Lost Horse Guard Station

Bitterroot National Forest

The Lost Horse Guard Station was built in 1938 by request of George Case, Moose Creek District Ranger, to assist the Forest Service’s efforts to administer and manage the high country of the southern Bitterroot Range. Using funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the cabin was constructed by Emil Schwartz, from Wisdom, MT and known for a paying close attention to detail. Its quality of construction is evident through the minimal amount of required repairs and restoration over the 80 years since its construction. It is an excellent example of a Region One standard plan log cabin and guard station, with saddle-notched random-length log crowns, a drive through porch, native stone foundation and cedar shingle roof. The cabin features two sets of full sized bunk beds, a wood burning stove as the heat source and a propane cook stove. There is no drinking water at this cabin, please bring your own water for drinking, cleaning etc. There is no trash service at this cabin. PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT. Firewood is not provided at this time. 

Need to Know

Natural Features

The cabin resides nearly 18 miles from Highway 93 in the Lost Horse Creek drainage on the west side of the beatuful Bitterroot Valley. The Lost Horse Road was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The drainages on the west side of the valley differ from the surrounding landscape. These glacial carved canyons are home to towering peaks, craggy granite cliffs, serene alpine lakes, steep avalanche chutes, flowing creeks and cascading waterfalls. These features create a microclimate in the canyon that sustains a dense mixed coniferous forest that contains ponderosa pine in the lower/drier sites; Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western red cedar along the creek, and lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, Engelmann spruce and whitebark pine in the higher elevations. The Lost Horse Road provides access into the Bitterroot Mountains much further than the typical eastern boundary of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness can be accessed at Bear Creek Pass and Twin Lakes, which are both within 2 miles of the Lost Horse Guard Station. 


Visitors to the Lost Horse Guard Station have access to a multitude of recreation opportunities. 

Hiking: There are many trails that are close to the cabin. The Bailey Lake Trailhead is within walking distance. Travel one mile to the west to Bear Creek Pass and access the Bear Creek Trail, Lower and Upper Bear Lakes, Coquina Lake, Fish Lake and the South Fork of Lost Horse Creek Drainage. Travel 2 miles to the North to access the Twin Lakes Trail and Wahoo Pass Trail and the vast expanse of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. 

Fishing: Along with Lost Horse Creek, anglers can drive or hike to any of the lakes mentioned above. Expect to find Brook Trout, Westslope Cutthroat trout, Rainbow trout, Bull trout, Brown trout and Mountain Whitefish. DISCLAIMER* Some of the lakes in the area are in Idaho. Please obtain the appropriate licenses in the state that you will be fishing in. 

Hunting: Many species are at home in the Lost Horse Creek drainage. Hunters can strike out in search of whitetail deer, mule deer, black bear, elk and mountain grouse species. 

Skiing: With routine heavy snowfall, this area is a great opportunity for Cross Country Skiiers with some areas being groomed and lots of wild untouched snow. 

Over Snow Travel: While the road makes for an easier ride, deep powder can be found very easily in a variety of terrain for riders of any experience level. NOTE* Motorized travel is not permitted in the Wilderness Area

Horseback: Bear Creek Pass and Twin Lakes both feature ramps and hitching posts for those riders looking to either take a leisurely day ride or venture into the labyrinth of trails that disect the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. 

Kayak/Canoe/SUP: Just 2 miles from the cabin, motorized boats are prohibited on Twin Lakes, this makes for a great opportunity for non motorized craft. 

Opportunities for other activities such as climbing, bird watching, photography and general nature viewing abound in this area. 

Contact Information


P.O. Box 388 Darby MT 59829

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 406-821-3913

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