united states forest service
Sponsored by: Shoshone National Forest and Fremont County Historic Preservation Commission

Don't miss out on this AMAZING project preserving the Simpson Lake Cabins in Wyoming! This project is located in a wilderness area and will involve only hand tools and a "leave no trace" mentality.

Session Dates:

Session 1: Saturday, July 16 - Sunday, July 24

* Volunteers should plan to arrive near Dubois, WY at 12:00noon on Saturday, July 16th to carpool to the trailhead and hike 4 miles to the project site. Work will begin the morning of Sunday, July 17th at 8:00am. Volunteers will hike 4 miles back to the trailhead at 9:00am on Sunday, July 24th and be able to drive home from Dubois at 1:00pm.

Session 2: Saturday, July 30 - Sunday, August 7

* Volunteers should plan to arrive near Dubois, WY at 12:00noon on Saturday, July 30th to carpool to the trailhead and hike 4 miles to the project site. Work will begin the morning of Sunday, July 31st at 8:00am. Volunteers will hike 4 miles back to the trailhead at 9:00am on Sunday, August 7th and be able to drive home from Dubois at 1:00pm.

Scope of Work:

Project participants will be working with HistoriCorps’ staff to preserve the main lodge, 2 cabins,  and outhouses at Simpson Lake Lodge. Work this summer will include:

  • Foundation repair and reconstruction
  • Log repair and replacement


simpsonThe beloved and historic cabins at Simpson Lake Lodge are in rapid need of repair in order to preserve and cherish the memories it has given so many!

The Simpson Lake Cabins (also known as Simpson Lake Lodge) are three log cabins located on the east shore of Simpson Lake in the Wind River Mountains. They are a truly special and unique historic resource. It is rare that any historic resource exists that is specifically related to recreational use, in this case dude ranching, on primitive or wilderness lands. Simpson Lake Lodge was built in 1926 by three expert craftsmen who used hand tools to create exquisite detail in the main lodge and the two guest cabins.  Most of the building materials–logs, stones, sand, etc. were gathered on site or from the immediate vicinity.

The cabins are historically significant due to their exceptional workmanship, and their extremely remote location makes the simpson lake 1workmanship even more impressive. In order to build the cabins, the builders hauled the original cook stove, milled lumber, cement, and miscellaneous tools and supplies by wagon up the Union Pass Road, and then to Moon Lake. They built a raft and floated the materials across Moon Lake, then hauled them the remainder of the way to the site by horse pulled travois. The three cabins each have two rooms, saddle notching, sawn log ends, split log floors, milled lumber ceilings, tar paper roofs, split log door and window moldings, and stone foundations. The cabins are significant also because of their connection to "tie-hacking" in Wyoming, in which railroad ties were harvested from trees and floated downriver to railroad construction sites.

simpson lake 4 Formerly known as the “The Three Waters Hunting and Fishing Camp”, Charlie Moore of the CM Ranch bought the cabins shortly after they were built and renamed the site “Simpson Lake Lodge.” The Lodge became a popular part of his dude ranch operation. In 1952, Les Shoemaker, who was a local forest ranger, and his wife Alice, purchased the CM Ranch and Simpson Cabins from Charlie Moore. Les and Alice loved people and they took genuine pleasure in sharing the CM and the Simpson cabins with their guests. In 1992, the cabins were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Use of the cabins continued until 1997 when the CM Ranch was purchased by the Kemmerer family, and ownership of the structures was assumed by the Shoshone National Forest.

The Simpson Lake cabins have stood against brutal winters and harsh elements at an altitude of 9780 feet for almost 90 years, which is a true testament to their exquisite log construction by exceptional craftsmen. They are cherished by many local residents as well as the hundreds of recreational visitors who stayed in the cabins during a 70 year span.  The cabins at Simpson Lake are rapidly deteriorating and require stabilization of the roofs and foundations to prevent further decline. Work will begin summer 2016 through a cooperative partnership which includes the Forest Service, Fremont County and HistoriCorps.

Check out this great video to learn about the history of the ranch and the partnership that has been formed to save it:

Project Location:

Wind River Mountains
Fremont County, Wyoming

The GPS location of the site is:
43.421903, -109.740951

Closest town:

Dubois, Wyoming

Project Logistics:

The Simpson Lake Cabins project is logistically and simpson lake 3physically more demanding than most HistoriCorps projects. At the beginning of each session, project participants will meet in Dubois, WY to carpool to the trailhead. Project participants will then hike with their gear 4 miles to the project site. The hike takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. Volunteers will setup camp onsite and stay there until the end of the session. At the end of each session, project participants will hike 4 miles back to the trailhead with their gear and carpool back to Dubois, WY. Project participants need to be physically fit. 

Accommodations, meals, attire and travel:

  • Volunteers will be provided with free, onsite camping.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own camping supplies including: tent, sleeping bag, pillow, toiletries.
  • Volunteers are responsible for their transportation to and from the project.
  • HistoriCorps will provide volunteers with breakfast, lunch, dinner, water and snacks.
  • The work day will last from 8:00am – 5:00pm with breaks for lunch, snacks and water in between.
  • Volunteers must come prepared with proper attire including: sturdy work shoes, long pants and a work shirt.

Age Requirements:

18 years old and above

Volunteers Needed:

9 volunteers per session


  • Session 1
    July 16, 2016 - July 24, 2016
  • Session 2
    July 30, 2016 - August 7, 2016