The best camping near
Helena National Forest, MONTANA

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Camping Montana Helena National Forest
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Most Recent Helena National Forest Camping Reviews
Small free campground with plenty to do

Atkinson Park Campground at the north west corner of Cascade offers free camping at the north end of the park. Camping at the park appears to most suited to RV camping as they don't want any camping outside of the parking pads due to not wanting damage to their sprinkler system. That being said it appears that you should have room for your vehicle and a tent as long as you did not have a trailer with you. The park has a pavilion with running water, and BBQ grills. Flushing toilets are also available. The individual camp sites do not have tables or fire rings. Camping is limited to three nights. It appears that the campground has 4 sites, sites 2, 3 and 6 are marked, another spot which I assume is site 1 looks the same as 2& 3, could not find any place that might be sites 4 and 5. Additional recreational activities are available during your stay. The park has a nice sized playground, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a skate park. For the RV crowd there is a free RV dump at the entrance to the campground. The campground sits along side the interstate so you will have plenty of road noise throughout the night. While this would not be my choice for a location to camp, it is a free camp ground that would be a good spot to stay the night for a tired traveler

Review of Outdoor Element's Firebiner at Duck Creek camping area

Review of Duck Creek camping area

This was our second camp at Duck Creek this year with our Venturing Crew. This time we conducted a wilderness survival camp at the far opposite end of the camping area from our last camp. We constructed our survival shelters on the sand and gravel shore of Canyon Ferry Lake. We picked the shore in order to get away from the bugs. The cottonwoods and willows held plenty of little vampires looking for blood, the grassy areas had fewer mosquitoes but a recent hatch had occurred and although they didn't bite all those bugs made you thing you were being attacked. So the beach it was, it was amazing that you could walk out on the beach and not have any bugs, what a slight breeze will do. After setting up our shelters it was time to build a fire and cook dinner. Our site had a rock ring built into the sand, but we found this to be to close to the trees for our liking as the wind would blow embers into the vegetation. We built a new ring next to the water for the nigh. You will be unable to find our fire ring as any evidence of our visit was removed the next morning…Leave no trace. Their is no problem finding fire wood at duck creek drift wood is everywhere. If you want to stay at Duck Creek be prepared, this is primitive camping. No vault toilets, no water, no trash service, no metal fire rings, but you do have cell service.

Ranger review of the Firebiner from Outdoor Element.

Gave the firebinder to one of our Scouts to get a fire started, sparks up really well, she had a little problem due to how windy was, but a second try with a cotton ball covered in petroleum jelly had a fire going after three strikes. Our Scouts gave the striker five stars. The cutting blade worked well on string and fishing line, how ever we could not get through 550 para cord, and with such a small opening you are really limited on what you can cut with it. Over all everyone likes the look of the firebiner, and it held up to a weekend of use, is small and light weight and has worked well for clipping items on to packs.

A nice lil place to be

I went just overnight to go watch the metor shower. I camped in a tent. Deer wandered into the campground throughout the night and morning. You can hear logging creek moving from no matter where you are. The road was a lil rough with the washed out gullies in the road with the cattle guards. But I overall loved it.

Very quaint

Nice little campground with fire pits and picnic tables. There is one pull through spot near the bathrooms and the rest are pullouts along the loop (about 6 spots total). We fit fine in a 30’ travel trailer, but we did have to get creative and make sure we parked over enough because we have opposing slides and didn’t want to block the road. There are pretty loud trains going by every once and awhile and you can hear some highway noise, but after a little bit you get used to it. Great little stopover for a couple of nights.

