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!
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We ended up at Doris Creek while searching for a campground that was close to Glacier but not in the park (since we didn't make any reservations). It's a decent campground with nice lake access. The sites seem to be catered more towards RVS and campers than tents (we pitched our tent on a patch of gravel) but the ground was level. Pit toilets are available and each campsite has a picnic table.
On our last day in Glacier we headed over to Bowman Lake in hopes of finding a campsite. Despite it being the end of June we got there at 2 PM and found plenty of sites open. We had out pick of the little. The sites are all great. Lots of trees to use for hammocks, good picnic tables, and nice fire pits. The campground only has pit toilets, but the secluded area makes up for it. This is the place to go to avoid the regular Glacier camping crowds. The campground is about a 5 minute walk to the lake and just a short drive form Polebridge. Absolutely gorgeous and my favorite place to camp in Glacier.
We stayed at 3 different sites in Fish Creek due to it being so full. The only way we could get reservations was if we moved each day. But all of our sites were great. Fish creek sits in a forested area and is quite a large campground. Several large loops. The bathrooms are nice and it was pretty quiet at night (except for the one night where a thunderstorm rolled through). The campground is within reasonable distance to Apgar Village and Lake McDonald. Definitely a good place to use as home base if you're hoping to explore the park.
Fourth of July Campground is a nice campground set in a lodge pole pine and fir forest. This small six campsite campground is fully paved including the parking pads and has paved walking trails through the campground as well. Their is also day use only sites for those wanting to picnic with out having to occupy a campsite. This is a great campground and only$8 per night. All the campsites and day use sites have picnic tables and metal fire rings. Water is available from a handpump and the vault toilet is handicapped accessible. Be warned that there is no trash service so be prepared to pack out your trash. All the site in the campground are nicely spread apart. The campground is open in the off season, if you are able still able to access the campground. I visited in late November with no problem as the area had not yet received any snow. No fees or water in the off season, but the vault toilet was fully stocked.
This is not the correct location of Jo Bonnor Campground, this site is a maintenance facility.
Fish Trap FAS campground is a nice campground along the Big Hole River. The campground is in the open as no trees occupy this area, the closest you can get to trees is some willows on the west end of the campground. While this campground sit along state highway 43, it is quiet at night as this is a lightly used highway with little to no truck traffic. The campground's 17 site all feature level gravel parking pads, picnic tables and metal fire rings, and plenty of grassy areas to pitch a tent. Two vault toilets serve the campground and water is listed as available on FWP's website, but I don't recall seeing it, but I did visit during the off season. I would consider this with out water if you where to camp as the website also list the boat ramp as being concrete but sure looked like a rock approach to the water. No trash service. Easy fishing access along the length of the camping area, about½ the campsites sit along the river. Camping fees are$12 with a valid fishing license,$18 without.
It’s $12 a night per campground if you have your Montana’s fishing license, camp spots are right next to the river with easy access.
The campsite comes with a small fire pit and a picnic table there’s also access to restrooms in the warmer seasons.
There are no time restrictions and no gate, first come first served, about 15 spots.