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Star Meadows Guard Station

Flathead National Forest

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The Star Meadows Guard Station is a historic cabin located 23 miles from Whitefish, Montana. Guests can enjoy a range of outdoor activities in the area, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing. The cabin is equipped with a kitchen, bunk beds and a bunk house, offering accommodation for up to 6 people plus their pets. Further amenities include a patio, fire pit and outdoor kennel. The surrounding area offers stunning views of the forested mountains and Tally Lake is only 7 miles away.


The Star Meadows Guard Station has all the rustic feel of a remote Forest Service cabin while still being accessible by paved road from Whitefish. Furnished with a refrigerator/freezer, range and oven, microwave, coffeemaker, pots and pans, dishes and silverware, and electric heat, this cabin has everything you need to come and enjoy some time in the Forest. Nearby Tally Lake and Sylvia Lake offer opportunities for water play and fishing and a centralized location in the Tally Lake District to access miles of hiking, biking or horseback riding trails with a trailhead right behind the cabin. Enjoy a large backyard area for family games, or just sit in front of the campfire with s’mores and make some memories. Star Meadows Guard Station is 23 miles from Whitefish on Forest Service Road #539. The road is paved and open year-round. 

The Star Meadows Guard Station was built in 1941 to house Forest Service personnel and stock for the Tally Lake District. It was built to replace a 1908 building at the same location. The site operated as a work center when the Ranger Station was located at Tally Lake. In 1953, the District Office moved to Whitefish. The station housed fire suppression crews, contractors, and timber camps, and served as a staging area for engineers designing and building the roads on the District. During the winter months, the road was not plowed, and the site was inaccessible. 

In 1991 a cultural survey found that the facilities were historically significant and were placed on the National Historic Register. In 2001, A Passport in Time project (PIT) funded the beginning of the restoration. 


There is plenty of opportunity for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking in the area surrounding the cabin. Trail #171A starts in the back yard and goes all the way to Sylvia Lake approximately 10 miles away. In the winter, visitors enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Snowmobiling can be enjoyed on designated trails, but is not permitted on the cabin grounds.

Big game hunting in the national forest lands is a popular activity enjoyed by visitors, as well as fishing in Sheppard Creek behind the cabin, other nearby mountain streams and Tally Lake, which is about 11 miles east of the cabin. Guests at the cabin also enjoy ample open space for yard games and other outdoor group activities.


The Star Meadow Guard Station is a two-room cabin. The bedroom has two bunk beds with queen on bottom and full on top and sleeps 6. The second room is the kitchen area with a couch, table with chairs and benches. A bunk house located 20 yards away from the main house has two bunkbeds and a futon couch. Sleeps 6 and is great for the kids!. There are electric heaters throughout the cabin and in the bunkhouse. The kitchen comes complete with refrigerator, oven, microwave and coffeemaker; dishes, utensils and pots and pans are provided. Cleaning supplies are provided and the cabin must be cleaned upon departure. All garbage must be packed out.

The restroom is a wood paneled vault toilet 20 yards from the cabin and has electric lights. A well with a hand pump is also located 30 yards from the cabin and water is available approximately April 1st through November 30th. There is no running water. A patio provides an outdoor area with tables, chairs and a charcoal grill. Please bring your own charcoal and empty it in the receptacle provided. An outdoor fire pit, picnic tables and horse shoe pit are in the large backyard.

Dogs are allowed. No pets are allowed on the furniture and cleaning up after them is required. Pets may not be left in the cabin while renters are away; an outdoor kennel is provided.

The site is also an excellent area for large family gatherings, with ample room in the lower meadow for several RVs or tents. Stock animals are allowed, but there is no corral or running water on site. Renters with stock or additional camp units should contact the district prior to their stay for access to the lower meadow and an additional fee may be charged.

Guests must bring their own bedding and food, among other necessities. Guests will also need to bring water if the reservation falls outside of the range of dates when water is available nearby. There is no cell phone service at the cabin. During winter storms or snowfall accumulation, the paved access road may not be plowed, so be prepared for winter driving and road emergencies. This is a non-smoking facility. Please be respectful to adjacent neighbors.

Natural Features

The cabin sits in a valley near the foot of Mt. Swaney, providing views of the surrounding forested mountains. It is in the northwestern corner of Flathead National Forest in the Tally Lake Ranger District.

Nearby Attractions

The town of Whitefish is about 45 minutes away. Tally Lake, the second deepest lake in Montana is located 7 miles away. 

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Campground Matrix

Set alerts at more campgrounds to increase your odds of getting a place to stay! Below is a list of the closest campgrounds supported on Campflare. Or, view all campgrounds in Flathead National Forest.

Nearby Campgrounds Distance Notification Rate
Tally Lake
Flathead National Forest
6.1mi 74%
Fairview Ranger Station
Kootenai National Forest
Whitefish Lake State Park
Whitefish Lake State Park
15.8mi 42%
Cg Area
Whitefish Lake State Park
15.8mi 44%
Upper Loop
Whitefish Lake State Park
15.8mi 55%
Lower Loop
Whitefish Lake State Park
15.8mi 50%
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