Lolo National Forest

Quick Facts

Lolo National Forest


(406) 329-3750


Things To Do


Located in the "big sky country" of Montana, lies the Lolo National Forest. The Forest surrounds the western Montana community of Missoula. The crest of the Bitterroot Mountains divides Montana from Idaho and serve as the forest's western boundary. The Continental Divide through the Scapegoat wilderness defines the forest's eastern boundary. Four major rivers and their streams offer some of the best fishing in the Rocky Mountains. The topography varies from remote, high alpine lakes to whitewater streams and from heavily forested ridges to smooth rolling meadows. The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area offers many recreation opportunities right on the edge of Missoula. Whether your interest is recreation or local history, the Lolo National Forest has something for just about everyone. With four wildernesses, many lakes and rivers, and unique visitor centers that are historic as well as informative, the forest has plenty to offer. Located west of the continental divide, the Lolo NF is influenced by both continental and maritime climates. These climates provide for a wide range of environmental gradients producing a forest of diverse ecosystems. These ecosystems range from wet, western redcedar bottoms to high alpine peaks, and forests of alpine larch and whitebark pine.

Map of Lolo Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 46.665369, -114.490794



  • Bicycling

    Cycling is a great way to travel through the forest, see nature and get those legs and heart pumping. There are many trails that are great for mountain biking, places for road cycling and the nearby "Route of the Hiawatha" is a uniquely educational, historic and beautiful bike route that is a must for cycling enthusiasts.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There are many places to go for a scenic drive on the Lolo National Forest. A couple of popular drives include: Montana Highway 83 on the Seeley Lake Ranger District which offers beautiful views of the "Chain of Lakes," and U.S. Highway 12 along Lolo Creek on the Missoula Ranger District which has many interpretive signs recounting the days of Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perce Tribe.

  • Camping

    The forest has a variety of rental cabins ranging from lookouts on mountain tops to historic log cabins located in beautiful canyons where blue ribbon streams flow. In addition, there are some wonderful campgrounds on the forest. Many campgrounds in the Seeley Lake Area are on lakeshores and many dispersed camping opportunities on the forest.

  • Fishing

    There are many opportunities for lake and pond fishing, as well as river and stream fishing across the forest. Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the winter months in Montana. The Seeley Lake Area has some excellent lakes suitable for ice fishing.

  • Hiking

    The forest is abundant with wonderful day hikes to choose from. Backpacking is also a perfect way to visit some very beautiful and unique areas in remote locations such as in designated wilderness.

  • Historic Sites

    The forest is a great place to learn about local history and nature. There are many interpretive areas with signs explaining historic or natural features in the forest such as a rifle pit for soldiers or squirrel "middens" along the nature trail. There are also two historic visitor centers on the forest which are "must visit" sites.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horse riding on a trail in western Montana...there's nothing else finer - except maybe a sunset too. Looking for a place to ride or camp with your horses? There are many opportunities across the forest. Slowey Campground is conveniently located for those traveling with stock along Interstate 90. For those who are looking for a campground off the beaten path, Clearwater Crossing Campground is located near fishing and trail riding opportunities.

  • Hunting

    Big and small game hunting, and bird and waterfowl hunting are permitted in designated areas in accordance with Montana state hunting regulations.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Other than winter/snowmobile use, motorized vehicle travel is allowed only on designated trails and roads on the Lolo National Forest.

    There are also areas on the Lolo National Forest where snowmobile use is allowed only on designated trail systems. For specific informaiton on roads and trails available for motorized use in both winter and summer please see consult appropriate forest maps or contact individual ranger districts.

  • Picnicking

    Food and the great outdoors...what a great way to spend the day! They have some wonderful places to unpack your picnic basket and stretch your legs. Most campgrounds have picnic areas with tables and grills for general picnicking. Group picnicking sites feature areas designed for large groups.

  • RVing

    Most campgrounds offer some RV camping opportunities, but please check individual campgrounds because some for size limits. Some campgrounds offer special amenities for RVs.

  • Water Sports

    Looking for places to swim, water ski or go boating? Tow your motorized boat to the "Chain of Lakes" on the Seeley Lake Ranger District. Floating or paddling through the forest is the perfect way to view wildlife and take in the beauty of riparian vegetation. So, bring your kayak, canoe or tube and enjoy the many waterways. Swimming and playing in the water are a favorite pastime at the "Chain of Lakes" on the Seeley Lake Ranger District.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Visit a bighorn sheep viewing area, walk a nature trail, spot deer in the river, or look for owls in the trees. There are so many places to visit and ways to appreciate wildlife!

  • Winter Sports

    There`s nothing like a fresh dump of snow to get people off the couch and out to the woods in the wintertime. So, grab those skis/snowshoes, or haul that snowmobile and enjoy those snowflakes. For more information on snowmobiling, please contact the ranger station in your area of interest.

Phone Numbers


(406) 329-3750