
BATTLE RIDGE CABIN
($25 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 20 miles NE of Bozeman, Montana, with road access to the cabin, and plowed within 1/4 mile in winter. The cabin is 1/4 mile W of State Hwy 86. Access by a spur road off the highway, one mile N of Brackett Creek. Accessible by snowmobile or cross-country skis. Cabin sleeps 4, and has a woodstove. Handicapped accessible.
FOX CREEK CABIN
($25 night) open daily from 12/1-10/15. The cabin is located 14 miles S of Bozeman, Montana, with trail access from nearest road 8.5 miles. Winter access varies with snow conditions. The cabin sleeps 2.
GARNET MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT CABIN
($25 night) open daily from 12/1-10/15. The cabin is 10 miles SW of Bozeman, Montana, with trail access from nearest road 3.5 miles in summer, 10 miles ski or snowmobile trip required in winter. Cabin sleeps 4.
LITTLE BEAR CABIN
($25 night) Open daily, year around. Located 2 miles S of Gallatin Gateway, Montana. The cabin is 1/10 mile E of road No. 6988 in the NE 1/4 of sec. 18, T4S, R5E. Accessible by snowmobile or skis in winter, or drive to cabin in summer. The cabin sleeps 6, and has a woodstove.
MYSTIC LAKE CABIN
($25 night) Open daily from 12/1-10/15. The cabin is 8 miles SE of Bozeman, Montana, S on Mystic Lake. This area is closed to motorized vehicles. A road is plowed in winter within 5.2 miles of cabin. The cabin is 5.3 miles from the trailhead at New World Gulch, accessible by skis or snowmobiles. The area is closed to motorized vehicles. The cabin sleeps 4, and has a woodstove.
SPANISH PEAKS CABIN
($25 night) Open from 12/1-4/30. Located 23 miles SW of Bozeman.. The road is normally plowed in winter within 5 miles of cabin. Take Hwy. 191 S from Bozeman about 22 miles then follow South Fork Spanish Creek signs. The road is often plowed up to the turnoff in section 11 of your map. Snow drifts above this point prohibit further vehicular traffic. The cabin is 4 miles from this point. After the sixth cattle-guard, you cross Spanish Creek and see a road going off to the left, with a wire gate and an administrative site sign. Go through gate and follow signs to cabin. The cabin is 5 miles from parking area. The cabin sleeps 4.
WINDY PASS CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily from 6/1-10/15. The cabin is 28 miles S of Bozeman, Montana, with a trail access from road of 2.5 miles. There is a 1,300 foot elevation gain. The cabin sleeps 4.
WINDOW ROCK CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily, year around. Located 15 miles S of Bozeman, Montana, S of Hyalite Reservoir.. The road is plowed within 5 miles of the cabin in winter. Take S l9th St. from Bozeman until you come to Hyalite road. The road may be plowed due to logging activity. Follow the road to the reservoir, then around the left side of the reservoir proceed up the main fork of Hyalite road until you reach the Window Rock Station sign. Follow this road off to the right, go around the gate, and follow the road up to the cabin. The cabin is about 13 miles from the turn-off at l9th St. The cabin sleeps 4.
YELLOW MULE CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily from 12/1-10/15. Located 35 miles SW Or Bozeman, or 14 miles W Or US Hwy. 191. The nearest access by ski is 14 miles in winter. Snowmobiles recommended in winter. To get to the cabin take 191 S. 5 miles past Big Sky ski resort to Doe Creek Road. Turn up Doe Creek Road and park beyond the cattle guard. Follow the road up the ridge, then follow the ridge to the Yellow Mule Cabin sign. The cabin sits 300 yards down a draw and is not easily seen from the ridge. The cabin is 13.5 miles from the parking area. Not recommended for ski parties because it is a 14 mile trip. There is an 8 mile hike during the summer. The cabin sleeps 2.
