The Teanaway Guard Station is located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, north of Cle Elum, Washington. The cabin was originally constructed in 1950 by gold miner Archie Redding, who built the cabin near Mineral Springs, Washington. In 1978, Archie passed away and his cabin came into Forest Service possession. The cabin was then moved to its present location and used as a fire guard station intermittently until becoming available for reservation in 2004. The guard station sits at 3,200 feet elevation in the Teanaway River drainage with the icy North Fork Teanaway River just across the road. It is available for rent early May through mid-November and mid-December through early April. In warmer months, the cabin is accessible by car, but winter access is by ski, snowshoe or snowmobile over a 2.2-mile groomed snowmobile route. Several amenities are provided at the cabin, but guests should be prepared to bring some of their own supplies and gear for a comfortable stay.
The nearby Ingalls Way Trail allows hikers to enjoy stunning views of Mt. Stuart and the Enchantments. Fishing is possible in nearby streams. Up to 24 inches of snowfall in a 24 hour period is not uncommon in this area, making it a winter wonderland for cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing and snowboarding and snowshoeing.
The rustic 12x18-foot log cabin can sleep two people on a set of bunk beds with mattresses. Other amenities include table and chairs, a Coleman propane cook stove and a D battery operated lantern. The stove must be taken outside for use. No stoves or open flames are allowed in the cabin. A wood stove heats the cabin; however, wood is only supplied in the winter and must be split. An axe, splitting maul and wedge are available for guest use. A snow shovel is provided. A picnic table, fire pit and vault toilet are located outdoors. There is no water or electricity available at the site. Guests must bring water for drinking, cooking and washing. Water can be taken from the Teanaway River, but must be treated before drinking. Fuel and D-batteries are not provided for the propane stove or battery operated lantern. Guests must bring their own 16.4-ounce propane canisters and four D batteries, as well as cooking utensils, cookware, backup lighting, sleeping bags, towels, dish soap, matches, toilet paper and garbage bags. All trash and food must be packed out, and guests are expected to clean the cabin before leaving.
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is defined by its diverse landscapes, boasting high, glaciated alpine peaks, lush valleys of old-growth forest and rugged shrub-steppe country. More than 700 lakes and mountain ponds dot the glacier-carved terrain of nearby Alpine Lake Wilderness. Tree-covered valleys give way to rocky ridges and rugged peaks along the crest of the Cascades. Many peaks and slopes are permanently cloaked in snowfields. From wet forests of Douglas fir, cedar and mountain hemlock, the landscape opens up to expansive meadows and dry forests of ponderosa pine and grasses. Seasonal changes envelop the area as snowmelt gives rise to springtime wildflowers, and autumn colors welcome a landscape blanketed with snow. The area surrounding the cabin is home to abundant wildlife, including deer, squirrels, black bears, mountain lions and migratory birds.
Mountain biking and hiking trails are located within 2 miles of the cabin.
ADA Access: N
I recently rented the cabin for the weekend in February. I've already made a reservation for a summer weekend, but this review is based on winter use.
The cabin comes with a stove & a battery lantern, with the expectation that you'll provide the fuel & the batteries. A previous user had left a propane canister and left the batteries in the lantern. It's a nice gesture, but come prepared with your own. I'd also brought along a propane lantern, and I'm glad I did. (Although this did violate the "no open flames in the cabin" rule - more on that later.) The interior of the cabin is very dark, and while the battery lantern provides light, it's only bright up close. Plan to bring your own lanterns, especially in the winter when the night's dark comes early. There are some board games and books in the cupboard, as well.
The bunkbeds are covered in plastic, but it's a thin cellophane so it wasn't noisy. There are provided pillows; I didn't use them. The bunks' mattresses are comfortable. Because of the way the Forest Service installed the bunkbed & the cupboards, the bunkbeds don't fully benefit from the heat of the woodstove. In the winter, you'll want a warm sleeping bag.
I broke the "no open flames in the cabin" rule because it was 16°F outside, and my meals needed to simmer. I imagine this rule is designed to protect the cabin as well as to protect visitors from CO poisoning. I placed the stove near a window and opened the window a crack, and I never turned my back on the stove. There's a CO monitor in the cabin, and truth be told, the cabin's drafty. But if you're going to break the rule, understand the risk you're taking, and for the love of all that is holy do not burn down this cabin.
The lock on the woodshed is the kind that the tumblers need to be lined up before you take the key out, but it's also a little worn so it's possible to take the key out without it being lined up. If that happens - as it did with me - it's really difficult to get the key back into the lock far enough to unlock it. (I had to heat up the lock & the key with a candle to get the tumblers "unstuck.") Be very careful with the lock, or you may find yourself having a chilly night. (Wood is only provided during winter rentals, so this doesn't apply for the summer folks.)
The toilet paper in the vault toilet is kept in a heavy plastic tote. My guess is this is to protect it from rodents. Please keep the lid on tight.
I wish I'd brought along a pair of camp shoes to keep my bed socks clean. There's a warning that you should expect every surface in the cabin has been contaminated by mouse urine & droppings. Consider that during food preparation. (I used some plastic wrap to cover the countertop to give me some clean space to work.) I didn't see any rodents while I was there, but there were droppings in a few places. There's no running water, so I'd recommend bringing hand sanitizer as well.
I was carrying more than my usual backpacking load, and I'd planned to haul things in on a sled. Unfortunately, I failed to test out my sled setup & practice pulling a sled, and on the trail it turned out to be a dismal failure. I got very lucky in that a nearby cabin owner saw me, took pity on me, and hauled my gear in & back out for me. However, his was the only one of the cabins along the road in use that weekend. If you're going to do something similar, be smarter than I was and test out your gear & your technique ahead of time.
Although the river is nearby, it has a steep bank and I wouldn't risk trying to get water out of it during the winter. I utilized the woodstove's cooktop & melted snow. It's not the tastiest, but it's fine for cooking with.
I will definitely come back, and next time I will be better prepared. I enjoyed the brief glimpse of life in a remote cabin: splitting wood & kindling, needing to keep the woodstove going through the night, et cetera. But I'm grateful someone else cut the wood and stocked the shed, and that I had access to modern winter clothing & recreation devices like lightweight snowshoes & waxless skis.