Do you enjoy exploring off the beaten path? Have you dreamed of a rustic adventure in the mountains? Stay in a Forest Service cabin during your next West Yellowstone adventure to experience the beauty of the area’s remote mountains in a rustic, old-fashioned setting.
Forest Service cabins were originally constructed during the 1920s and 1930s for use by early Forest Rangers working on projects in the field. Today, visitors can rent Forest Service cabins for use as basecamps during backcountry adventures or as rustic retreats from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
Before you make your reservation, keep in mind that Forest Service cabins offer basic, no-frills accommodations. Some cabins are still in use by the Forest Service and may have limited bedding, kitchenware, and firewood supplies. Moreover, none of the cabins in the West Yellowstone area have electricity or indoor plumbing.
Where are forest service cabins located?
There are four Forest Service cabins available for nightly rentals on a rent year-round basis near West Yellowstone in the Hebgen Lake District of Custer Gallatin National Forest. Though some cabins are easily accessible via a road or a short hike, others require a longer trek.
Beaver Creek Cabin (21 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, $30/night)
The drive to Beaver Creek Cabin takes you through a stunning forested canyon along Beaver Creek. The cabin sits below Hilgard Peak, which rises to an elevation of 11,316 feet, and can serve as a fantastic basecamp for exploring the trails and alpine lakes of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.
Visitors can drive straight to Beaver Creek Cabin in the summer months, but cross-country skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles are necessary to access the site in the winter. Cooking facilities and kitchenware are not available. The cabin can sleep up to four people in bunks (with two mattresses) and a sleeping loft, but visitors may need to bring extra bedding, depending on the number of guests. Mattresses are not provided in the winter and the firewood supply may be limited.
Directions: Take Highway 191 north from West Yellowstone for 8 miles. Turn left at Highway 287 and continue for 14.5 miles. Turn onto Beaver Creek Road and continue for 3.5 miles.
Cabin Creek Cabin (22 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, $30/night)
Cabin Creek Cabin is an ideal backcountry cabin for the adventurous visitor. The cabin sits at an elevation of 8,700 feet on the edge of a wooded area that opens to a picturesque valley with views of the Madison Range. From Cabin Creek Cabin, visitors can explore hiking trails through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in the summer and access the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail in the winter.
Guests can directly access the cabin via hiking trail #205 (Red Canyon to Cabin Creek Divide Trail) or Trail #151 (Tepee Road and OHV Trail). Visitors can also ride ATVs to the top of Trail #151 (Tepee Road and OHV Trail), but must park ATVs at the junction with Trail #205 and continue to the cabin on foot. In the winter months, guests can snowmobile to the site, but skiing and snowshoeing are not recommended due to the difficulty of the trail. The cabin sleeps up to four people, but no firewood, mattresses, or bedding are provided.
Directions: Take Highway 191 north from West Yellowstone for 10 miles. Turn left on Tepee Creek Road and continue for 6.5 miles to the trailhead for Trail #151. Continue on the trailhead for 5 miles to reach the cabin.
Basin Station Cabin (10 miles west of West Yellowstone, $30/night)
Basin Station Cabin is an easily accessible forest service cabin near the South Fork Arm of Hebgen Lake. The cabin rests in an expansive meadow in the Upper Madison River Valley with breathtaking mountain views. Guests are only a short distance from exploring Yellowstone National Park, hiking the Continental Divide Trail, or fishing on Hebgen Lake.
Visitors can drive to the cabin in the summer via Denny Creek Road and cross-country ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile to the site in the winter. Basin Station Cabin is equipped with a wooden cookstove and kitchenware. The cabin sleeps up to four guests and has a limited, seasonal supply of firewood. Guests must bring their own mattresses and bedding.
Directions: Take Highway 20 west from West Yellowstone for 8 miles. Turn right on Denny Creek Road and continue north for 2 miles.
Wapiti Cabin (Approximately 39 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, $30/night)
Wapati Cabin is a great option for visitors who want to explore the Taylor Fork area. The cabin sits in a beautiful alpine meadow near Wapiti Creek at an altitude of 7,000 feet.
Wapiti Creek Cabin is accessible via Wapiti Creek Road in the summer, but snowshoes, cross-country skis, or snowmobiles are required to access the site in the winter. The cabin sleeps up to four people and has a wooden cookstove with kitchenware, but mattresses and bedding are not provided. A limited, seasonal supply of firewood is available.
Directions: Take Highway 191 north from West Yellowstone for 33 miles. Turn on Taylor Fork Road (Forest Service Road #134) and continue west for approximately 4 miles. Turn on Wapiti Creek Road (Forest Service Road #2522) and continue south for 2 miles.
How should I prepare?
Visitors can reserve a Forest Service cabin online if they plan to book a stay more than three nights in advance. To make a reservation less than three nights in advance, guests must contact the Hebgen Lake District Office at (406) 823-6961.
Remember, Forest Service cabins only offer basic accommodations and some cabins may be more equipped than others. Check in with the Hebgen Lake District Office prior to your stay to confirm what amenities are available.
Depending on the cabin, visitors may need to bring:
- Sleeping bags/bedding
- Cookware/dishes, dish soap, garbage bags
- Drinking water and food
- Flashlights/lanterns, matches
Always be prepared with adequate food and water as well as appropriate seasonal clothing. Visitors should also be familiar with the necessary precautions for exploring bear country.
For those eager to explore the rustic side of the West Yellowstone region and venture off the beaten path, Forest Service cabins are the perfect alternative for a remote, scenic getaway. Book your reservation today!
AUTHOR: CAITLIN STYRSKY