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BAR GULCH, MT

part ofHelena National Forest, US Forest Service
Photo: BAR GULCH
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
 

Overview

Bar Gulch Cabin is located in the Big Belt Mountain Range in Helena National Forest. The cabin was originally constructed in the 1930s on Forest Service lands to be used for mining purposes. Instead, it was used for recreational purposes and issued a special use permit, which was transferred to several owners until it was donated to the Forest Service in 1988.

Today the cabin is a rustic getaway for guests seeking relaxation and recreation in west-central Montana. It is accessible by car, but snow removal is not provided in winter. The cabin offers several amenities, but guests should be prepared to bring some of their own supplies and gear.

Natural Features:

Bar Gulch Cabin sits in a grassy, open clearing surrounded by a canopy of mixed-conifer forest.

The area around the cabin offers a variety of landscapes, from river banks to subalpine terrain. Valley bottoms, dense forests, meadows and barren ridges are mixed with streams, rivers and lakes.

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

Recreation:

Guests at the cabin can step out to several hiking opportunities right out the backdoor. Belt Divide Trail and Bar Gulch Trail are favorites in the area. Bar Gulch Trail is actually an old road through a timbered gulch, and is mainly used for hunting.

The Ridge Trail, located along the crest of the Big Belt Mountains, is a favorite for those on foot, offering expansive views of the surrounding mountain ranges as well as overnight camping opportunities.

Guests can take advantage of boating and fishing at Canyon Ferry Lake, which is only five miles away. The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, perch, ling and walleye. The wildlife viewing near the lake is quite impressive as well. It is one of the best in the country for viewing large concentrations of bald eagles. A wildlife management area at the end of the reservoir is home to a colony of terns and pelicans.

Facilities:

The small, single-room cabin can accommodate up to six people with two bunkbeds and a full-sized bed with mattresses. The cabin has a skylight, an antique cook stove, propane lanterns and a wood stove for heat. The kitchen is equipped with a table and chairs, a propane stove, some cooking utensils and cookware.

A picnic table, campfire ring and accessible pit toilet are outside. An axe and snow shovel are available. Firewood may be stocked at the cabin, but it is not guaranteed.

The cabin does not have electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. Guests must bring a sufficient amount of water for drinking, cooking and washing during their stay. Propane is not provided for the lanterns or propane stove, so guests must bring one or two small cylinders.

Bringing an additional light source is also recommended. Other supplies to bring include sleeping bags, linens, towels, cooking gear, dish soap, matches, first aid kit, toilet paper and garbage bags. Guests are expected to pack out all trash and food and clean the cabin before leaving.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Pit Toilets
  • Axe
  • Bed(s) With Mattress
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Bunkbed(s) With Mattresses
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Firewood
  • Fishing
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Mountain Biking
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Picnic Area
  • Propane Lantern (Fuel not provided)
  • Propane Stove
  • Snow shovel
  • Snowshoeing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trails
  • Wood Stove
Within 10 Miles
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Lake Access
  • Swimming
Know Before You Go
  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Forest Service does not provide snow removal to the cabin
  • 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
  • Amenities such as cookware, cooking utensils, firewood and lanterns cannot be guaranteed
  • A water hand pump is available on site, though is not potable
  • 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 dontmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.69694, -111.62417
46°41'49"N, 111°37'27"W

Bar Gulch Cabin is located 24 miles from Helena and 30 miles from Townsend on Magpie Road (#425). From Helena, take Canyon Ferry Road over the dam, past Kim's Marina. Continuing east, watch for a left-hand turn onto Magpie Road. From this intersection, proceed up Magpie Road 3.9 miles. Turn left on Bar Gulch Road. Continue on Bar Gulch Road approximately .25 miles to the cabin. The cabin is located on the left.

Access to the cabin is good and does not usually require a 4-wheel drive vehicle but the Forest Service does not provide snow removal to the cabin.

Please respect the private lands that are near the cabin site.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

BAR GULCH
415 S. FRONT STREET
TOWNSEND  MT  59644

Phone Number:

Information:  (406)266-3425
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