Racetrack Cabin is a favorite of hiking enthusiasts during the summer months. The surrounding area is serene and beautiful, and somewhat off the beaten path. It is a great way to explore western Montana and offers access to numerous lakes, where fishing is popular. The cabin is remotely located and was built to house miners in the 1930s. It was later donated to the Forest Service and refurbished for use by the public. Access to the cabin requires a vehicle with four-wheel drive and high clearance year-round. Guests need to plan for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling up to 14 miles to reach the cabin during during winter months. A map may be necessary to locate the cabin. The cabin is very primitive and offers very few amenities. Guests should be prepared to bring most of their own supplies and gear.
The cabin is situated next to Racetrack Creek on the east side of the Flint Creek Range at an elevation of about 6,300 feet in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The surrounding area is densely forested. The Flint Creek Range has typical Rocky Mountain fauna, including a few mountain goats. The area is popular for hunting deer, elk and blue grouse, and dozens of alpine lakes provide good fishing. Bears may also frequent the area ( learn more about bear safety ).
Trout fishing is popular in the nearby creek, as well as in any of the accessible mountain lakes in the vicinity. Access to the lakes requires extensive hiking, but the area is home to a variety of trails for hiking and mountain biking. Hunting is also popular in designated areas around the cabin. Visitors also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the area during the winter. Various weather conditions can increase avalanche danger in the area and visitors are encouraged to carry proper backcountry equipment, including a beacon, shovel and probe, while recreating.
The primitive, one-room cabin is equipped with three sets of bunk beds and can sleep up to six people. It has a table and chairs, minimal cooking utensils and some pots and pans. There is a wood stove for heat. Firewood is provided but cannot be guaranteed. A mop, broom and bucket are provided. Cupboard space is available within the cabin, as well as a storage box for food. An outhouse with a vault toilet is provided outside of the cabin. There is no electricity, water or sewer at the cabin. Guests need to bring water for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Other items to bring include bedding, sleeping pads, pillows, towels, soap, dishes, cooking equipment and fuel, toilet paper, garbage bags and an axe. Cell phone service is rare or nonexistent in the area. Guests must pack out all trash and food, and clean the cabin before leaving.
Two interesting sites are located in or near Deer Lodge, Montana, which is about an hour away. One is the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, a working cattle ranch operated by the National Park Service just outside of Deer Lodge. The Old Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge was built by convict labor in 1871 and once housed a member of Butch Cassidy's "Wild Bunch." Both are nationally recognized historic sites.
RACETRACK CABIN (MT)
Deer Lodge Work Center, 266 Warren Lane
DEER LODGE, Montana
From Deer Lodge, travel south on Interstate 90 for about 11 miles to the Racetrack exit 195. Turn west and drive about 1 mile, then turn south and continue less than a mile to Forest Road 169. Turn west onto Forest Road 169 and continue about 16 miles to the cabin. Maps may be purchased by calling the Pintler Ranger District. Vehicle access cannot be guaranteed any time of year due to ever-changing weather or road conditions. In the winter, guests must be prepared to travel up to 14 miles to the cabin on skis or snowmobile from the end of the plowed road.
The cabins are locked; to obtain the combination, call the Deer Lodge Work Center at 406-846-1770, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Water is not available at this cabin. It is recommended to bring your own supply. This facility is located in a remote location. Vehicle access cannot be guaranteed at any time due to ever-changing weather and road conditions. Be Bear Aware; for more information about recreating in bear country, please visit <a href="http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sierra/home/?cid=stelprdb5324172 ">http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sierra/home/?cid=stelprdb5324172 . Hantavirus; guests should be aware of the risk of exposure to Hantavirus while staying in the cabin. Please visit <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hps/transmission.html ">http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hps/transmission.html for more information about Hantavirus. All food and garbage must be packed out. A map may be helpful for locating this facility. Visit the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/bdnf for more information. Maps are available at each District Ranger Office. Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.