RV disperse camping on Canyon Ferry Lake

You almost don't realize that this area open to camping and would drive right by if it were not for a plywood sign just after crossing a cattle guard. The plywood has just a few signs on it, one listing the number of nights you can camp for. The others are the camping rules, travel restrictions and notice that spot must be occupied at night. This camping area is a mile north of Confederate Campground. When you look back up the road leading to the camping area you can notice a vault toilet in the distance. It is over a½ mile to this vault toilet down a two track road. One flat grassy camping spot can be found about half way to the toilet. This grassy spot is your best bet if you have a tent with out a crowd. The spot is on the shore of the lake with just a few young willows between you and the water. The remainder of the camping appears to happen just after the ADA vault toilet.  A few more grassy spots are possible near the vault toilet, then there is a narrow section of gravel beach on which RV's turn in to a parking area. The RV's line up one right behind the other on this beach as this is the only real level place to park. No other services besides the ADA vault toilet is available so come prepared. The area has no picnic tables and any fire rings are on the beach made by previous visitors. The site does not have a boat ramp, but the gravel shore would make it easy to launch one.

Pretty good campground

Was a pretty decent campground to camp at. It was mostly TT staying there at the time we went and seen wildlife within the first 30 min of setting up. Swimming area is nice and water was warm however it may have been too hot to tent camp. There was only a few places to find shade to set up a tent but we were unable to fine a shady spot for throughout the day that's the only reason for the 4 and not 5 stars.

Very nice.

In response to Adrian S, who posted similarly under another name on Google….some facts are being left out.  She stated “after reading the rules about tents” the hosts tried to “extort money from them”. If they read the rules they state camp sites are for one camping unit with one tent allowed for children 17 and under.  When asked about the tent they initially said it would be occupied by adults, when told them about the rules they stated there would be a ch8ld joining them….so it was dropped.  In addition, we wouldn’t ask them to pay more for another adult tent, they would be asked to obtain a second site.  As for stepping in front of her husband….he was speeding throughout the campsite (the two were obviously having a disagreement, but the speeds he was traveling in his anger, could have hurt someone. He did almost hit me as I tried to get him to slow down, but definitely didn’t “throw” myself in front of him….I had to move out of his way….and she wasn’t in site of the occurrence.  When she came walking past I asked if that was her husband and when she confirmed it was, I told her he needed to slow down in the campground and she proceeded to start cussing at me…to which I responded “no problem, I’ll just call the Sheriff.  

I normally don’t respond to criticism…if I’m in the wrong and/or true facts are stated.

Gravel road to get to and noisy

First of all you have to get on a 10 mile dirt road to get to the campground. The road is not too bad for a truck or SUV. May be a little challenging for normal passenger cars but doable.

Both campgrounds are nice and close to the waters edge. However a noisy and busy train track for freight trains run on the other side of the river. It feels and sounds like freight trains will run right thru your tent at all times of the day.

The big plus: its free.

Popular with the boating, fishing, and RV croud!

Usually pretty well filled up most last spring and summer weekends.  Not so busy during weekdays.

Listed twice

This campsite is listed twice. Maybe someone added a new one and didn’t see this one. This one does have a good description of the campsite. Great campsite. The pictures should give a good idea of the area and the great campground. As well as rules and costs. The river is across the highway.

Nice spot to rest

Nice stopping point between Glacier and Yellowstone. It was quiet and beautiful. The creek is fun to play in! The only negative was all the mosquitos! It was only $5 per night so it was worth it!

Relax on the shore of Canyon Ferry Lake

Confederate Campground is a Bureau of Reclamation campground on the shore of Canyon Ferry Lake. This small free campground does not have developed campsites with the exception of the one ADA available campsite. Their appears to be six camping spots, five that have rock made fire rings, the only developed site is the ADA site which has a concrete parking pad and metal fire pit. No picnic tables are available at this campground. The campground does have a ADA accessible vault toilet directly across from the ADA campsite. Two of the campsites sit along the lakes beach. Don't be expecting a nice sandy beach however, this is a gravel beach, but still nice. Two sites are near the vault toilet and ADA site, these sites sit on the edge of the lake among cotton wood trees and willows. The final location is away from the other sites in a grassy area near large cotton woods. Camping at Confederate campground is limited to 14 days. There is no water, trash service or picnic tables so come prepared. Their is not a boat launch at this campground, but boats can easily be launched from the rocky beach area. All water craft regardless of size must be inspected prior to launching at Canyon Ferry Lake.

