Forest Service Cabins in the Snowy Range – Quick Trips
Up in the Snowy Mountains, the Forest Service maintains two cabins and one old fire lookout that are available for rent. These cabins provide a great alternative to winter camping for skiers, snow shoers, and snowmobilers, and they provide more comfortable accommodations in the summer for hikers, backpackers, and families. Next time you want to have a fun weekend trip—regardless of the season—make sure you check out these cabins! But make sure you book early because they fill up!
Located 8 miles west of Albany on Forest Road 542, The Keystone Ranger Station was once the district headquarters. However, the cabin has been beautifully remodeled with all the modern conveniences. The cabin has maintained its historic charm while now having indoor plumbing, electricity, refrigerator, as well as electric and wood heat (a great comfort for winter stays!). The Keystone Ranger Station can sleep a lot of people with two bedrooms, each having bunk beds and single beds. There is also a hid-a-bed in the living room. The cabin can sleep eight visitors comfortably. Make sure you remember to bring your own bedding/sleeping bags, as well as towels, matches, and flashlights. Also remember to be courteous to others and clean the cabin when you leave as there is no maid service. It is $120 per night, and reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov
Built in 1931, the Little Brooklyn Guard Station used to house Forest Service employees. During the summer, this cabin makes a great first (or last) stop for backpackers, as well as provides an easier way to camp with a large family or with small children since it is accessible by road. The cabin is located nine miles west of Centennial on Brooklyn Lake Road, FDR 317. In the winter, there is a three mile ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile in to the cabin because the road is not plowed. This cabin is a little more rustic and smaller (only three rooms) than the Keystone Ranger District, but it is also only $40 a night. However, it can still hold seven people a night. There are two sets of bunk beds, a single bed, and a hide-a-bed. This cabin is also heated by a wood store, and has a propane stove and refrigerator. The wood and propane is provided by the Forest Service. Drinking water is available from an outdoor pump. There is no running water in the cabin, which means the toilet is also located outside the cabin. Remember to clean up after yourself when you are done with the cabin. Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov.
Although it’s not available in the winter, Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout provides a fun way to camp—if you’re not afraid of heights. Fifty-five feet off the ground, Spruce Mountain served as a fire lookout until 1977, when it was renovated for camper use. The tower has a propane refrigerator, stove, oven, heater, and lamps. There are two single beds, so there is not much room for large groups. However, its unique location and set up make it a high-demand cabin for the summer days, so make sure you book early. The fire lookout is only $40 a night, but the settings are very rustic. There is no running water and only a pit toilet. However, the view from the fire lookout is better than any five-star hotel. From the lookout, you can see Medicine Bow Peak, Rob Roy Reservoir, and Jelm Mountain. The lookout is seven miles west of Albany on Forest Road #500, a well-graveled road accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicles.