A state of staggering variety, Montana is truly one of the nation’s best camping destinations. The eastern part of the state characterized by badlands and prairie, the west is where most of the fun is found. Camping in Montana means sleeping in some of the most sensational landscapes anywhere in the USA.
With no fewer than 50 state parks and two of the greatest national parks in America, Montana is an adventurer’s paradise. The brightest star in Montana’s firmament is Glacier National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is blessed with magnificent mountainscapes. If you’re looking to go camping in Montana, Glacier should be at the top of your list.
Many explorers look for camping in Montana’s Yellowstone National Park, a sliver of which lies along the state’s southwestern border. Few people know this, but Montana is a superb access point to the world’s very first national park. If a visit to Yellowstone is on your itinerary, make sure to enter the park via the scenic Beartooth Highway.
Another great camping destination in Montana is gorgeous Flathead Lake, located within the Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation and the contiguous USA’s largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Numerous recreation areas surround Flathead Lake, offering excellent picnicking, fishing and camping. More adventure-minded travelers might want to attempt an ascent of Granite Peak, the highest mountain in the state.
If you’re looking to travel off the beaten path, Montana offers you plenty of opportunities to do so. With more than 70 different mountain ranges belonging to the giant Rocky Mountains chain, it is easy to unplug and get closer to nature while camping in Montana. Pick a lesser-known campground and explore Montana “behind the scenes”.
In addition to fishing, rock climbing, and camping in Montana, there are myriad other ways to enjoy the state’s glorious natural scenery. Go mountain biking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, backpacking…the list of choices is never-ending!
This is a very popular campground in the Livingston area. fills up fast in the summer, but totally deserted in the late fall and winter. Campground hosts usually are straight from the Third Reich and had many years of tutelage under Heir Hitler himself, instead of chillin around a campfire enjoying life they patrol the campground with a copy of Mein Kampf in tow. Good basecamp for many great day hikes. Pine creek falls is really popular and about a mile, George Lake and Pine Creek Lake are good hearty all day hikes.
The major down fall is no campfires. The camp host are excellent during the summer, the views are beautiful on the backside of the campground. Across the street is 2 city parks and city pool. This place is open year around.
The Maxey Cabin, although sparse in its' appointments, is a magical destination that is accesible year round. With two sleeping cabins, a large sun deck, fire pit and outdoor swing, this forest service cabin offers the active ncabin camper a gateway to the many recreation opportunities available in the world famous Hyalite Canyon recreation area- Bozeman's backyard.
The main cabin offers a table and chairs, two double bunk beds, wood stove for heat and a small counter area for preparing your meals. Guests need to bring their own water supply and all cooking supplies including stove, pots and pans and utensils. The second cabin has two single bunk beds and a table.
Invite your friends because they will want to share in the quiet solitude of Maxey cabin and there is plenty of room. At approximately a 35 minute drive from Bozeman, the convenience of this retreat is unmatched.
Excellently maintained and kept clean throughout, visitors to Maxey cabin can survey the surrounding mountains from the large front deck. Once you've been, you'll wonder why you haven't been before and not want to tell your friends.
If you are planning a weekend excursion, be prepared to reserve your spot 6 months in advance as reservations typically are in high demand.
You have to drive through part of Great Falls, Montana to get to this campground, but once you are in it, you forget all about the city. You get the full camping (in a campground) experience, but you can easily drive into the city to pick up whatever you forgot to pack.
Our site was in what they call a tent village, which is a nice roundabout of tent sites. There are walls separating the sites for privacy, but the area is big enough for your vehicle and a large tent, or multiple smaller tents. Toward the middle of the roundabout is a covered area, including a table, counter, electrical outlets, and a large cabinet that can be locked with a padlock. The tent villages are very close to a nice restroom/showers that require a key code to get in.
The original KOA. This place is well kept, and staff was very friendly. Our site was pretty far from the restrooms/showers/office/store, but that was made up for by the spaciousness of the site, a picnic table, and access to potable water at the site, even though that was not included in our site description when booking. You can also hear the Yellowstone River flowing behind the site, which was nice to fall asleep to. In the mornings, they offer a pancake breakfast. In the evenings, there is an ice cream social where you can meet other campers, swap stories, share experiences, etc.
Spring Creek Campground is a small campground along spring creek in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The campground sits is a small canyon making this a potentially good campground to avoid the summer heat, which also means a colder camp in the spring and fall. Spring Creek campground has 10 campsite sitting along the creek among mature fir and pine trees, all sites have picnic tables and metal fire rings. The campground has two vault toilets and one hand pump for water. A trailhead is located in the campground and is for a spur on a 15-mile multiple-use trail. Like bears, then your in luck, bears may frequent the area so a mandatory food storage order is in affect. You'll need to keep all food in approved containers or stored in your vehicle as no food lockers are available. It is reported that Brook Trout can be caught in the creek. Want a little more excitement, the campground is subject to flash flooding so keep tabs on the weather as heavy rains at the site or upstream can result in flash flooding. If the creek starts to suddenly rise be prepared to move.
