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part ofUmatilla National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Fri Nov 20 2015   Season Dates


Ditch Creek Guard Station, located about 27 miles southeast of Heppner, Oregon, is a cozy little cabin that accommodates six overnight guests, plus additional guests camped in a tent outside. Equestrian campers are welcome and a corral is provided.

The guard station was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s. It is a classic example of forest building structures of that era and is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Wintertime brings opportunities for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. These modes of transportation are necessary for accessing the cabin in winter.

Natural Features:

The cabin sits near Ditch Creek on a large, flat lawn surrounded by a dense pine forest at an elevation of 4,800 feet. The creek is one of numerous small perennial streams that flow south into the North Fork John Day River.

Deer and elk are likely to be seen in the area, and as evening falls, guests can watch bats flit and swoop above the yard.


The route to the cabin is located off the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, which boasts incredible views. Over 26 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails run throughout the Heppner Ranger District, ranging between 4100 and 5300 elevation, through forests and meadows with views of Ditch Creek. Fishing opportunities abound in nearby streams, Penland Lake and Bull Prairie Lake. Other activities include hunting for deer and elk, wildlife viewing and enjoying the scenic landscape.

Winter activities include snowmobiling and cross country skiing. The local snowmobile club takes on the responsibility of grooming 110 of the 173 miles of road designated for snowmobiling.


The cabin is a one-story building containing a bedroom, living room, kitchen nook and a bathroom. The cabin does not meet accessibility standards due to narrow doorways and halls. A picnic table, campfire ring and a 20' X 20' horse corral are located outside. Guests may pitch tents in the yard for additional sleeping options.

Two bunk beds and a dresser are in the bedroom, and the living room has a futon, a table with four chairs, two easy chairs and a heating stove. A refrigerator, cook stove, fire extinguisher, cookware, silverware and dishes are included in the kitchen. All appliances and lighting are propane, which is provided by the Forest Service.

No potable water is available. Guests must bring drinking water, food, bedding, matches, dish soap, a first aid kit and similar camping gear. Click here for more cabin details.

Nearby Attractions:

The nearest town with a general store is in Heppner, a 40-minute drive away.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Bed(s)
  • Beds & Foam Pads
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Fishing
  • Group Fire Ring
  • Hiking
  • Horse Corrals
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Area
  • Propane Lights
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Stove
  • Table & Chairs
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Entry to the cabin is by combination lock, which is provided on confirmation letter
  • Please call the district office prior to arrival to check on weather conditions and road access at (541) 676-9187
  • Access by skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles only from mid-November to mid-May
  • Parking is limited; please minimize the number of RVs and vehicles at cabin
  • Please bring garbage bags; this is a "pack in-pack out" facility
  • Hay brought to this facility must be certified weed-free
  • For current fire restrictions and closures, click here

  • Don't Move Firewood: Please protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by obtaining and burning your firewood near your camping destination. Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for further information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
45.11889, -119.34639
45°7'8"N, 119°20'47"W

From Lexington, OR, take Highway 74/207 east to Heppner. Continue south, on Highway 207. At the junction in Heppner, bear right to continue south on Highway 207. Just outside the city limits, take a left (east) on paved Willow Creek Road. Travel 23 miles past Willow Creek Lake, Cutsforth County Park and up Coalmine Hill. At the top of the hill, Forest Service Road 21 joins Willow Creek Road. Take a right (west) on FSR 21 (a gravel road) and travel 3.5 miles. The cabin is located on a hill on the north side of the road and is accessed by two short entrance roads (FSR 050 and 051).

In winter from mid-November to mid-May, part of FSR 21 is closed to automobile access. The closest parking is 5.5 miles away at Cutsforth County Park. From this point, access to the cabin will require skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

P.O. BOX 7
HEPPNER  OR  97836

Phone Number:

Information:  (541)676-9187
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