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!
We used it as a base for Yellowstone. Beartooth hwy was undescribable! Amazing views. Close to Red lodge. It's not perfect by no means but felt safe. Word of advice though, don't try and do everything in Yellowstone from one Basecamp. Spend more time traveling than anything else. I knew Yellowstone was big but damn!
13 miles from town, but you wouldn't know it. Well marked trails. Lots of trees well established trails. Hosts were friendly and helpful. Site well kept. We will be back for sure.
The camp hosts were incredibly friendly and accommodating. One of our crew arrived a day early to scout the place and ended up asking if we could switch to another site that was on Lake MacDonald. It was fantastic! The access to the lake was 20 feet from our tent site and it was serene and private on Labor Day Weekend. It was about 10 mins form Apgar Visitor's center and easy access to the exit of the park and Going to the Sun road. We stayed for 5 nights and barely heard any other campers. The campground is HUGE and there is ample space for spreading out.
Beautiful campground and a short walk to Lake McDonald. Shuttles available at this campground. We were in loop A as close as you can get to the lake which is within walking distance. No traffic noise near our site, A55. Got there early with no RSVP and had no trouble getting into a spot. Must keep camps maintained and items put away at all times due to bear activity or you will get warned or fined. Shops and visitors center within walking distance. Had the best time with family camping, hiking and paddle boarding! No showers.
This is a backcountry site so reservations required. Small backcountry site that sites above the Sperry Chalet (open again in 2020) Coming from trailhead, with a 6.5 mile 3,600 elevation gain with no views, or a 15 mile hike in from the east off GTTS and over two passes. But the animals and hiking out of here are great! Comeau pass to sperry glacier, lincoln pas and Ellen Wilson lake are great hikes out fo the campground. Occasionally, stunning sunsets also from here. No fires, water is available.
Not that many people know of this campground, which can be very good if that is what you see. Off the road, 6 miles drive in on dirt road that suddenly ends. Small campground, close sites to each other and water access not as easy as other glacier sites. You look out a long flat meadow toward the triple divide area of the park and it is a 4 mile hike to the trail heads to go north, triple divide and red eagle lake or south to morning star lake and pitamahkin pass. No service close by, no motor homes either! So, for daily hiking you are an 8-mile round trip just to get to access the good stuff, flat and easy but it does add the miles each day.
Smaller campground in Glacier, tents only as opposed to some of the others with motor home access. toilets, water and fire pits. Next to the lake with shallow water as you walk out in to the lake (SO WARMER WATER!) However, so close to going to the sun road that you can get a lot of traffic noise well in to the night and very early in the morning. A few miles drive to other services. Views are okay, after the big fires on the other side of the lake last year, things will look different for the views for the next few years.
Large campground, close to services and inside park. Much exposed to the wind, which can be brutal. Little scenery. Fire pits, water access and toilets. A couple miles to all services, quick access to going to the sun road. Not a favorite of mine but when you need to get a spot to camp, this beats not having one.
The premier campsite in GNP! Not because the campground is great but because many glacier area is the premier park of the park and this campground has you in walking distance of everything. Lots of spots, many can be reserved through the parks service, some are first come and that has become a contact sport!! You now have to get in line prior to 6 am in order to get one of the spots that will vacate later…….that day. Fire pits, water and flush toilet in campground. Store, pay for showers and restaurant very close by. Stunning views and trails very close and wildlife abounds including moose (fishercap lake) and Griz. Look at the hills sides every evening but always have bearspray all the time on any trail.
The advantages here are many! Just off going to the sun road, but generally quiet. Fire pits, trees and nature around, yet very close by is a store, pay showers and a restaurant. Or just tent and do your own thing at your site. If you are a photographer, this is the place for easy access to wild goose overlook sunrise photography as less than a mile away. Also, very easy access to St. Mary 6 miles and then many glacier and other 18 miles (which is nearly impossible to get a camping spot at)
One of the larger BC campgrounds, it makes for a great basecamp for a 2-night stay before moving on. Decent views to gunsight pass, mount Jackson and the Jackson glacier. Jackson glacier is a side trail the other side of the lake, or an attempt at the 10,000 mountain. Deer can be pests here! From going to the sun, Jackson glacier overlook it is a very easy backpack to the campground with little elevation gain.
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.