Vigilante Cabin

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

The Vigilante Cabin, also known as the Vigilante Middle House, offers a comfortable place to stay deep in the mountains of southwestern Montana along the Ruby River between the Snowcrest and Gravelly Ranges. The house boasts two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and has electricity and seasonal water. A bathroom, with a toilet and shower,is usually available from May - September. It is close to many outdoor recreation opportunities, including fishing, hiking and hunting, as well as off-road vehicle trails and gold panning.

The house was constructed in 1925 and served as the Ruby District headquarters. In the 1930s a Civilian Conservation Corp camp was established at the site and the adjacent houses and garage were constructed. The site also then served as a range experiment station. The white clapboard middle house is available for rent, while the two other houses on the property are still used by Forest Service personnel and volunteers throughout the year. Though usually quiet, this can be a busy site when work crews are using those adjacent facilities.

The cabin is accessible throughout most of the year by vehicle; however, a portion of the road may be difficult to navigate when wet or snow-covered and the last mile may not be plowed in winter. Guests are
responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring some of their own amenities.

The large, two-bedroom cabin has a bunkbed and single bed with mattresses in each bedroom to sleep up to six people. It has electric lights and a water heater, though water is limited to May through September. The
kitchen is equipped with an electric oven and stovetop, refrigerator, table and chairs, cookware and utensils. A wood stove heats the cabin, and firewood is provided, for inside use only.

The living room is fully furnished, and there is a functioning bathroom during the summer months, with running water, a sink, shower and a flush toilet. The
bathroom is sealed off when the water system at the cabin is winterized. An outhouse with vault toilet is available east of the house. A picnic table and a fire ring are located nearby but firewood is not provided for campfires.

Guests need to bring their own water, including enough for cleaning, from October to May. Other items to bring include bedding, pillows, towels, soap, matches, flashlight and garbage bags, among other
necessities. Guests are asked to replenish the supply of split wood and kindling inside the cabin, clean the cabin prior to leaving and pack out all food and garbage. If it came with you, it should leave with you.

Need to Know

Natural Features

Located along the Ruby River, the facility stands at an elevation of about 6,100 feet between the Snowcrest and Gravelly mountain ranges. It sits in a mostly open and grassy area with just a few cotttonwood trees around it, offering views of the nearby peaks. A variety of wildlife makes its home in the area, including elk, mule deer, black and grizzly bears, mountain grouse, and other species ( learn more about bear safety ).


Guests can enjoy fishing the Ruby River for mountain whitefish and rainbow trout. Gold panning is also possible in a section of the river near the cabin.

Big game hunting is possible in designated areas. Appropriate licenses are required.

A variety of hiking trails and points of exploration exist around the cabin. Off-road vehicle trails are also available in the area. During winter months, guests
enjoy snowmobiling and snowshoeing on the many nearby trails. Snowmobile use is not allowed on the Forest prior to December 2 of each year.

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 Sheridan, travel south on Highway 287 for about 10 miles to Alder. Turn south on Ruby River Road and continue about 22 miles to Vigilante Station. The last 20 miles are on a gravel road, which can be slippery when wet or snow-covered. The gate lock code is the same as the cabin. Maps of the area may be purchased by calling the Madison Ranger District.

Available Campsites

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