Black Butte Cabin

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Black Butte Cabin is a snug log cabin that sits high in the Gravelly Mountains. Originally part of the old Madison National Forest, the cabin was built in 1919 as an intermediate summer station for inspections of sheep allotments. It sleeps four people and has a beautiful view of Lion Mountain and the headwaters of Standard Creek. The area is home to a variety of wildlife and provides access to numerous trails for hiking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles during warmer months, and snowmobiles in the winter. The cabin is just off the side of Standard Creek Road 237 and can receive quite a bit of traffic on weekends.

The cabin is open nine months out of the year, July through March, and can typically be accessed by vehicle, in summer and fall, however a portion of the roadway may be muddy or snow-covered, requiring four-wheel drive or chains. Snowmobiles are necessary to reach the cabin in winter, but not allowed until after December 1. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities, including water. 

Black Butte Cabin is closed on Mondays for administrative purposes from July into November.

You must call the Madison Ranger District at 406-682-4253 Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm for the cabin combination, if you have not received it. The office is NOT open on Federal Holidays.

The primitive one-room cabin sleeps up to four people and has two bunkbeds with mattress pads. It is equipped with a propane camp stove and propane lantern, however propane is not supplied. The small disposable cannisters are suggested.

A table and chairs, basic cooking equipment and a wood stove for heat are provided. Firewood is available, stacked against the fence behind the cabin. An outhouse with a vault toilet is located across the road, about 100 feet from the cabin.

Guests need to bring their own water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, as well as bedding, towels, food, toilet paper and garbage bags, among other necessities. Guests are required to replenish the supply of split firewood in the woodbox, pack out all garbage and THOROUGHLY CLEAN the facility prior to leaving. Cell phone service is not available near the cabin but might be available a few miles south along the Gravelly Range road #290. 

Tents or camping units for additional people are not permitted

Need to Know

Natural Features

The cabin is located on the edge of a large, grassy meadow in the Gravelly Range at an elevation of 8,900 feet. 10,542' Black Butte, the highest peak on the range and an old volcanic cone, overlooks the cabin. The cabin is popular for hunting and snowmobiling and is available from July 1 to March 31.

Four-wheel drive and chains may be needed to access the cabin due to mud or snow. During winter, snowmobiles may be necessary for up to 21 miles of the route. Various weather conditions can impact the area's avalanche risks; guests are encouraged to practice safe snowmobiling techniques.

Nearby Attractions

The cabin is approximately 60 miles west of Yellowstone Park.


A number of hiking and horseback riding trails originate along the road adjacent to the cabin and explore various drainages in the area. Hikers can also summit Black Butte, just over the ridge from the cabin, on a user-created trail that leads to the peak . The cabin is an excellent base camp for viewing the expanses of wildflowers along the Gravelly Range Road (FS290) during early summer. All wheeled motorized vehicles must stay on designated roads or trails at all times. The area is also popular during winter months for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Snowmobile use is allowed only from Decenber 2 through May 15.

Guests enjoy hunting in the surrounding wilderness. The area is home to some of the highest-elevation pronghorn antelope, as well as other wildlife. Fishing is available in nearby Standard Creek, where anglers might catch cutthroat and brown trout.

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

Black Butte cabin is located one quarter mile from the junction of Forest Service roads FS290, FS1012 and FS237. From Ennis, travel south on US Highway 287 for about 32 miles to the West Fork Rest Area. Turn right onto West Fork Road/Forest Road 209 and continue for about 2 miles. Turn right onto Standard Creek Road/Forest Road 237 and travel 18 miles to the cabin. This is the easiest option by snowmobile. Maps may be purchased by calling the Madison Ranger District.

Another option is to take MT287 southwest of Ennis, toward Virginia City, about 2 miles to the Varney Road, which will lead to the Gravelly Range Road FS290, total distance about 40 miles. A third option is south of Alder, up the Ruby River on Centennial Road, FS100. From FS100, travellers can reach the Gravelly Range Road FS290 from Warm Springs Road FS163, Cottonwood Road FS1012 or Eureka Basin Road FS347. 

All roads in the Gravelly Range are closed to wheeled motorized use from April 1 through June 30. Over snow vehicles are permitted December 2 through May 15. Snow can make the cabin inaccessible by vehicle in late October and November.

Available Campsites

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