Quiet, nice night on the way to the mountains

Walk in sites were available, the privy was realllly clean, the sites were breezy, and very quiet.

Stay at the White House for Free

Whitehouse Campground is the only campground of three along the upper boulder river that still exist as a full fledged campground. The other two are now just disperse primitive camping areas. Whitehouse Campground is listed as having 5 campsite, but during our visit counted 12 site with tables and fire rings. The fire rings appear to be all rock rings until you check and find they all have metal fire rings with rocks that have been placed around the rings. Three other sites with rock only fire rings with no tables have also been built by past visitors to the area. The campground has one vault toilet and there is a hand pump at the entrance to the campground just behind the information sign on the right hand site of the drive in to the campground across from the first available site. This is a Trash-in Trash-out campground so come prepared to haul your trash back out with you. The first two sites you drive through are in the trees and isolated from all the other sites, the other sites sit in a fairly open area and are all in site of each other. If you want to go on a nice hike just head the 2 miles up Thunderbolt Mountain road across the road from the campground entrance for a 4.5 mile hike to Cottonwood lake with decent fishing for cutthroat trout. White house campground gets very busy during the fall hunting season and tends to have a steady amount of campers though out the summer months. Have stayed here several times and have always been able to get a site with a table and fire ring during the summer season, but best to avoid during hunting season. Their is no cost to camp at Whitehouse Campground

Perfect spot

This campground is another one to be proud of. Easy to find using The Dyrt and there is a sign right off the highway. There is probably 8 spots not including 5 day(non-overnight) spots. The one we chose was very clean and had a mowed spot to set up the tent. There is a nice firepit to use that has a removable grill on it. There is also a standing grill in case you want to use charcoal to get the grill going. The table is very nice at this one. Probably the nicest I've seen. on a concrete pad with very thick stone tops. We did not do any hiking as our time was limited. the bathroom was very nice as it is the beginning of the camping season here. We brought our own firewood but there was some there that we could have used. 

All in all, highly recommended for comfort and beauty. I cannot vouch for the hiking in the area.

First to Review
Campground is gone, now only a primitive camping area with a paved loop

Lady Smith Campground has meet the same fate as Mormon Gulch Campground. This was a nice campground 10-15 years ago, but today it's just a paved loop with overgrown parking pads and one“Pack out your litter” sign. All the campsites are becoming overgrown, the picnic tables have been removed as well as most of the metal fire rings. The outhouse have been removed as has the pump that use to provide water. The campground area is devoid of pine trees, the area is littered with stumps. The tree were removed due to the massive pine beetle kill off, however Aspen Trees are starting to reclaim the area. Their is one site that still has a usable concrete fire pit and previous campers has set timbers from an old table across some stumps to provide a place to sit. You will have to travel to White house campground if you want a functional campground with water, fault toilets and picnic tables with fire rings.

First to Review
Dismantled and reduced to primitive camping

Mormon Gulch Campground was a nice campground 20 years ago, but today there is almost nothing. If you weren't looking for the turn for the campground you would drive right by as the sign is no longer hanging. A short distance after crossing the cattle guard the dirt road turns in to a paved loop for the campground, then your heart drops. You reach the first campsites and see overgrown parking pads, a dismantled concrete picnic table and a metal fire ring. Beyond the first sites it remains the same, hard to find parking pads, a few still have fire rings at the sites if you can find them, no picnic tables and the two outhouses have been removed as has the pump that use to provide water. The campground area is devoid of trees, the area is littered with stumps. The tree were removed due to the massive pine beetle kill off. The next campground down the road“Lady Smith” has suffered the same fate. You will have to travel to White house campground if you want a functional campground with water, fault toilets and picnic tables with fire rings.