HEBGEN LAKE RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 520
W. Yellowstone, MT 59758
BASIN STATION CABIN
($25 night) Open daily, year around. Located 6.25 miles W of West Yellowstone on US 191, and then 2 miles N on Hebgen Lake Road. The cabin is accessible by skiing or snowmobiles only in winter. Road access in the summer. The cabin was built in the 1900ís and served as a base station for the Forest Service for many years. It sleeps 4. There are 2 woodstoves, one for heating, one for cooking, tables, double bed, sofa bed, ax, handsaw, and outdoor toilet.
BEAVER CREEK CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 21 miles NW of West Yellowstone, Montana. There is a plowed road within 3 miles of the cabin, with accessibility by cross-country skis or snowmobile in winter. There is road access in summer. The cabin sleeps 4.
CABIN CREEK CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 22 miles NW of West Yellowstone, Montana, with access by horseback or hiking in summer, or snowmobile and cross-country skis in winter. The cabin sleeps 4.
($25 Night) Open daily, from 11/1-4/30. The cabin is 19 miles SW of Big Sky, Montana. The road is plowed within 3 miles of the cabin in winter, and is accessible by cross-country skis or snowmobile. Road access in fall and spring. The cabin sleeps 4.
GARDNER RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 5
Gardner, MT 59030
ROUND LAKE CABIN
($20 Night) Open daily from 6/15-9/15. The cabin is 4.5 miles N of Cooke City, Montana, outside Yellowstone National Park. Winter access is by snowmobile or skiing from Cooke City, in the summer hiking or 4x4 up Round Lake Road (primitive) from Fish Creek Road. Foot access is required the last 400 yards. The cabin is primitive, and sleeps 4.
KERSEY LAKE CABIN
($30 night) Open daily from 6/16-9/15 and 12/15. The cabin is located 4 miles E of Cooke City, Montana, on Kersey Lake. During the winter, access is by skis or snowmobile from Cooke City. During the summer a hike of 1.5 miles along Russell Creek Trail is required. You can also use mountain bikes or ATV along Kersey Lake Jeep Road, with foot access the last 400 yards. The cabin sleeps 10.
LIVINGSTON RANGER DISTRICT
5242 Highway 89 South
Livingston, MT 59047
BIG CREEK CABIN
(25 night) The road was recently repaired after severe flooding. The cabin is located 35 miles S of Livingston, Montana on U.S. Hwy. 89, then 5 miles W on Big Creek Road. The Big Creek Road is plowed within 1/2 mile of the cabin in winter. Walk, ski or snowmobile the last 1/2 mile from Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. There is car access in summer. The cabin sleeps 10, and is equipped with a wood cook and heating stove, lantern, but no water.
BENNET CREEK GUARD STATION
($25 Night) Open daily year around. The cabin is 20 miles N of Wilsall, Montana, on Hwy. 89 on Shields River Road. Winter access is by snowmobile or skis the last 5 miles. High clearance vehicles only in the summer. The cabin sleeps 5, and is equipped with wood heat, propane cook stove, lanterns, but no drinking water.
($25 Night) Open daily year around. To get to the cabin go 1/2 mile N of Clyde Park on Hwy. 89, turn right on Cottonwood Creek road. The Cottonwood Creek road is well signed. Go NW about 10 miles until you reach the parking area. High clearance vehicles only in summer. Skis or snowshoes or snowmobile needed for the last 3 1/2 miles in winter. The station was built in 1939. The 16' x 17' cabin features 5 beds, outdoor toilet, table, chairs, lantern, and a woodburning cookstove. No water. The stove will not heat the cabin very well.
PORCUPINE CREEK CABIN
($25 night) Open daily year around. The cabin is 16 miles NE of Wilsall, Montana. Located 16 miles NE of Wilsall, MT. The road is plowed within 1.5 miles in winter. The cabin is on the N edge of Wilsall on Hwy. 89, turn E on black top county road, continue N about 8 miles to the Porcupine road. Turn W. and proceed 8 miles to the cabin. The last 1-1/2 miles is by skis or snowshoes in winter. High clearance vehicles only. The 4 rooms in the 26Ď x 44í frame house have 1 couch, 8 bed frames, table, heating and cookstove, but stove not in good condition, so bring a Coleman cookstove. The cabin sleeps 8.
