Roughing it just got a whole lot cushier.
Green River Lakes Lodge, a U.S. Forest Service cabin in the Wind River Mountains once used solely by agency staff, is now available to the public.
Views of Square Top Mountain fill the living- and master-bedroom windows. The lake is a short walk from the door. Easy trails circle the lake and, for the more adventurous, other pathways lead high into the Wind River Mountains and the Bridger Wilderness.
“It really is an iconic cabin,” said Mary Greenwood, a recreation planner with the Forest Service.
The views, convenience — and beds and showers — will be reservable for overnight stays starting May 14. The rustic two-bedroom, two-bathroom shelter on the north shore of Green River Lake will cost $100 a night July through September when there is running water to the showers and flush toilets, and $75 a night when water isn’t provided. Money collected from the rentals will be used for maintenance and cabin upkeep.
The facility, located 50 miles north of Pinedale, includes propane and wood heat, furnishings, a propane refrigerator and stove. Guests will need to bring their own food, cookware, sleeping bags, linens, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and firestarters. The master bedroom has a double bed with an attached bathroom. The other bedroom includes two sets of twin bunk beds and an attached bathroom. A camping spot is situated next to the cabin to accommodate larger groups, Greenwood said. In all, the lodge can accommodate 12 overnight guests.
The cabin, once open, will be the only Forest Service rental available in the Pinedale district of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, she said. It, along with the Sherman Guard Station, also expected to open this summer near Big Piney, will make 11 agency cabins available for rent forest-wide. The B-T is considering renting additional guard stations in the future, Greenwood said.
Reservations for most Forest Service cabins begin at the start of the year and are made through the website recreation.gov. Green River Lakes Lodge will use that system next year, but for its first summer people will need to call the Forest Service to make a reservation.
“My gut instinct is it will be booked pretty darn solid,” Greenwood said.
The lake is popular in the summer for boating, fishing and hiking. The spot boasts easy hiking, but also access to the rugged high-country of the Wind River Mountains and the Bridger Wilderness. Big game draws hunters to the area in the fall and ice fishing is popular in the winter.
The Green River Lakes Lodge, unlike some agency rentals, offers drive-up access and indoor plumbing. It’s not a hotel, but it offers more amenities than staying in the nearby developed campground, Greenwood said.
People can also rent the lodge for day use events such as weddings or family reunions with 50 or fewer people.
The cabin was originally part of the GP Bar Guest Ranch, but was most recently used by the Pinedale Ranger District as a meeting space and housing for visiting staff. About five years ago, in response to requests from the public, the agency started upgrading the building for inclusion in its rental inventory. Grants funded the $30,000 renovation, which included plumbing updates and new flooring.
Revenue from rentals will allow the agency to keep the cabin maintained. Buildings that are regularly used also remain in better condition than those that are abandoned, Greenwood said.
The Forest Service started regularly renting old cabins in the 1990s, Greenwood said. Many of the agency’s cabins were built in the 1930s and 1940s by Civilian Conservation Corps crews. Back then, district rangers were posted and lived in remote cabins on the forest, she said.
By the 1990s most of those cabins had been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. However, the structures were historic and also situated in beautiful spots on national forests. The cabin rental program funded building maintenance and also was a way to connect people to the forests, Greenwood said.
People can stay at Green River Lakes Lodge July 1 through Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 through April 15. Staff will conduct maintenance projects in the fall and spring when it’s closed to the public.
The Forest Service will host an open house 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 23 for people to tour the lodge.
Call 307-367-5712 for cabin reservations starting May 14. Reservations are first-come, first-served. Staff will return calls in the order they were received. Maximum stay is seven days.