Primitive Group Use Area with no development except a vault toilet

Quigley Group Use Area use to be called McDonald Pass Group Use Area, and the names can be confusing as the old entrance still has a sign saying“McDonald Pass Group Use Area” The new and current entrance list the area as Quigley Group Use Area. What ever name you call it, this is a primitive group use area. You will find one vault toilet for the area and that is about it. Their is a loop for the group use area that at times is paved, but most is a dirt two track. Most of the pull offs in the area have become overgrown. You will not find any metal fire rings, several rock rings have been built. Their are no picnic tables here to use. The site has no water or trash service. The closest water will be at Cromwell Dixon Campground which you will need to drive to as it is two far to walk to. So if you have a group planning on using this site be prepared to bring everything except a toilet. Finding information about this group use area is hard as the Helena National Forest web page does not have anything listed for it. What I was able to find out is that the site is currently free, but the Forest Service has proposed that the fee go to$50 for the site. I stayed here about 8 years ago during a Boy Scout camp. During our stay we cleaned up the tree debris in the area, but since then the parking pads that we used have almost disappeared. This group use area is really suffering from lack of use and maintenance.

Very Small 2 site free primitive campground

Basin Canyon Campground and Picnic Area in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is a bare basics campground with only 2 sites(an old 3rd site can be found but is over grown and falling apart). Be careful not to drive right by the site as the sign for the campground is missing. The two campsites sit on the Boulder River side of the road. A picnic area and two outhouses sit on the other side of the road. One of the two sites is a very nice site next to the river with a picnic table and metal fire ring. This site appears to get heavy use as the ground is all bare dirt. The other site sits closer to the road in a grassy area. The second site also has a metal fire ring and picnic table. This campground does not have water(but looks like it may have in the past) and does not have trash service, so be sure to pack out your trash and bring plenty of water for your stay. Across the road is the picnic area which has three large picnic tables and two concrete fire pits. A rock ring fire pit has been placed in the picnic area and this might be a safer place for a fire at the picnic site do to the encroaching forest at the concrete fire pit location. The picnic area could use a little maintenance. The picnic area side of the road has two outhouses. These are old school wooden framed forest service outhouses, but are very nice, clean and well stocked inside. I did find one more former campsite/picnic site that has pretty much been reclaimed by the forest and the table is falling apart.

Nice free BLM campground right off I-15

Galena Gulch Campground is a free nicely maintained BLM campground just off of interstate 15 south of Boulder Montana. This campground has 10 sites all with metal fire rings and picnic tables. Two ADA accessible vault toilets serve the campground. This is a trash-in trash-out campground. Be sure to bring your own water as there is no water at this campground. Most sites sit along the Boulder River. Camping is limited to 14 days. This is a busy campground despite it not being listed on the BLM's website and their being no indication from the interstate that the campground is present. The main drawbacks of this campground is the noise from I-15 and how busy the campground is. The sites are nicely spread out giving you plenty of room. The entire campground has nice grass covering and is well maintained making finding a good spot for your tent an easy choir.

Camp and fish at a beautiful mountain lake

Helena National Forest's Park Lake Campground sits next to the beautiful Park Lake. A day use areas sits along the east side of the lake. The campground sits above the lake and features 22 campsites with metal fire rings and picnic tables. The campground is paved with paved parking pads. The campground has two vault toilets(a third one sits at the entrance to the campground in the day use area). Water is available from two hand pumps in the campground. This is a very nice campground with the sites nicely spread out from each other. The kids will love all the large boulders to climb on. Unlike a lot of other forest service campground that are off the beaten path, you will still get cell service at Park Lake since you sit on a high spot in the area. The lake provides fishing for Arctic Greyling, and Cutthroat trout. The lake is open to non-motorized watercraft. Follow the speed limit on the way up to the campground as the road can be very bumpy.

Have a quiet unplugged night at Kading Campground

If you are looking for a quiet campground away from electronic distractions then this campground is for you. Kading Campground is located along the upper Little Blackfoot river at the end of Little Blackfoot road. Being at the end of the road and located along the river you will have a nice quiet night as the only vehicle traffic with be those vehicles travel to the campground of near by trail head. Kading Campground has 11 sites, each site has a picnic table and metal fire rings. The campground has two vault toilets. Water is available at Kading Cabin located across the road from the campground entrance. A small public corral is located across the road from the campground, and there are two horse watering troughs in the campground. A trail head at the end of the road can be reached from a short trail at the end of the campground. The trail follows the Little Blackfoot river. A five mile hike leads to Blackfoot meadows a popular fly fishing location. The campground has been recently cleared of its beetle killed trees making the campground much more open than it used to been, but this is still a nice quiet campground to visit.