TRAIL CREEK CABIN
($25 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 20 miles SW of Livingston, Montana at the N. end of the Gallatin Mountains. Access is via Goose Creek Road, and in summer the last 4 miles is restricted to vehicles 4 feet wide or less. The trail is 3 miles from parking lot to cabin. Winter access varies depending on snow conditions. The cabin sleeps 4, and is equipped with wood heat stove, lantern, but no drinking water.
HELENA NATIONAL FOREST
HELENA RANGER DISTRICT
2001 Poplar Street
Helena, Montana 59601
INDIAN FLATS CABIN
($25 Night) Open daily, year around, with a maximum stay of 5 nights. The cabin is 40 miles NE of Helena, Montana, with access in winter by cross-country skis or snowmobile the last 7 miles. Access may be restricted during spring breakup. The cabin sleeps 4.
($25 Night) Open daily, year around, except 4/15-6/1, with a maximum stay of 5 nights. The cabin is 40 miles SW of Helena, Montana, with access via Little Blackfoot Road at Elliston. The road is plowed within 7 miles of the cabin, with access restricted during spring breakup. Cabin sleeps 4.
($25 night) Open daily, from 12/1-3/31, with a maximum of 5 nights stay. The cabin is 18 miles SW of Helena, Montana, with road access plowed to within 2 3/4 mile of cabin. The last 3/4 mile is not open to motorized vehicles. Cabin sleeps 2.
TOWNSEND RANGER DISTRICT
415 S. Front
Townsend, MT 59644
BAR GULCH CABIN
($20 night) Open daily year around, with a maximum stay of 5 nights. The cabin is 24 miles NE of Helena, Montana. Barrier-free parking area near the cabin, with road access clear most of the year. Winter distance varies with snow conditions and may require snowmobile or skis the last 3.5 miles. The cabin sleeps 6. Handicapped accessible.
THOMPSON GUARD STATION
(25 night) Open daily, year around, with a maximum 5 nights stay. The cabin is 27 miles NE of Townsend, 17 miles W of White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Drive to cabin in summer, with scenic trails, high mountains and lakes nearby. A horse corral is available. Winter access varies, but is best from White Sulphur Springs with a 4WD, and then within 3 miles, then ski or snowmobile to cabin. It sleeps 6.
EAGLE GUARD STATION
($20 night) Open daily from 12/2-5/15. The cabin is 14 miles W of Townsend, Montana, with the last 4 miles not open to motorized vehicles. There is a 2-night minimum stay on holiday weekends. Cabin sleeps 6.
LINCOLN RANGER DISTRICT
Lincoln, MT 59639
($25 Night) open daily, year around, except during big game hunting season. Maximum stay is 5 nights. The cabin is 8-1/2 miles E of Lincoln, Montana, 1-1/2 mile SE of Hogum Creek Road. Access in winter is by cross-country skis or snowmobile. Road is usually plowed within 1-1/2 miles of the cabin. The cabin sleeps 4.
KOOTENAI NATIONAL FOREST
RR3, Box 700
Libby, MT 59923
CABINET RANGER DISTRICT
2693 Hwy. 200
Trout Creek, MT 59874
($25 night) Open daily from 6/15-10/15, depending on weather conditions. The cabin is on a tower and sleeps 4. The tower is 15 miles SW of Trout Creek, Montana, with an easy drive. There is no refrigerator, but there is a propane stove.
($25 night) Open daily from 6/15-10/15, depending on weather conditions. The cabin has a woodstove, propane stove, refrigerator, utensils, and 2 twin beds, but no water. The cabin is 8 miles from the ranger office. The area is often snowed in during winter, with a ski or snowmobile ride of 11 miles to the cabin. The cabin sleeps 4.