A ranger review of Ethnotek Premji 20 Liter. Travel Day pack. This is an excellent day pack. Just the right size for a full day out on the trails. The Premji 20 Liter has plenty of room for all the gear you will need for a full day in the wilderness. One of the things I like best about the Premji 20 Liter is the side zipper which allows you to easily gain access to items at the bottom of the pack without having to take everything out. A small pocket at the top of the pack is great for holding granola bars or other small snacks or objects. Another small pocket on the back has holders for pens/pencils, your cell phone and other items such as a note book or maps. The pack has two external pockets, one which is a mesh pocket. Both of these will fit water bottles such as a Lifestraw Go, or Camelbak chute. Two sets of double side straps allow you to strap additional items like a jacket to the outside of the pack. The shoulder straps are comfortable even after a full day of hiking. The pack has plenty of padding which means no gear poking you in the back. The only thing I would add to this pack is a chest strap, but this is just because I like having chest straps on my packs. Overall a great pack for a day on the trail.
Cooper Creek Campground is a nice quiet campground in the Helena National Forest. Cooper Creek Campground offers 20 sites with metal fire rings and concrete picnic tables, and has three vault toilets and potable Water is available from a hand pump. For those who like to fish, the campground is along Cooper Creek and Snowbird lake is just across the road from the campground. Like to hike, the trailhead for Snowbank Creek/Sucker Creek trail is just across the road next to Snowbird lake. The trailhead has plenty of parking space and a Vault Toilet. Like bears, good, this is grizzly bear country so Food Storage Order is in effect. You will have to store your food in your vehicle as storage lockers are not available. Campground does have trash service. Cost in 2018 was $8 a night put this is planned to go up to $15 next year, but still well worth the price.
A Ranger review of the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG / Soft Ground.
I really like these shoe, but when I first pulled them out the box I wasn't sure. My first experience with these shoes was a little hard, hard as in, these shoes were hard to get in to. I though I was going to have to send these back, but I finally got them on. These shoe need to be broke in as they are very snug around the ankle. Luckily the shoes get easier to put on as you wear them, but still a bit of a challenge. That snug fit at the top of the shoe has its advantage, you don't get debris in your shoe as there is no room for anything to make its way into the shoe.
I was concerned at first that these shoes would not provide enough protection from rocks, but after taking them out on the trail my mind was changed. I was able to hike a rocky trail easily and comfortably, I even purposely stepped on loose rocks to see how it would feel. While I could feel the rocks, the shoe was tough enough to protect my feet, even the front of the shoe has enough material to protect your toes if you stub your toe on a rock.
A few things to note when you take the shoes out of the box, be sure to put the inserts in the shoes. I missed them at first and wore the shoes for several days before noticing them. While they are slim, those inserts made the shoes so much more comfortable. The shoes have elastic laces, but also come with a set of traditional laces, but the shoes fit so well I could probably go without the laces at all.
We stayed here in our TT with son and daughter-in-law, once we were able to find it. 30 minutes after setup, we noticed a horrendous odor coming through the campground. Strong sewer/sulphur smell, but the host couldn't find the cause in his 15 minute search, so he quit looking. Showers and restrooms were filthy; dirty, buggy, and hairy. Dog in the pool are. We bailed as soon as we could the next morning. This is the only campground (out of 6) we stayed at on this trip that did not ask us for a review, I wonder why………..
Cottonwood Campground is a nice small 4 site campground. While the campground is near Canyon Ferry Lake it is not on the lake. Boat access to the lake is possible from a boat launch in a day use area past the campground, the launch is to a side channel of the Missouri River. While the campground is listed as a dispersed camping campground I would not call this a dispersed camping area. The site has four established campsites with picnic tables and metal fire rings. These four campsite take up the entire area and does not leave on a place to "disperse camp". The site has a ADA Vault toilet and one of the four campsite is an ADA site with a large concrete pad. One thing that is nice about this campground is that you need to know it's here, their is no signage along Highway US 12/287 to indicate that their is a campground here. The site has no water or trash service so come prepared. No fee is charged for the site.
Unplanned road trip from Seattle to Glacier NP. I had planned on staying in Missoula for the night, or at least camping close. It was terribly hot, around 100 degrees at 8pm. We started heading south from Missoula into Lolo Ntl Forest towards Idaho. Every campground we came across was full. Almost to Idaho, we pulled into this lovely place. We pulled into the upper (left) side. There were not many folks camping here, but the right or lower side was full. It was quiet, the vault toilet was clean and stocked. Our site was cut into a steep hill. Tent pad and table were level, but be careful heading the couple feet down to the car. The woods behind us gave me a little pause about bears and wildlife, but we were just fine. It was cool, shady, and quiet. A lovely last night to our trip before pushing back home.
