Ditch Creek Guard Station, located about 27 miles southeast of Heppner, Oregon, is a cozy little cabin that accommodates six overnight guests, plus additional guests camped in a tent outside. Equestrian campers are welcome and a corral is provided.
The guard station was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s. It is a classic example of forest building structures of that era and is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Wintertime brings opportunities for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. These modes of transportation are necessary for accessing the cabin in winter.
The cabin sits near Ditch Creek on a large, flat lawn surrounded by a dense pine forest at an elevation of 4,800 feet. The creek is one of numerous small perennial streams that flow south into the North Fork John Day River.
Deer and elk are likely to be seen in the area, and as evening falls, guests can watch bats flit and swoop above the yard.
The route to the cabin is located off the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, which boasts incredible views. Over 26 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails run throughout the Heppner Ranger District, ranging between 4100 and 5300 elevation, through forests and meadows with views of Ditch Creek. Fishing opportunities abound in nearby streams, Penland Lake and Bull Prairie Lake. Other activities include hunting for deer and elk, wildlife viewing and enjoying the scenic landscape.
Winter activities include snowmobiling and cross country skiing. The local snowmobile club takes on the responsibility of grooming 110 of the 173 miles of road designated for snowmobiling.
The cabin is a one-story building containing a bedroom, living room, kitchen nook and a bathroom. The cabin does not meet accessibility standards due to narrow doorways and halls. A picnic table, campfire ring and a 20 X 20 horse corral are located outside. Guests may pitch tents in the yard for additional sleeping options.
Two bunk beds and a dresser are in the bedroom, and the living room has a futon, a table with four chairs, two easy chairs and a heating stove. A refrigerator, cook stove, fire extinguisher, cookware, silverware and dishes are included in the kitchen. All appliances and lighting are propane, which is provided by the Forest Service.
No potable water is available. Guests must bring drinking water, food, bedding, matches, dish soap, a first aid kit and similar camping gear.
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The nearest town with a general store is in Heppner, a 40-minute drive away.