LIBBY RANGER DISTRICT
Libby, MT 59923
BIG CREEK BALDY MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT TOWER
($25 Night) Open daily from 6/1-10/1, depending on winter conditions. Located 20 miles N of Libby. The tower sleeps 5. There is a primitive road to the 1950ís tower. The tower has a woodstove with wood provided, a cookstove, and 2 beds, and sleeps 6. There is no water, but the Forest Service provides water containers when you pick up the keys to the tower. From the tower, at an elevation of 6,000 feet, you can see into Canada. Pick huckleberries in season.
REXFORD RANGER DISTRICT
Box 666, Eureka, MT 59917
MCGUIRE LOOKOUT TOWER
($20 Night) Open daily, year around. Located 15 miles SW of Eureka, Montana.. There is trail access 2 miles from Road No. 494. Take Othorpe Lake Road No. 854 out of Eureka, proceeding to Road No. 856 (Pinkham Creek Road). After 13 miles you will reach Road No. 494 (Sutton Ridge Road). Follow this road W until you arrive at Little Sutton Mt., a sign marks the beginning of the lookout trail. Follow the trail 2 miles to the lookout. The 6,970-foot mountain lookout was built in 1924. The Forest Service recently renovated the tower. There is a woodstove, table, bench, and shovel. No electricity. Bring your own water. Capacity is 4 in the 200-square foot structure. Make reservations in advance. They will issue keys to the gate and lookout.
WEBB MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT CABIN
($20 night) Open daily, year around. Located 20 miles SW of Rexford, MT. The cabin is open year around, sleeping 5. The road is normally plowed in winter within 11 miles of the cabin. There is a primitive road to the cabin. The cabin can be reached by taking Hwy. 37 to Koocanusa Bridge. At the W. side of bridge turn right on the FDR road and go to Road No. 337 (Boulder Creek Road). Then go to Road No. 7179 (Webb Mt. Road.), and at the top of the ridge take a left at the sign. The gate is visible at this point. The lookout is 1 mile past the gate, but the road is rough. The 5,988-foot mountain has been used for 30 years as a lookout. There is a woodstove, table, chairs, mattress, but no electricity. Permits issued on a first-come, first-served basis. You will need a key to unlock the gate, which is available at the Ranger Station. Cabin sleeps 5.
LEWIS AND CLARK NATIONAL FOREST
P.O. Box 871
Great Falls, MT 59403
JUDITH RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 484
Stanford, MT S9479
CRYSTAL LAKE CABIN
($25 night) Open daily from 10/15-4/30, with a maximum stay of 7 nights. The cabin is 35 miles SW of Lweistown, Montana, with a plowed road in winter within 6 miles. Early and late snow conditions may be marginal. The cabin sleeps 6. The cabin is located in the Big Snowy Mountains at Crystal Lake, 5.7 miles from the forest boundary. Permits on a first-come, first-served basis, in person, writing, or phoning prior to use. There is a woodstove, Coleman cookstove, table, bunks, cots, mattresses, but no water at the site.
DRY WOLF CABIN
(25 Night) Open daily, year around. Located in the Little Belt Mountains on Dry Wolf Creek, 15 miles SW of Stanford, MT. There is a well-maintained gravel road from Hwy. 87 which leads up Dry Wolf Creek. A short spur road off the main road leads directly to the cabin. Permits on a first-come, first served basis. Get the permit 5 days before using the cabin. There is a woodstove, but you are advised to bring your own wood. There is also a Coleman cookstove, refrigerator, and lanterns (propane). There is no water or electricity. There are 5 bunks, 1 cot, chairs, table, outdoor toilet. Sleeps 5.
