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Bitterroot National Forest Kicks Off Summer Season

Como Lake campground
Many of the campgrounds in the valley are ready. (KLYQ Photo)

Even with the uncertain weather this weekend, everybody wants to get out into woods.

And we have a lot of woods waiting. the Bitterroot National Forest is 1.6 million acres big, and it is right next to a few million more acres of forest and wilderness here in Montana and in Idaho.

Tod McKay, Public Affairs Officer, says there are about 250 campsites, 26 campgrounds, and more than 1,500 miles of trails.

But he cautions you “early adopters” to be ready for unpredictable weather. There was fresh snow on parts of the forest last week. And the creeks and streams are running fast and cold, with occasional surges in levels.  By the way, if you come across roads that are flooded or damaged or culverts that are plugged, let the Forest Service know.

Other tips:

  • Bring potable drinking water. Many campground systems are not yet working.
  • Stay away from soft, muddy roads. You can only cause more damage and get stuck!
  • Expect heavier traffic during the holiday weekend.
  • NEVER leave a campfire unattended. Make sure your coals are cool to the touch when you leave.
  • Expect some campgrounds to be close. The Mountain Pine Beetle has killed many trees and the areas are closed so the dead and dying trees can be removed.
  • Lost Horse Road gate is closed due to soft muddy conditions beyond Lick Creek Road.
  • Remember to “Pack It In, Pack It Out” with your garbage – especially in the early season.
  • Como Lake is a Day Use Fee area – $5 per vehicle or $30 for a season pass.
  • Woods Cabin at Lake Como is closed for renovation.
  • The Como Lake Boat Launch is open.
  • The Como Lake picnic area and trailhead will be closed during the weekdays because of logging.
  • Darby Ranger District (406) 821-3913
  • Stevensville Ranger District (406) 777-5461
  • West Fork Ranger District (406) 821-3269
  • Sula Ranger District (406) 821-3201


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