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part ofLolo National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates


The Bend Guard Station is located in a historic site within the Lolo National Forest of northwestern Montana. It is equipped with modern features, including a full-service kitchen and bathrooms, and provides guests with access to a variety of activities.

The cabin sits within an open meadow surrounded by an evergreen forest, providing beautiful scenery during any season.

Natural Features:

The 3,200-foot elevation site has multiple structures and has previously been used as a ranger station for the old Cabinet National Forest, which was divided by the Forest Service in 1954. The original log cabin is on-site and was constructed in 1911.

While there are several buildings at Bend, the only one available for recreation rental use is the combined bunkhouse and cookhouse building. It was built in 1923 to house Forest Service work crews and rangers working in the area and was remodeled in 1984.

The 2 million-acre forest includes four wilderness areas and a wide variety of trees, plants and wildlife. The area is home to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, deer and grizzly and black bears. Both the bald and golden eagle reside in the forest, along with trumpeter swan, herons and dozens of varieties of duck.

The cabin is accessible by vehicle, but requires high-clearance with tire chains during winter months. Four-wheel drive is highly recommended as well. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.


The Bend area offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation experiences, including hiking, fishing, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and berry picking. A variety of trails snake around the campground and through the forest, several of which are accessible near the cabin.

The Thompson River is a short walk from the cabin. Anglers might see a variety of trout as well as mountain whitefish in the river.


The two-story cabin has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen and a living area. Beds with mattresses can sleep up to 16 people. It has electric heaters, flush toilets, hot showers and a fully furnished kitchen, with modern appliances including a two electric stoves, a microwave, refrigerator and two sinks with running hot and cold water. Basic cooking and eating utensils are also supplied.

Guests will need to bring their own bedding, food, toilet paper and garbage bags. The cabin will need to be cleaned before leaving and basic cleaning equipment is provided.

The cabin is available to rent year-round, except for the month of May, when it is reserved for administrative and educational uses. The building is also not available for rent on the first Tuesday of every month.

Nearby Attractions:

Fishing and water sports are available at Thompson and McGregor Lakes, both of which are a 30-minute drive from the cabin.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bed(s) With Mattress
  • Berry Picking
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Broom & Dust Pan
  • Campfire Circles
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Drinking Water
  • Electric Stove
  • Fishing
  • Flush Toilets
  • Group Camping
  • Heater
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Hitching Racks
  • Horse Corrals
  • Horse Staging Area
  • Horse Watering Station
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Hunting
  • Microwave
  • Mountain Biking
  • Oven
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Refrigerator
  • River Access
  • Showers
  • Snowshoeing
  • Table & Chairs
  • Trailheads
  • Utility Sinks
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • This facility is located in a remote area; before making a reservation, become aware of bear, water and weather safety
  • A week before your scheduled arrival, contact the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District during office hours to obtain the code for the lock box
  • All garbage, food and personal belongings must be packed out
  • Learn more about the Lolo 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):
47.90083, -115.03833
47°54'3"N, 115°2'18"W

From Thompson Falls, Montana, travel southeast on Highway 200 for about 4 miles, then continue 32 miles north on County Road 556. During the winter, it may be necessary to hike, ski or snowmobile for at least a mile to the cabin. Maps are available online or for purchase by calling the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

PLAINS  MT  59859

Phone Number:

Information:  (406)826-3821
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