Murderer's Creek Guard Station is in the heart of the Malheur National Forest, in central Oregon. It makes an excellent base camp for back country recreating, and is a cozy retreat for a couple and a fun opportunity to imagine the life of the early day forest rangers. The historic guard station is one of the oldest standing buildings in the forest. The cabin contains some modern amenities and can be accessed by vehicle. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.
Viewing wildlife and birds is popular in the area, as is hunting not far from the facility. Guests can hike area trails, explore the Cedar Grove Botanical Area and fish Murderer's Creek and South Fork John Day, though area creeks run dry toward summer's end.
The one-room cabin is equipped with one futon that sleeps two people. It has a table and chairs, a propane cook stove, propane refrigerator and propane heater inside the cabin. Basic cooking pots, utensils and tableware are also provided. There is a garage building and room to park an RV in the adjacent driveway. A newer style vault toilet is located outside. Guests will need to bring water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, as well as bedding, flashlights or a lantern for emergencies, a first aid kit, towels, garbage bags and dish soap, among other necessities. Guests will need to clean the cabin and carry out all trash before leaving.
The guard station is located approximately 32 miles from the town of John Day. It sits at an elevation of about 5,000 feet. The facility was built in 1913 and was originally used as a fire guard station. It was in use by Forest Service officials until the late 1990s. Murderer's Creek, a small creek that runs east and west along the southern base of Aldrich Mountain, is nearby the cabin. The guard station is surrounded by open meadows and timbered areas of ponderosa pine and mixed conifer. Abundant wildflowers dot the Cedar Grove Botanical Area, a 26-acre cedar grove on the northeast slope of Aldrich Mountain. The area is known for its wild horses, which coexist with mule deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, bear, cougar, and myriad smaller forest animals.
ADA Access: N
Wife and I stayed here in June 2019, and loved it. The building is quaint with gaslights, and gas fireplace. The fold out bed is old and worn out. I recommend putting an air mattress or at least sleeping pads on it.
There's a big refrigerator and gas stove in the kitchen, along with some pots and pans for cooking. But NO running water for drinking or cooking. so bring plenty of water.
There's a nice vault toilet outside the guard station. The outhouse is much newer than the guard station and kinda looks like a public toilet in the woods. But it's within the fenced boundary of the guard station.
Right in the middle of the Malheur Forest, this would be a great place to stay for deer/elk hunting season.
Fishing is good if you go over to the John Day river.
We saw Pronghorn in the Silvies Valley heading to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. I had to see the place that the standoff with the Feds took place.
Besides the pullout couch leaving a lot to be desired, this little guard station was wonderful. Perfect for two, this cabin comes with propane heat and powered appliances, so no need to sacrifice meal quality or comfort. We were here for Thanksgiving and it was great to be able to explore the Malheur National Forest during the crisp days, and come back to a warm cabin late in the afternoon. In the spring, I imagine you can fish the creek behind the cabin.
If you hike a little off trail, there's plenty of wildlife to be seen. We ended up hiking to Horse Mountain (about 3.5 miles from the cabin), and saw wild horses early in the morning. We also saw mule deer and turkeys. Maybe it is because it was November, but there were very few people out exploring the area.
The forest was super easy to move through, and if you're driving from western Oregon, the terrain is quite an amazingly unique site given its golden hills and red rocks. All in all, I highly recommend staying here for a nature filled getaway.