First to Review
Great for winter camping

I camp here with Boy Scouts since the place is often reserved for youth organizations. In the winter it can be fun but to climb some hills. Each campground has cabins which hold about 11 people and tent spaces out side. The cabin do have semi-decent heating, but not AC. The bathrooms are really big and well developed (and super warm for the winter). There is also a big “roof building” with picknick tables to eat food.

Convenient little gem

Right off the road but feels pretty tucked away. Shared the camp with 3 small RVs but everyone had plenty of space. The are has been cleared of timber and there was plenty of wood laying around. Sites are nice with solid tables and fire pits. Two vault toilets as well. Beautiful creek flows through the campsite. Would recommend. $10 self pay no reservations.

Great spot for a family weekend

This is a great place if you want to get away from Great Falls for a night or two. Each campsite has a fire pit, picnic table and a decent amount of trees. Great little pool on the far side of the campsite is great for kids.

Small hidden campground on edge of the Elkhorn Moutains

Bumped in to this nice little campground after hiking in the adjacent Elkhorn Mountains.  This is a BLM campground with 8 sites, each having a metal fire ring and picnic tables.  The campground is served by one vault toilet.  No water of trash service at this free campground.  The campground sits along Crow Creek.  No one was at the campground during my visit.  Finding information about this campground was hard, it does not show up on the BLM's interactive map, and once found on the BLM site you will not receive any helpful information.  To find the campground turn east off of US Hwy 287 on to State highway 285 (near Toston, MT) heading towards Radersburg.  At Radersburg the Highway will end an the road will turn to dirt and become Crow Creek Road.  Continue down this well maintained dirt road until your reach the sign for Crow Creek Campground.  Since the sign indicating the turn for the campground is the only indication that a campground is even in the area this might just be a quiet get away with few other campers.

Unplug at this nice quiet campground

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Moose Creek campground will allow you to unplug during your visit as their is no cell service at this campground.  Moose Creek campground is located along the newly paved Remini Road.  This 9 site campground is scheduled to increase to $15 per night.  The campground has two vault toilets, one at the beginning of the campground with the first three campsites.  the remaining 6 sites are at the far end of the campground and have another vault toilet to serve them.  All sites have picnic tables and fire rings.  The campground has a water pump located at the beginning of the campground, so if you are staying in the far end of the campground be sure to fill up on the way in.  Be on the look out for the campground's name sake as Moose to visit the area.  Remini road gets light traffic so you should have much in the way of car noise, and Moose Creek runs along the edge of the campground helping muffle road noise.

Nice camground on the Continental Divide

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Cromwell Dixon Campground is a nice Forest Service Campground located on the Continental Divide's McDonald Pass. The campground has 15 campsites serviced by two vault toilets and water spigots. This is a Trash-in Trash-out campground. The campground has a mixture of drive and and pull through sites. All sites are first come first served. This campground use to be nicer until pine beetles killed most of the trees. All the dead trees have been removed making this campground more open, with little cover from the winds. Cromwell Dixon is very busy during the summer months. The campground is available in the shoulder seasons if snow drifts are not blocking your access to the campground. Nearby the campground are trail heads for the Continental Divide trail heading south along the trail. The hike along the CDT trail is a nice hike through rolling terrain.


Quite and right in the lake. You can fish from the bank. Gets windy during the afternoon

10/10 would not recommend

This campground had dead animals, dog feces, ant hills everywhere, and the camp host tried to lie about tent policies to try to extort our family out of more money. Not to mention he threw himself in front of my husband who was leaving the campground, even though his passengers corroborated his experience, the camp host later screamed at me that he was going to call the cops and I am disabled due to PTSD. I have been going to this campground for 30+ years and would never go back after this last experience.