Big Elk Guard Station

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

With a history that dates back to 1907, Big Elk Guard Station is the oldest continuously used administrative site within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and a delightful setting for guests seeking a unique getaway.

For many decades the guard station served as summer headquarters for solitary forest "guards" who built trails, fought forest fires and patrolled the land on horseback. Most recently the site was used to house Forest Service seasonal fire crews.

The cabin is one of the few remaining examples of Forest Service log construction in the Forest and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Big Elk Guard Station is a rustic log cabin with a main room and a kitchen on the ground floor and two upper-story bunkrooms with one queen bed and two twin beds, reached by a double landing stairway. The first floor rooms include a large, comfortable living room with a mortared-rock fireplace and a kitchen with a table and chairs, a dry sink, an electric range and refrigerator.

The original fir flooring remains intact. There are electric lights throughout the cabin. The cabin is heated with a wood stove and firewood is provided on site for indoor use only. There are no guarantees of firewood. The supply may run low and what is there may have to be split by the visitor with the tools provided. No drinking water is provided. Visitors must bring plenty of their own water for drinking, cooking and washing.

A picnic table and fire ring are available for outdoor dining, and an outbuilding, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, acts as a storage shed for firewood. A vault toilet is located near the cabin, as well as additional space for tent camping.

Need to Know

Natural Features

Big Elk Guard Station sits on the fringe of Big Elk Meadow, a grassy expanse that floods in spring and dries out in the summer.

Just a short stroll across the meadow, guests are treated to views of Mt. McLoughlin and the edge of a 20,000 year old lava flow from Brown Mountain. The surrounding forest includes lodgepole pine, quaking aspen, Shasta red fir and Douglas fir.

A variety of wildlife ranging from blacktail deer, elk, mountain lion, black bear, bald eagle and other bird species can be found in the area.

Nearby Attractions

Campgrounds nearby includes Fish Lake Campground, Doe Point Campground and North Fork Campground.  

Fish lake Resort is 5 miles from the cabin and provides dining, boat rentals, firewood sales, small store and boat launch.  

the south entrance to Crater Lake National Park is 57 miles north of Big Elk Cabin.


Nearby Fish Lake offers biking, fishing, swimming, paddle / motor boating and hiking opportunities.  

Fish Lake Trail, High Lakes Trail, Brown Mountain Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, Sky Lakes Wilderness and Mount McLoughlin Trail system are all less than an hour drive away.  

Contact Information



Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 541-865-2700

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

Drive east from Butte Falls on the Butte Falls-Fish Lake Highway (County Road #821) for approximately 19 miles to the junction with State Highway #140. Turn right, go .08 miles on Highway #140 to the junction with Forest Service Road #37. Turn left, and travel approximately 4 miles to the junction with the guard station driveway. The station is visible on the left from this location. Turn left, travel through the gate to the guard station. From White City, OR, for an alternative route to Big Elk Guard Station that bypasses the town of Butte Falls, take State Highway 140 traveling east to the Junction with Forest Road 37, or take State Highway 140 traveling west from Klamath Falls, OR to the Junction with Forest Road 37. Turning onto Forest Road 37 traveling south, follow directions as above to the guard station.

Available Campsites

Photo Gallery