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.
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 and Douglas fir.
Birds in the area include the black-backed woodpecker, American kestrel and the Boreal owl. Black bear, elk and deer are among the native land mammals. Click here to learn about bear safety.
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 berry 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 tin roof can accommodate up to 12 guests. It features three bedrooms, a full bath with hot and cold water (in summer only), a kitchen and a living room. The cabin has electric lights throughout and is heated with an oil heater. A picnic table and brick fireplace are provided next to the pond.
Furnishings include one bunk bed with a full-sized mattress over a queen-sized mattress, three twin beds, one queen bed, a futon, couch, love seat and two dining tables with chairs. The kitchen comes with an electric stove and oven, a refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster, microwave and a variety of utensils, such as skillets and silverware. Cleaning supplies are also provided.
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.
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.