Dexter I.

Helena, MT

Joined May 2018

Off the beaten path campground near Yellowstone

Tom Miner Campground is tucked away 12 mile west of U.S. 89 and only 17 miles from Gardiner and the entrance to Yellowstone NP.  This nice campground is set in a mature fir tree forest which provides plenty of shade.  The sites 16 campsite are nicely spread apart and each features a picnic table, metal fire ring and bear lockers.  Water is available from a hand pump and vault toilets are available.  This is a Trash-in/Trash-out camp gound.A small creek runs along the edge of the campground.  Tom Miner sits at the edge of the Gallatin Petrified Forest and has a nature trail that take you to some cliffs with petrified wood embedded in the rock.  Scavengers have taken most of the petrified wood along the trail but still some nice specimens can be seen.  A permit is required if you wish to search the forest for your own petrified wood.  The road to the campground is very well maintained most of the way, the last few miles are narrow and a little bumpier.  Right before the campground the road forks at a forest service information sign, turn right for the campground, turning left will take you to an area of disperse camping.

Wilderness camp with a hot springs soak

If a backpacking trip in to a wilderness area with a hot springs next to your campsite sounds like the perfect trip, then Stanley Hot Springs is for you.  Stanley Hot Springs located in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is just under a 5 mile hike from the trail head located in the Wilderness Gateway Campground.  The trip in to the hot springs gains about 1500 feet, but the climb is worth it as you get to soak your tired legs after the hike. 

Plenty of campsites can be found around and near the Hot Springs.  Water can be filtered from the near by creek.  You are backpacking so be prepared to bring out everything you bring in.  You are also in Bear Territory so be prepared to hang your food in a tree and bring bear spray.

Getting to the hot springs can be a little tricky as their is no bridge over the creek, so you will have to ford the creek, unless you can find a series of log jams to cross on.  Best bet for finding you way is to ask someone hiking out for suggestions on crossing the creek.

The creek crossing will not be possible in the spring or during high water flows.   We managed an easy crossing over log jams in July, but others a week earlier forded the creek in waist deep water.

The area was clean during our visit, so please keep it that way.

Great camping in tall ponderosa pines

Grizzly campground is a nice campground in a tall Ponderosa pine forest.  Campground is named for Grizzly creek which joins Ranch Creek at the campground, Ranch Creek flows along the edge of the campground.  Campsites are nicely spread apart.  Each of the nine campsites has a picnic table and metal fire ring.  The campground has water, trash service a Accessible vault toilets, several older vault toilets which are not ADA accessible are also available in the campground.  No Grizzlies where seen during our visit.  Since the campground is on a side road a mile from Rock Creek the campground was very quiet due to the lack of car traffic.

Nice campground on Rock Creek

Harry's Flat campground is a great campground along Rock Creek, set in a huge old growth ponderosa pine forest.  The sites are large, especially the ones bordering right up to Rock Creek. The campground has 15 campsites each with Picnic tables and metal fire rings.  The campground has vault toilets and a few bear lockers for food storage, water is available.  Not all the campsites were available during my visit as about 1/2 the campground was closed due to damage during the heavy spring and early summer rains.  This is a great spot for people interested in doing some fishing, as Rock Creek is a blue ribbon stream, with brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.  Cost is $6 per night, first come first served.

First to Review
Camp and fish at the Dalles Campground

The Dalles Campground is a nice pleasant campground with 10 sites along Rock Creek.  Situated in a mature lodge pole pine forest all the site have plenty of shade.  All sites have picnic tables and metal fire rings.  Site has a water hand pump and ADA vault toilet.  Site 1 was interesting as you have to walk up an embankment to reach the site, which makes it not visible from the campground road.  A bear proof locker is available for food storage.  Being along Rock Creek gives those who wish to fish access to the blue ribbon stream with brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.  Cost is $6 per night.  All the sites are nicely spread apart.  The road to Dalles campground is not recommended for RVs of trailers as it get pretty bumpy after the pavement ends,  this only get worse the further you travel down the road, but is doable if you drive very slow.

Not a campground - trail head for Welcome Creek trail

This is not a campground but the trail head for Welcome Creek trail that enters the Welcome Creek Wilderness area.  It does have a nice vault toilet.  Closest campground is the Dalles campground 1/2 a mile down the road.

Walk in tenting campground

Norton campground is not for the RV crowd.  This 13 site campground has only designated parking areas, no pulling into a campsite.  Those camping will need to walk their gear a short distance to their camping location.  The campground is a single loop with all the campsites in the center of the loop.  Numbers painted on the picnic tables tell you which site you are in.  Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.  Some site are close to each other, most are nicely spread out.   This is not a location for RVs, they just won't fit, if you have anything bigger than a pickup truck with a camping in the bed then continue down the road, anything larger than a pickup or with a trail will not fit with out stealing parking availability for others.  Site has water and vault toilets.  The vault toilets are old and are not to ADA standards.  Cost is $6 per night, first come first served.  Beautiful Rock Creek, a blue ribbon stream, is near this campground. Fish Species include brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.  The only downside to this campground is the private home right next to it.

Very small but nice campground

Pettengill Campground is a nice pleasant three site campground.  This is the first campground as you travel up the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway.  The campground road and parking pads are all paved.  A large paved parking area is also available and is used for snowmobile parking in the winter.  One vault toilet and water is available in the summer.  All three sites are quiet nice, with good spacing between them.  Each site has a metal fire ring and picnic table.  At $6 per night you can't beat the price.  With only three sites crowds will not be a problem.  The campground is right next to the byway, but noise is not a problem as the road only received recreational traffic.  Plenty of near by hiking trails in the area.  Further up the byway be sure to visit Coolidge Ghost Town and dig for crystal at Crystal park.