You won't find a more beautiful drive than Hwy 12 through Idaho! I wish I would have taken pictures but I must have been camera'd out after our time in Glacier.
We drove from Seattle to Glacier in one day. Last minute road trip in early August. We did no planning other than what we wanted to do in Glacier National Park.
Stopped at Kalispell for groceries and White Fish for dinner. Decided that was as far as we were going to get for the night. Made some phone calls for a tent opening and no one could accommodate us but Sundance. It's pretty packed together, bordered by a fence on the side. Tents on the outside, trailers on the inside of the U shaped loop.
The good: The folks in the office were super nice. Told up we could pick anything that was free at this point. There is power and water at the sites, some have a shelter built for hammocks or tents. The bathroom had showers and stalls like a KOA or Encore campground. It was pretty nice!
The not so awesome: Our site was down on the far end. Close by train noise every 40 minutes or so. Our site was cramped and lot very even. Our table was so warped it was unusable. The bathrooms were a bit of a trek uphill. The trash was overflowing and pretty gross, we picked some of it up.
We were only there to sleep. Got in, set up, went to sleep, packed up at 5am and headed out to Glacier. It would be a fine base for GNP activities, maybe best in a trailer were you weren't relying on provided picnic tables and could drown out the train.
We took a last minute trip to Glacier in early August. Stayed in Columbia Falls the night before we arrived, hoping to make it to the campground to snag a last minute sight. Arrived at Many Glacier about 8am. Confused about the reservation vs first come first served process. Apparently you must be waiting for a campsite at 5am to be part of the first come first served lotto. We found a spot that we thought was open, as there was nothing posted on the sight number. Unloaded and got set up just to have the ranger come around and tell us we had to leave. They happened to have a last minute cancellation in the reserved area and allowed up to drag our tent over there. She saved our whole trip!
Many Glacier is a great location. Bathrooms are clean and bright, water, bear lockers, and trash are easy to locate. We hiked,rode the boats, chatted with some great neighbors, and heard many tales of bears in the campground. We'll be back, with a bit more planning next time.
Loved everything about this place, and would definitely come back and visit. Here are some things we really enjoyed:
- Campground was easy to locate- I hate when we are traveling from out of town and trying to find a spot and there are no signs. This place was well marked, and actually the GPS took us right here.
- Nice rangers- they helped us find our spot and also told us some great things to do nearby! There is a lake close by and they told us how to get there. Also told us some great hiking spots, which is why we came in the first place.
- Clean- The bathrooms and campground were clean. There was actually TP in the bathroom too!! Shocker!! Dumpsters on site as well.
- Great hiking!!! Look up hikes and GOOOOO!!!
- Campsites are "bigger" which was really like because we didn't feel squished.
Really enjoyed my stay at this campground. The people that were working were super friendly and helpful. They gave me a list of great hikes in the area, and they were definitely right! The hiking was incredible. I love living in Montana and being able to hike some of the best spots ever. Flathead is also an amazing spot, so really any campground in the area is good in my opinion. This campground is known for some of the best sunsets, and that is definitely correct. I have actually stayed at this campground multiple times because the sunset is that great. There is a hike nearby that will lead you to the top of a mountain and the sunset is even better!! Flathead Lake is gorgeous and makes staying here that much more better. You are able to cool off in the lake on hot summer days. This lake is packed in the summer because of the lake and campgrounds. Definitely reserve your spot online or calling because there is no way you will be able to walk up and get a spot in the summer!! The hiking is amazing! The last time I went, the flowers were in bloom and were amazing!! See my pictures attached. That is literally all I took pictures of because they were awesome. Highly recommend this campground!! I will be coming back again and again and again!!
Montana is such a beautiful place to visit. We come every summer but try and hit a new spot in Montana every time. We like experiencing new places, new hikes and new campgrounds! This place was great, definitely met all our needs!! The campground was super clean! We didn’t spot any garbage anywhere when we came! We saw some other reviews that said it was a little dirty, but we didn’t think so! The campsites were decently big, fit our RV perfectly! We stayed 3 nights and loved it. We hiked in the morning nearby, and all were amazing! The hiking in Montana never disappoints. The views are spectacular. We also saw so many deer coming in and out of the campground which we love! This seems to always happen when we stay in Montana :). Lots of chipmunks, birds and deer! We love it. There was a really yummy burger joint down the road that we stopped by on the way to the campground and on our way home! Super good burgers, fries and milkshakes!! The campground has many trees which was great for hanging our hammocks. We hiked in the morning and hung out in the campground in the evening reading in our hammocks. It was pretty relaxing!!
