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EAGLE GUARD STATION, MT

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
 

Overview

Eagle Guard Station is located in high grasslands and surrounded by a scattered forest in the Elkhorn Mountains in west-central Montana.

The former Eagle Creek Ranger Station was built by miner Richard Owen in 1895. While his family lived there, the area was in a booming gold rush. In 1908, the cabin was taken over by the Forest Service for administrative use. It is the oldest administrative log structure on the Helena National Forest, predating the establishment of the Forest.

Today the cabin is a rustic retreat for guests seeking relaxation and recreation. The cabin is accessible by car, but the last 4 miles are only open to foot, horseback and cross-country ski traffic from December 2nd through May 15th. Several amenities are provided, but guests should be prepared to pack in some of their own supplies and gear.

Natural Features:

Eagle Guard Station is situated on the southeast flanks of the Elkhorn Mountains in a beautiful open grassland setting, an outstanding location for viewing elk.

Crow Creek Falls, the largest waterfall in Helena National Forest, is located within hiking distance of the cabin and is a sanctuary for many wildlife species, including the threatened Canada lynx, the sensitive goshawk and westslope cutthroat trout.

The area offers unique opportunities for viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. Bighorn sheep, mule and white-tailed deer, black bear, moose and a variety of birds are commonly seen. The more elusive badger, wolverine and mountain lion find habitat here as well.

Recreation:

Eagle Guard Station provides guests with outstanding opportunities for photography, fishing, hunting, and hiking.

The area offers centralized access to the Elkhorn Mountains with numerous hiking trails and roads leading to the Elkhorn's historical resources. Popular hikes include those to Crow Creek Falls and Poe Park. An interpretive trail is accessible just beyond the cabin.

When snow allows, skiing gives visitors an up-close look at concentrations of wintering elk.

Facilities:

The entire site consists of the cabin, a woodshed, vault toilet, barn, horse corrals and a fire ring. The cabin can accommodate up to six people on three sets of bunk beds with mattresses. A wood stove provides heat and a propane camp stove can be used for cooking. The kitchen is equipped with a table and chairs, dishes, propane lantern, utensils and cookware.

An axe and snow shovel are provided. Firewood may be available, but it is not guaranteed.

There is no available potable water or electricity at this facility. Guests must bring a sufficient amount of water for drinking, cooking and washing, as well as one or two small propane canisters to use with the propane stove and lantern.

Guests need to provide their own sleeping bags, flashlights, linens, towels, dish soap, matches, first aid kit, toilet paper and garbage bags. All trash and food should be packed out, and guests should clean the cabin before leaving.

Nearby Attractions:

Historic town sites and mining areas such as Elkhorn, Hassel, Ruddville and Diamond Hill mines are nearby for guests interested in the mining history of the Elkhorns.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Axe
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Bunkbed(s) With Mattresses
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Firewood
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hitching Racks
  • Horse Corrals
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Interpretive Trails
  • Mountain Biking
  • Propane Lantern (Fuel not provided)
  • Propane Stove
  • Snow shovel
  • Snowshoeing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trails
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Wood Stove
Within 10 Miles
  • Fishing
Know Before You Go
  • There is no electricity, water or indoor plumbing at this facility
  • Entry to the cabin is by combination lock; please call the Townsend Ranger District at (406) 266-3425 prior to your arrival to obtain the combination
  • Please print and be prepared to present your confirmation letter to officials
  • Cabin is accessed by a gravel road and is not plowed for snow; there are narrow spots with poor visibility; please drive slowly and use caution
  • No motorized vehicles allowed during winter closure periods
  • Please contact the Townsend Ranger District prior to arriving at the cabin to check on any restrictions or conditions, such as fire or road closures, weather or storms that may affect the quality of your visit
  • Do not leave food or trash outside the cabin
  • All garbage and food must be packed out
  • The cabin is a no-smoking facility
  • Please clean cabin upon departure
  • Make sure cabin is locked upon departure
  • Keep open fires within the campfire ring
  • Hay must be certified weed-free; out of state horses must have current Coggins test
  • Amenities such as dishes, utensils and firewood cannot be guaranteed
  • Guests should be aware that there is a risk of exposure to hantavirus when visiting remote cabins; click here to learn more
  • Learn more about the Helena National Forest


  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit don'tmovefirewood.org.
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit don'tmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.32389, -111.74444
46°19'26"N, 111°44'40"W

All mileage is approximate from the highway.

From Helena, take Highway 287 for 26 miles southeast towards Townsend, Montana. Turn right on Indian Creek Road just before crossing the Missouri River. Travel for 3 miles, then turn left onto Forest Road #4031 (purple sign). Travel 5 miles to an intersection and stay to the right. This road will lead down a hill, into a narrow canyon and under a conveyor belt for the current mining operations in that area. Stay to the left, but continue on Forest Road #4031 for another 2.5 miles. Turn right and travel 0.5 miles to the cabin.

From December 2 through May 15, the last 4 miles are not open to motorized vehicles. Access to the cabin is by foot, ski, or horseback.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

EAGLE GUARD STATION
415 S. FRONT STREET
TOWNSEND MT 59644

Phone Number:

Information: (406)266-3425