Amazing nice small campground in the Pioneer Mountains

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.

Not the location of Jo Bonnor - this is a maintenance facility

This is not the correct location of Jo Bonnor Campground, this site is a maintenance facility.

Get a tan while camping and fishing in this wide open campground

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.

Camp, Fish and boat on Big Hole River at this small campground

The BLM's East Bank campground is a small campground on the Big Hole river that has seen better days. Most of the trees in the campground have been removed due to beetle kill so sites are more in the open. The sites are well spread out and a few still have large trees. Each site has a gravel parking pad, picnic table and metal fire ring. The boat launch area is still nice with large trees along the river, a few picnic tables with fire rings are in this area which look like they could be used as a camping site but are small in size. The boat ramp is dirt, but the area has a large parking area. The recreation area and campground has vault toilets(handicapped accessible), but no water or trash service so come prepared. Their is no fee for this site.

Pleasent small BLM Campground on Big Hole river

Dicky Bridge Campground is a small BLM campground located near the Big Hole River, just off of Montana Highway 43. This 10 site campground is well shaded by large pine trees. None of the site sit on the river as a forest service road runs between the campground and the river. The site does have a dirt boat ramp and a larger parking area for vehicles and their boat trailers. All sites have level gravel parking pads, picnic tables and fire rings. Campground has pit toilets. No water or trash service at this campground, but the price is great at$0.00.

Nice BLM campground on Bigh Hole River

The BLM's Divide Bridge Campground is a nice campground located on the Big Hole River just off of state highway 43. The campground is a short distance past the pleasant day use area and boat launch. Just before the campground is the Sawmill Gulch Trail Head. The campground has two loops. The upper loop sites are more in the open and have shelters over the picnic tables. The lower loop has campsites along the river. No shelters over the picnic tables in the lower loop, the sites along the river are the best and offer the most shade. All sites have level gravel parking pads and have picnic tables and fire-rings. The two pit toilets sit between the two camping loops, the site also has water, but no trash service.

Nice little campground on the Big Hole River

Brownes Island Fishing Access Site is located 6 miles south of Melrose on the Big Hole River. This nice little Fishing Access/Campground has five campsite sitting under large cottonwood trees. The campsite all have dirt parking pads, metal fire rings, picnic tables with a decent amount of room for tents. The campsites are nicely spread apart from each other. The camping area has one ADA accessible vault toilet. The FAS has a dirt boat ramp just down stream from Brownes Bridge. No water or trash service at this campground, but the price to camp can't be beat, the site is free. While this site is near the Interstate and a railroad the campground was still fairly quiet thanks to all the large cottonwood trees.

First to Review
Beautiful small campground on the Big Hole River

Salmon Fly Fishing Access Site is a beautiful small campground along the Big Hole River. The site has six campsites all nice spread apart from each other, and a decent size day use area. Sites have gravel parking pads, metal fire rings and picnic tables, along with nice grass areas to set up a tent. The fishing access site is with in walking distance to the small town of Melrose. The site has one vault toilet. No water or trash service is available. The site has a concrete boat launch, but be warned that Montana FWP has posted that the water is shallow for larger boats. The campground is nice and quiet, far enough from the Interstate to not really hear the road traffic, there also is a lightly used rail line near by, but did not notice any train noise while at the site. Cost to camp is$12 with a valid MT fishing license,$18 with out, if you are over the age of 62 then those rates drop to$6 or$9 a night.

Dispersed camping with great views

Cow Creek Disperse camping area is a large fairly flat grassy area just off the road. Area is in the wide open on a high spot above the Ruby River meaning less bugs as you are unprotected from any breeze that may be blowing. The site has great views of the surrounding mountains and of the Ruby River below. Site has on large rock fire ring. Plenty of room to fit a large group at this location, with no problem finding flat spots for your tents. Disperse camping along FS route 100 is only allowed in designated locations in this part of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. All forest service disperse camping rules are in affect. Stay is limited to 16 days. No facilities at this site(so come prepared. Site is at an elevation of 6428 feet.

Disperse camp with a Outhouse!!!

A Outhouse!!!. Dispersed Camping Area 6100J is a large camping area a short distance off forest road 100 with four to six established sites depending on how you look at it. But the best thing of all is just across FS road 100 is a vault toilet. The camping area sits between FS 100 and the Ruby River, unfortunately none of the sites are along the river. I said 4-6 sites as a few of the rock fire rings are very close to another fire ring, could fit to groups of campers at these sites, but why would you want to be so close to someone else while disperse camping. Good size fire rings at nice flat locations with plenty of room to set up camp. The vault toilet did not have any paper in it when I visited, but it was after the usual camping season and the middle of hunting season. The site also has 3 tie up rails for horses at the entrance to the camping area. Disperse camping along FS route 100 is only allowed in designated locations in this part of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. All forest service disperse camping rules are in affect. Stay is limited to 16 days. No facilities at this site(except for the vault toilet) so come prepared. Site is at an elevation of 6472 feet

Not the location of Maidenrock FAS

This is not the location of the Maidenrock campground.  The campground which is part of Maidenrock Fishing Access site is located further south.  The correct location can be found at

First to Review
Small FAS campground on Big Hole River

Maiden Rock Fishing Access Site is a small fishing access site which allows camping. This Fishing access site has two picnic tables, one of which has a large rock fire ring next to it. The other picnic table has had fires next to it but does not really have a fire ring, one could be made however as enough rocks seem to be available. Their is also a BBQ grill in the area but no table near it. A few old buildings are at the site and are fenced off for safety. The site has on vault toilet, no other services area available. This is a fee site. Access to the river is through a break in the fence along the shore of the Big Hole river. This is not the greatest camping area, and private residents are near the site.