Bar Gulch

Helena, Montana

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Overview

Bar Gulch Cabin is located in the Big Belt Mountain Range in Helena National Forest. The cabin was originally constructed in the 1930s on Forest Service lands to be used for mining purposes. Instead, it was used for recreational purposes and issued a special use permit, which was transferred to several owners until it was donated to the Forest Service in 1988.

Today the cabin is a rustic getaway for guests seeking relaxation and recreation in west-central Montana. It is accessible by car, but snow removal is not provided in winter. The cabin offers several amenities, but guests should be prepared to bring some of their own supplies and gear.

Recreation

Guests at the cabin can step out to several hiking opportunities right out the backdoor. Belt Divide Trail and Bar Gulch Trail are favorites in the area. Bar Gulch Trail is actually an old road through a timbered gulch, and is mainly used for hunting.

The Ridge Trail, located along the crest of the Big Belt Mountains, is a favorite for those on foot, offering expansive views of the surrounding mountain ranges as well as overnight camping opportunities.

Guests can take advantage of boating and fishing at Canyon Ferry Lake, which is only five miles away. The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, perch, ling and walleye. The wildlife viewing near the lake is quite impressive as well. It is one of the best in the country for viewing large concentrations of bald eagles. A wildlife management area at the end of the reservoir is home to a colony of terns and pelicans.

Facilities

The small, single-room cabin can accommodate up to six people with two bunkbeds and a full-sized bed with mattresses. The cabin has a skylight, an antique cook stove, propane lanterns and a wood stove for heat. The kitchen is equipped with a table and chairs, a propane stove, some cooking utensils and cookware. A picnic table, campfire ring and accessible pit toilet are outside. An axe and snow shovel are available. Firewood may be stocked at the cabin, but it is not guaranteed. The cabin does not have electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. Guests must bring a sufficient amount of water for drinking, cooking and washing during their stay. Propane is not provided for the lanterns or propane stove, so guests must bring one or two small cylinders. Bringing an additional light source is also recommended. Other supplies to bring include sleeping bags, linens, towels, cooking gear, dish soap, matches, first aid kit, toilet paper and garbage bags. Guests are expected to pack out all trash and food and clean the cabin before leaving. No firewood provided from June 1st - August 31.

Natural Features

Bar Gulch Cabin sits in a grassy, open clearing surrounded by a canopy of mixed-conifer forest.

The area around the cabin offers a variety of landscapes, from river banks to subalpine terrain. Valley bottoms, dense forests, meadows and barren ridges are mixed with streams, rivers and lakes.

The area offers unique opportunities for viewing wildlife. Elk, bighorn sheep, mule and white-tailed deer, black bear, moose and a variety of birds are commonly seen. The more elusive badger, wolverine, mountain lion and lynx find habitat here as well.

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