MUSSELSHELL RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 1906
Harlowton, MT S9036
HUNTERS SPRINGS CABIN
($20 night) Open daily from 12/1-3/31. Located 40 miles NW of Harlowton. The cabin is open from 12/2-3/31. The cabin sleeps 8. The road is plowed in winter within 7 miles of the cabin. The cabin is located in the Little Belt Mountains. Permits are first-come, first-served, by phoning, writing, or appearing in person at the Musselshell Ranger District. The cabin has a woodstove, cookstove (propane), table, bunks, cots, mattresses, and drinking water nearby. Firewood provided.
KINGS HILL RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box A, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
CALF CREEK CABIN
($30 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 20 miles N of White Sulphur Springs, Montana, with access on Forest Road No 119. The road is not plowed in winter. The cabin is 8 miles from Hwy. 89. Wood stove and firewood is provided. Sleeps 4.
KINGS HILL CABIN
($40 night) Open daily, year around. Located at King Hills Pass, 31 miles N of White Sulphur Springs, Montana.. The cabin is 100 yards from Hwy. 89, with parking plowed in winter. It is near cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails. Firewood, electrical lighting, refrigerator and cooking facilities provided. No water. Sleeps 6
LOLO NATIONAL FOREST
MISSOULA RANGER DISTRICT
Bldg. 24A, Ft. Missoula
Missoula MT 59804
WEST FORK BUTTE LOOKOUT CABIN
($20 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 25 miles W of Lolo, Montana, S of Hwy. 12, The building is 14í x 14í, and is accessible depending on the weather. Winter access by skis or snowmobile for last 7-1/2 miles with elevation rise of 2,300 feet. Summer availability depends on weather. Sleeps 4.
HOGBACK HOMESTEAD CABIN
($50 night) Open daily, year around. The cabin is 25 miles E of Missoula, MT on I-90, then 29 miles S on Rock Creek Road. Winter access is limited to 1/2 mile walk. The first floor is wheel chair accessible. Sleeps 8. Handicapped accessible.
PLAINS RANGER DISTRICT
Thompson Falls, MT 59873
BEND GUARD STATION
($30 night, with a $5 charge for every person over 5 with a maximum of 16. Open year around. The cabin is 32 miles N of Thompson Falls, Montana, one mile from plowed road in winter. The cabin sleeps 5-16, and is equipped with electric heat, hot showers, full furnished kitchen. Check current road conditions.
The cabin is two stories, with 3 bedrooms. It is equipped with a water pump, wood stove.
PRISCILLA PEAK LOOKOUT CABIN
($15 night) Open daily from 6/1-10/1. The cabin is 10 miles NE of Thompson Falls, Montana. There is a steep 4-mile climb via trail to the lookout. No heat source. Weather conditions can be extreme. Sleeps 4.
COUGAR PEAK LOOKOUT CABIN.
($25 night) Open daily from 6/1-10-1. The cabin is 10 miles NW of Thompson Falls, Montana. The lookout cabin sits at ground level near the end of Road 403, with a 150 foot walk to lookout. Snow may limit vehicle access. Sleeps 4.
SUPERIOR RANGER DISTRICT
P.O. Box 460
Superior, MT 59872
($25 night) Open daily from 9/8-3/1, The cottage is 90 miles W of Missoula on I-90, Haugen Exit 16. The cottage has two bedrooms, one bath, fuel oil heat, hot water, kitchen . It sleeps 4, and is located on the grounds of Historic Savenac Nursery.
SAVENAC COOKHOUSE AND BUNKHOUS
($100 night) This is a group site open from 9/1-3/1. Located 90 miles W of Missoula on I-90, Haugen Exit 16. The bunkhouse has heat, with hot showers. The adjacent cookhouse has a dining room, and kitchen. Located on the historic grounds of Savenac Nursery.
UP UP LOOKOUT TOWER
($25 night) Open 6/15-11/15. The lookout tower is 90 miles W of Missoula Montana, on I-90, Ward Creek Exit 26, then about 18 miles on FS Road 889 and 3816. You can drive directly to the tower. Sleeps 4.