Bear Creek Bunkhouse (Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT)

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

The Bear Creek Bunkhouse allows visitors to experience southwestern Montana's vast wilderness areas, including wide open hills and the Lee Metcalf Widerness in the Madison mountain range . Situated on the Trail Fork of Bear Creek, the cabin offers a scenic location to enjoy nature. The cabin was constructed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as crew quarters and a garage. A larger cabin is located about 100 feet to the east and is also on the rental progarm.

The bunkhouse is used as an administrative site in the summer, but is open to the public between December and April. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing, though the state lands to the north of the cabin are closed to entry, being a Wildlife Management Area.

The site can be accessed by vehicle, however, a portion of the road may be muddy or snow-covered, as it is not always plowed. Visitors are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities, including water for drinking and cleaning.

This one room cabin has electricity and lights as well as two single beds with foam pads, which can accommodate up to two people. In addition to the beds, there is a table with chairs, refrigerator, stove, oven, basic cooking equipment and cleaning supplies.

The cabin has a wood stove for heat and firewood is provided and stacked to the east of the cabin. A rustic outhouse is located 150 feet east of the bunkhouse, near the larger cabin. Two additional toilets are available at the adjacent campground.

Visitors need to bring their own water, including for cleaning; the creek is the only source of water and may be difficult to access during the winter if the snow is deep. Sleeping bags and blankets are not supplied, and users will need to bring their own food, toilet paper and garbage bags. Garbage and cleaning services are not provided.  

There are no facilities for horses at the cabins or within the fenced cabin area. There are hitchrails and corrals in the adjacent campground but they may be occupied by the campsite users.

Renters must clean the facility prior to departure, as well as replenish the supply of split wood and kindling. The firewood supply can not be guaranteed so visitors may want to bring firewood, especially by March and April. Renters must supply their own wood for campfires as wood is supplied for cabin heating only.

Need to Know

Natural Features

The facility is located at the edge of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, at the foot of the Madison Range. The bunkhouse is situated at an elevation of 6,250 feet, amid open meadows that are surrounded by mature aspen and Douglas fir trees.

Bear Creek runs just behind the bunkhouse and nearby cabin, and the Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area (closed December 2 - May 15) lies immediately to the north. The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, mule deer, black bears and grizzly bears, mountain grouse, and other species (learn more about bear safety).

Nearby Attractions

Bear Creek is approximately 60 miles north of the west entrance to Yellowstone Park and about 60 miles south of Lewis and Clark caverns. The historic "old west" towns of Virginia City and Nevada City are about 30 miles to the west. The cabin is at the western edge of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.


Bear Creek is a very popular trailhead during all seasons but especially during hunting season. There are a variety of hiking and horseback riding trails in the area. This trailhead provides access to climb Sphinx Mountain, a must-do for many visitors. The trails are popular among visitors for cross country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

The nearby wilderness area does not allow motorized vehicles or bicycles. Camping and fishing in the backcountry is allowed, with the proper permits. The Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area immediately to the north of the cabin is closed to all off-trail access, including foot traffic, between Dec. 2 and May 15.

Contact Information



Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 406-682-4253

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From Ennis, take Highway 287 south for 11 miles, to Cameron, Montana. From Cameron, turn east on Bear Creek Loop and continue approximately 6 miles to the cabin. The last several miles is gravel or dirt, which may be muddy or snow-covered and may not always be plowed. Maps may be purchased by calling the Madison Ranger District.

Available Campsites

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