We stayed here while on a hiking trip to Glacier National Park. We stayed in one of the small cabins, but they had RV and tent sites as well. They had a small shop with snacks/food, and souvenirs. We didn't use the pool but it looked nice. The cabin had a nice porch with swings. While small on the inside, it had everything we needed. It was good proximity to hiking within the park.
I love visiting Montana to do hiking and camping. The outdoors here is amazing!! Mountains everywhere, and wildlife everywhere!! The campground was awesome. Here are some things we liked:
- Well kept/clean- this is something that seems to be rare now a days. We liked that the restrooms were clean, and toilet paper was stocked. There are dumpsters in the campground which make it easy to clean up after yourself.
- Awesome hiking! We hiked every day that we were here. The views are amazing!! We did one hike that was 8 miles round trip, 4 miles round trip, and 6 miles roundtrip. All were amazing!
- The rangers were great! They helped us find our spot, and then tell us where some great hiking was!
- Campsites were big. This is ALWAYS a plus!! Also, the campsites have a table and fire ring. We loved using the fire rings at night to make smores!!
We will definitely be coming back! :)
To me, the best part about camping is just being outside and also hiking! If the campground is mediocre but the hiking is fantastic, then its a win-win for me. This campground was "okay," nothing really special about it. It was clean, but a bit small. Thankfully we went during the late week, so it wasn't too busy. We honestly stayed here because it had the nights we wanted available and it was close to a few hikes we wanted to do. The campground, like I said above, is smaller but it was clean and well kept. We got in a bit late, and our campsite was tagged for us so we knew which one was ours. We got up that morning and did a great hike (can't remember name?) that was about 10 miles roundtrip. Some of the best views! Beautiful wildflowers throughout the hike, which I always love. The campsite is pretty basic, with a fire ring and table in your campsite. The table that was in our campsite was a bit beat up, we were a little afraid to all sit on it because we thought it might break! No water spigot, so definitely bring enough water and filtration system if you plan to do some hiking. We stayed here 2 nights, and did 3 different awesome hikes! Probably wouldn't stay here again, but definitely would come back to this area.
Wood Lake Campground located at the south end of Wood Lake is an awesome campground tucked in the mountains near the Bob Marshal Wilderness Complex. One of the nicest things about this campground it the new shinny (very shinny) concrete picnic tables. These are the nicest picnic tables I have ever seen in a campground. The 12 campsites sit mostly in a stand of mature fir and lodge pole pine. The sites are roomy, each having the new picnic table and a metal fire ring. The campground has two vault toilets and a hand pump. It was windy during our visit so we picked site 6 at the south end of the campground, the trees blocked most of the wind. A hiking trail head is located in the campground. The campsites were listed at $6 per night, but a notice was up announcing a future change to $10 per night, still a great deal for such a nice campground. Although we visited in the off season (October) It appears that this is a Pack-in/Pack-out campground.
This campground sits along Ford Creek a few hundred yards below Double Fall, a very nice water fall worth the stop for sure. Be warned if it is wet I would pass by this campground, park up near an area by the road to visit the water fall. When wet things get muddy, and the roads in the campground get bad. We were able to drive down to one site, but had some difficulty getting back up to the main road. The site we stopped at had the picnic table and fire ring about 50 feet apart from each other. We were able to walk down to a second site, but didn't dare drive to it due to the mud. The site has a vault toilet. We believe the listed 3rd and 4th campsites are past the outhouse but didn't want to risk mud bogging in a mini van to check them out. After visiting the water fall we drove six miles down the road to the next campground. Their is no fee for this campground. This is a pack-in, Pack-out site with no water.
If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. It is remote, secluded, and beautiful. If you are looking for peace and quiet, it's definitely available here! There isn't "much" to do…if you're looking for swimming pools, golf courses, yada yada…but if you just want to camp in one of the prettiest places on earth, this is it.
If you were getting ready to hike in from this trailhead the next morning it might be an okay place to sleep in your truck - or warily in your tent because there could be traffic. No picknic table or fire ring and maybe only one flat spot in the dense grass right by the river. It gets a lot colder in a riparian area at night. Decided to go to Big Hole campground instead.
Newlan Creek Reservoir FAS has lots of opportunities for camping. The FAS has six different camping areas. The first three camping areas are right next to each other. They are like three developed campgrounds in a row, to go from one to the other you have to get back on the main road then turn into the next section. The other three camping location are less developed and more spread out further along the reservoir. The first three areas have numbered sites with distinct parking pads. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings. Each section has a vault toilet. Section 2 has a boat launch and dock. An interesting thing was that the campsite numbers do not always go in order, and jump around. Found three sites listed as site #4, two of which were in the same section. Most of the sites in the first three sections are in the trees. The last three camping sections are all in the open with no trees. Water is not available and you must pack out your trash.