Imnaha Guard Station
Spend a few days enjoying the quiet and beauty of a remote, rustic mountain cabin tucked in the depths of an old-growth forest of mainly Douglas-fir, white fir, and incense cedar, as well as some ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and western white pine (all of which would have been more common prior to the post-1930s fire-suppression era).
A notably large Douglas-fir (commonly called "The Big Tree") is situated a few hundred feet down a maintained spur trail from the Imnaha Campground and the cabin. It has a little fence around it, and it’s about 300 or more years old. Most of the mature trees in the area are three to four feet in diameter.
Wonderful sounds in this area are the songs of the varied thrush and the hermit thrush. Although often heard, they are seldom-seen inhabitants of the dense timber. The loud drumming of the pileated woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in North America, is also heard occasionally. Nuthatches, chickadees, Stellar’s jays are all common at Imnaha.
Curl up with a good book or a cup of cocoa in the pine-paneled living room in front of the lava-rock fireplace. (Firewood is stocked at the beginning of the season, and is stored outside and in the garage; supplies may run low.) Enjoy the comforts of a bathroom featuring running water, a hot shower and flush toilet. The bedroom furnishings include a full-size bed, a small closet and two dressers. The kitchen is equipped with a table and chairs, as well as a sink and small countertop for meal preparation. Visitors should bring cookware, utensils and dishes. The stove, refrigerator, and kitchen light are operated by propane, and potable water for drinking and cooking is available from the faucet. A picnic table in the backyard permits comfortable outside dining.
A very small Forest Service campground with four sites, also called Imnaha, is located within sight of the cabin. However, the cabin’s yard is fenced, and campers typically respect the cabin occupants’ privacy. They may stroll nearby on their way to visit the beautiful nearby Imnaha Springs, but the access trail passes on the far side of the garage building from the cabin itself.
The guard station cabin at Imnaha Springs was built in the 1930s, replacing a one-room Forest Service "shack" built there almost twenty years earlier. The cabin, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This small, rustic cottage is considered to be an outstanding example of CCC construction in the Pacific Northwest, and was used as a fire-watch or guard station by the Butte Falls Ranger District through the late 1970s. From the time of its construction during the Depression until well into the 1950s, Imnaha Guard Station lay at the "end of the road" from Butte Falls; now, instead of a horse trail, Forest Service Road 37 connects the town Butte Falls with the community of Prospect to the north.
At a Glance
|Reservations:||Reservations must be made at www.recreation.gov|
|Open Season:||- October|
|Information Center:||High Cascades Ranger District - Butte Falls Ranger Station|
From Butte Falls, OR, drive east on the Butte Falls - Fish Lake Highway (County Road 821). Less than a mile from town, turn left onto the Butte Fall - Prospect Highway (County Road 992) and travel north on County Road 992. Go 9 miles on County Road 992 to Forest Road 34. Turn right, go 8 miles on Forest Road 34 until its junction with Forest Road 37. Travel north / northeast on Forest Road 37 for 4.5 miles. Take Imnaha Campground turn-off and continue through campground to find the cabin.
From Prospect, OR, at the Prospect Hotel turn east onto the Butte Falls - Prospect Highway (County Road 992), travel 2 or 3 miles and take a left onto Forest Road 37, which continues south to Imnaha Campground turn-off. Wheeled-vehicle access is possible only from late spring through early fall, depending on snow conditions.
- No smoking
- Pets are welcome
- No tents are permitted in the fenced cabin area. "Extra" people using the cabin are welcome to camp at one of the numbered campsites in the nearby Imnaha Campground.
- Drinking Water
- Flush Toilet
- Propane Heat
- Heated Shower
- Enjoy viewing Imnaha Springs but do not walk on or remove the moss or other vegetation; keep any pets on leash while visiting the springs. Far better yet, leave your dog back at the guard station.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
The Imnaha Guard Station is located in the southwest portion of Oregon’s magnificent volcanic Cascade Range, at an elevation of 3,800 feet. Attractions such as Imnaha Springs and "The Big FirTree" are within short walking distance. Imnaha Springs, situated up a trail behind the cabin, is where sizable Imnaha Creek springs "fully grown" from the lava rock. The startlingly large volume of water that issues from the springs is crystal clear and almost ice cold. Imnaha Springs forms separate rivulets that flow along a scenic path through yellow monkeyflower and moss. It’s a special place.
|Reservation Info||This site can be reserved by calling Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or on-line at www.recreation.gov|
- Big Fir Trailhead