Battle Ridge Cabin in the Bridgers

November 13th, 2008

The Battle Ridge Guard Station cabin

The Monarch rangeThree words: Forest Service Cabins. Best things ever. Did you know you can rent out old National Forest guard stations and fire lookouts? Well, you can, and it’s amazing. The fees keep going up, but they are still insanely reasonable. For around $40 you can rent out a whole cabin for the night, and there are some sweet cabins around southwest Montana. I’ve been to three now, all of which were admittedly picked for easy access for partying. However there some quite remote ones as well, placed well up in the mountains. My goal this winter is to see how well they work as ski cabins. Since Montana doesn’t have the enviable hut networks of Colorado and British Columbia the FS cabins are all we’ve got, so, it’s worth checking out (although we do have a yurt now over the Tobacco Roots). I’ll keep the world posted here on my blog as I explore them. :)

Battle Ridge Forest Service cabinThis time we stayed at the Battle Ridge Cabin, an old guard station just north of Bridger Bowl in the Bridger range. Yes, our goal was just to party, so yes, it was a pretty tame drive-up cabin. And while it is “in the Bridgers”, it’s right by the road between the Bridgers and the Bangtails, quite a long way from any skiing, making a poor ski cabin. It’d be a fun winter retreat anyway, but not for skiing. Anyway a group of five of us headed up there this past weekend. One of our crew was a roommate from a few years ago and I hadn’t hung out with him much since he took a job in South Dakota, so it was fun to catch up and relive old times. Which, considering “old times” also involved drinking games, is exactly what we did.

A brief note about how the cabin thing works, if anyone wants to know, is that you call up the Forest Service or go online and reserve it for as many nights are you want. It’s a flat rate for the whole cabin. The physical size of the cabin is the only limitation to the number of people you bring (although they tell you how many beds there are). They are locked, and you get the combination when you rent it. All Forest Service rules apply about things like cutting down trees or lighting fireworks (you can’t). Every cabin is different but most have at least a big wood stove to cook and keep warm with. I think a lot of them are stocked with wood, too. The wood stove/cooking range is a highlight for many people, as they are often hulking iron Monarch antiques. You have to clean the cabin up when you leave. Pretty straight forward, and lots of fun! Besides parties and ski trips the cabin are popular for hunting and romantic getaways. Gotta love our Forest Service!

Chopping wood for the stoveBunks in the cabinShenanigans

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2 Responses to “Battle Ridge Cabin in the Bridgers”

  1. Hey thanks for the tips! I am from Portugal and i think this cabins are great if you wanna experience nature, also is alot more interresing than spent a night in a normal hotel.
    In my future roadtrip to the west of USA, I will spend a night in these cabins!!!

    Can you please tell me if these cabins normally have shower?

  2. Thanks for stopping by Francisco!

    No, these Forest Service cabins do not have showers, or running water of any kind. No sink, no flush toilets. A very small number of them may (the descriptions usually say), but for the most part they are primitive, with just an outhouse.

    That’s part of the fun though! A real Montana experience. :) I hope you make your trip, and have a great time!

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