If you are looking for a way to disconnect in the Northwest, try a weekend at Snyder Guard Station in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Just 8 miles south of Canada, Snyder Guard Station is a perfect get-a-way for those wishing to experience a quiet weekend (or week!).
Over 100 years old, this historic site is listed on the National Register for Historic places since 1982. The facility previously served as a housing facility for forest firefighters. The caretaker told us that over the years, the facility nearly fell apart and was restored, mostly by volunteers. Today, the site includes a cottage, two smaller cabins, a cookhouse, a large pavilion, horse corrals (yes, you can bring horses to Snyder Guard Station!), and a handful of utility buildings. The caretaker also has a cabin onsite for year-round residence that allows him to care for the property. And he does a wonderful job – it is a clean and beautiful location.
The cottage and cookhouse are equipped with electricity and water. Consider the cottage a small house with three bedrooms, a moderately equipped kitchen, dining room, living room, and small bathroom with a stand-up shower. The two smaller cabins are one-room cabins with three single beds in each cabin. The small cabins are off grid so bring some battery-operated lanterns or flashlights if you plant to use these cabins for sleeping. Right in front of the cookhouse, you’ll find a large yard with a bonfire pit and horse shoes. This yard is along the scenic Moyie River. You’ll hear sounds of flowing water from almost anywhere on the property. There are also several serene hiking paths on the 10-acre property. Wildlife sightings might include elk, deer, black bears, moose, and bald eagles so take precautions when hiking. We had no close encounters with big game but did see evidence of moose onsite and a black bear at a nearby day park.
This facility is equipped to host up to 70 people. Beyond the cottage and cabins, tent camping and RV spots are available near the pavilion. Before I forget to mention, there are a few stand-alone bathrooms and shower rooms around the site, making a 70-person event quite possible. The stand-alone shower rooms are equipped with solar shower bags. If you have a large group of people staying, you may want to bring additional solar shower bags to make showers more convenient. Honestly, we find these very handy for any camping situation.
One thing to note, there is absolutely no cell phone connection at Snyder Guard Station. As we drove to Snyder Guard Station, along the beautiful and famous Selkirk Loop, we lost all cell phone reception at about 14 miles north of Bonners Ferry. Feist Creek Restaurant is a little down the road from Snyder Guard Station and does have internet so if you absolutely need to connect online, that is possible. But take my suggestion and disconnect – you won’t regret it!
If you do want to venture offsite, there are tons of things to see and do in the area. In the cottage, on the coffee table, you will find a binder full of useful information regarding the region. The binder contains directions to and details about many of the nearby mountains, rivers, lakes, and parks. However, there’s plenty to do without ever leaving. We fished, went for walks, and dared to swim but the Moyie River was still frigid during our June stay so we mostly waded out into the river. We road 4-wheelers, threw a frisby, cooked tons of good food, talked and laughed around the bonfire. We never ran out of things to see and do – no one had a bored moment during our stay at Snyder Guard Station. Depending on the time of the year that you visit, you may be able to enjoy other activities such as huckleberry picking, hunting, cross-country skiing. A trip to Snyder Guard Station is just one way to be Northwest Living.
Snyder Guard Station stays pretty booked in the summer months so you’ll need to make reservations about six months in advance. You can make reservations for the winter months but around October until the freezing months pass, water lines are drained so that is something you will need to work around. The cost to stay varies by the number of guests: 1 to 6 people = $60, 7 to 13 people = $70, 14 to 70 people = $110. They are dog-friendly but there are limits to the number of dogs based on the number of people in the group so you’ll need to clarify that when making reservations. For directions and more information, visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website or call the Bonners Ferry Ranger District at (208) 267-5561.
Have you visited Snyder Guard Station? Leave a comment and let us know.
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