Overnight at the Historic Bull River Guard Station

Precipitation finally found its way to Montana helping to damper the forest fires and clear out most of the smoke. Eager to get out and explore more of the state before we move on in a few weeks we packed up the car and spent a few days in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. Five String has been interested in staying at the Bull River Guard Station for a while now and lucky for us it was available for the weekend.

The Bull River Guard Station was built in 1908 and served as a ranger station for the forest service until the 1970’s. The structure was designed and built by Granville ‘Granny” Gordon (a personal friend of President Theodore Roosevelt) and has a ton of history. The guard station underwent restoration in 1989, but it still retains the original layout. You can still see the 1910 era newspapers that were used to paper the walls when Granville, his wife, and three daughters lived at the guard station.

The inside of the guard station now features electricity, heat, a stove, and a refrigerator. The only amenity lacking is running water and an indoor bathroom (there is an outhouse just off the back porch). The Bull River Guard Station was way bigger than our family needed with four bedrooms, a sitting room, and a kitchen. Being an older structure situated in the wilderness it definitely attracts its share of rodents and insects. Five Spice spent the first hour sweeping away dead bugs and rodent droppings. We choose to do most of our cooking and eating outdoors and store our food in the car, which helped make sure that we didn’t attract the attention of “furry creatures”.

The view of the Cabinet Mountains from the guard station is stunning. The Bull River can be accessed in just a short walk and across the road is a huge grove of cedar trees. The weather cooperated and we spent most of our time hiking, walking along the river, and playing under the cedar trees. The number of hikes accessible from the area is amazing and we can see why the Bull River Guard Station is usually booked by guests throughout the year. We spent the ride home imagining all the other recreational possibilities that the guard station offers if we visit again in the summer or winter.