In July of 2013, we stayed two nights in Aspen Cabin, a Forest Service fire guard station built in the 1930s. It’s now a rentable cabin via Recreation.gov. We rented it for its proximity to Oregon Sunstones, which was the focus of our adventure.
When we arrived, the corral around the cabin was full of cows. A loud “hi-ya!” chased them out and we discovered quickly that both gates were broken. If you’re planning to take horses, check to make sure the gates have been repaired before you go.
We’d never stayed in a Forest Service cabin before, so we didn’t have any expectations. We found the cabin to be very rustic.
The cabin has a lot of cabinets, although I don’t recommend planning to use them. They’re not mouse proof. They were, however, on our trip, stocked with some basic canned goods and some basic necessities, like matches.
My favorite feature was the dry sink. It drained outside and made cleaning up so much easier. I felt like a character in Little House on the Prairie.
The cabin has a wood-burning stove. It was stocked with a few wood rounds and some newspaper. Also an ax, which, while broken, was useful to break up wood we’d scavenged nearby. The temps dropped to the 40s overnight, so the stove kept us warm. There was also a total fire ban, so we couldn’t use the fire ring outside.
The stove became our only way to cook meals. I didn’t mind, as it was much easier to cook on than an open fire.
Aspen Cabin is stocked with 4 army cots with thin mattresses. They weren’t super clean, but they were serviceable. We slept well. There was just enough space to set up all 4 cots between the wall and the indoor picnic table.
Aspen Cabin from the back side, up the hill a bit
Aspen Cabin doesn’t have any amenities, so pack well and be prepared. There’s no water, but there is a campground with a pump just a mile or so down the road. It was easy to fill up daily there. There’s a pit toilet out back, but the Forest Service doesn’t provide toilet paper, so take your own! They also don’t provide trash service, so take garbage bags and be prepared to pack it back to Lakeview. We ended up throwing ours away in a roadside rest stop outside Lakeview.
Aspen Cabin does have some things to do nearby. We drove up to the Drake Peak Lookout (also rentable) just for a look around. Found a nice geocache up there if you’re into geocaching.
We flew a kite up here, as the wind was crazy! The lookout is very small, with almost no privacy from visitors, so we were glad we’d stayed at Aspen Cabin instead. However, if you’re one or two people and want a lookout, Drake Peak has gorgeous views in every direction.
Our focus of our adventure was collecting Oregon sunstones. That’s a post of its own, so stay tuned!
Cost per night: $40 via recreation.gov Amenities: pit toilet, fire ring, picnic table, fire wood, stove, cots Our kids ages at the time of visit: 8, 3, and 4 months Gear needed: pack n play, baby carrier, coolers, sleeping bags, large water container
I’m a middle-aged mom of 3-6 and sometimes more, depending on day. I’m out of shape and usually exhausted. Our favorite summertime activity (and sometimes on dry winter days) is getting outdoors and finding adventure.