Congo Gulch is an old Forest Service cabin that allows guests to relax in the outdoors and step back in time to when the cabin was used during bygone gold mining days. It is part of the Fremont Powerhouse complex, a hub for mining built in the early 1900s. As one of four cabins located at the site, the cabin offers flexibility for large groups. Guests can rent all cabins and also pitch tents in the grassy yard.
The surrounding valleys once teemed with mining activity, primarily gold. The Fremont Powerhouse was built in 1908 as an economical method for mining. Two dams were constructed at Olive Lake, and water from the lake was piped through an 8-mile wood and steel pipeline to the powerhouse to generate electricity. Homes were constructed to shelter workers who monitored the pipeline. Today, these same shelters are available as recreational rentals.
Congo Gulch is named for the small creek that runs beside the property. Winter access may require skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles.
Guests can hike on North Fork John Day Wilderness Area 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 two-story white cabin with wood siding and a metal roof can accommodate up to 12 guests. It features:
· two bedrooms upstairs with dressers, a queen bed, 3 twins, and a full-over-queen bunkbed;
· one bedroom downstairs with a dresser and full-over-queen bunkbed;
· parlor with dining table/chairs, 2 futons and end tables;
· kitchen with refrigerator, electric stove/oven, microwave, coffee pot, toaster, cookware, dishes, and a second dining table with chairs;
· full bath with shower/tub and flush toilet.
The cabin has electric lights and an oil heating stove. A picnic table and brick fireplace are provided next to the pond (bring your own firewood). 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.
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The cabin sits at about 5,000 feet in elevation and is neatly tucked under a large Douglas-fir, next to a small pond. A grassy lawn in front spreads to the other three 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 six miles from Granite, Oregon, a ghost town that once bustled with prospectors and pioneers. The town provides groceries and fuel. Opportunities for horseback riding and a boat ramp, boating, fishing, and swimming are located within ten miles from 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