Caretaker’s Cabin allows guests to relax in the outdoors at the historic Fremont Powerhouse site. As one of four cabins located at the site, the cabin offers flexibility for large groups, like weddings or reunions. Guests can rent all cabins (see Congo Gulch, Hilltop Hideaway, and Miner’s Retreat) and also pitch tents in the grassy yard. Caretaker’s Cabin sits on a hill beside Miner’s Retreat and has parking access beside it. The cabin can accommodate up to 10 guests. Winter access may require skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles.
In the 1800s, the North Fork John Day drainage was bustling with gold and silver mining. Around 1903, local mines began to notice a decline in earnings and promoted construction of a cheaper power source in an effort to operate the mines more economically. As a result, the Fremont Powerhouse was constructed and began operation in 1908. Two dams were constructed at Olive Lake and water from the lake was piped through an eight-mile-long wood and steel pipeline to the powerhouse to generate the much-needed electrical power. The Caretaker’s Cabin house was constructed in the 1930s to shelter workers who monitored the pipeline for leaks and kept the powerhouse operating. The entire site and pipeline are listed as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Guests can hike on North Fork John Day Wilderness trails or go mountain biking on forest roads. A drive along the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway is a treat, as are activities like huckleberry and mushroom picking, bird watching, wildlife viewing and photographing the vast landscape. Nearby Olive Lake offers boating, fishing and swimming.
The cabin is a 2-story house with wood siding and a shake shingle roof that can accommodate 10 guests. The cabin features:
· two bedrooms upstairs with dressers, 2 twin beds, and 2 full-over-queen bunkbeds;
· parlor with 2 futons and end tables;
· dining room with a table and chairs to seat 10;
· kitchen with refrigerator, electric stove/oven, microwave, coffee pot, toaster, cookware, and dishes;
· bathroom with flush toilet and claw-footed tub (no shower).
Outside there is a fire ring and picnic table–prior to arrival please contact the District office to determine whether fires have been banned. The cabin has electric lights and electric wall heaters. Cleaning supplies are also provided and renters are required to clean the house before they leave.
Water is available June through September only. No water or indoor plumbing from October to May. Instead, an outhouse is available for use. In these seasons, guests are asked to bring plenty of water for drinking, cooking and washing. Other items to pack year-round include food, bedding, a first aid kit, flashlight, matches and all other basic camping gear. Click here for more cabin details.
Perched on a small rise at about 5,000 feet in elevation, the cabin is set on a hillside under a large spruce tree. A grassy lawn in front spreads to the three other cabins in the area. The forest lies in the Blue Mountains and is home to Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, larch and Douglas-fir.
Birds in the area include the black-backed woodpecker, American kestrel and the boreal owl. Black bear, cougar, wolves, elk and deer are among the native land mammals. Click here to learn about bear safety.
The cabin is located less than 6 miles from Granite, Oregon, a ghost town that once bustled with prospectors and pioneers. The town provides groceries and fuel. Opportunities for horseback riding are within 10 miles of the cabin.From Pendleton, Oregon: Travel south on Highway 395 for 50 miles to the Ukiah exit. Turn left on Highway 244 to Ukiah. Turn right (south) just before the city park; this road becomes Forest Service Road (FSR) 52 at the Forest boundary. Travel 50 miles to the small town of Granite. From Granite go west on County Road 24 for approximately 6 miles. The main road veers left along the creek bed. At this junction turn right (uphill) on FSR 10 and follow the signs to the Fremont Powerhouse, towards Fremont Congo Gulch Cabin. Do not use between October and June without confirming this route is open with the Ranger District.
From Baker City, Oregon: Travel west on Highway 7 and continue 20 miles to the junction with FSR 73. Proceed north through Sumpter and another 17 miles to the small town of Granite. From Granite go west on County Road 24 for approximately 6 miles. The main road veers left along the creek bed. At this junction turn right (uphill) on FSR 10 and follow the signs to the Fremont Powerhouse, towards Fremont Congo Gulch Cabin. This route is plowed in the winter and provides the only winter access.(541)427-3231N