Welcome to the Kootenai National Forest

Grahpic of a brown Forest Service signboard with white text stating Kootenai National Forest U.S. Department of Agriculture

Come and Explore...

Encompassing the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana, the Kootenai provides tremendous opportunity for exploration!

About the Forest

Summer Destinations

  • Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge

    Photo thumbnail showing suspended bridge over river
  • Ross Creek Cedars

    Photo thumbnail showing giant cedar trees up close
  • Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway

    Photo thumbnail showing Koocanusa reservoir body of water from a distance on a mountain top
  • Ten Lakes Scenic Area

    Photo thumbnail showing trees with lake in background
  • Stone Hill Rock Climbing

    Photo thumbnail showing rock cliff faces amidst trees
  • Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

    Photo thumbnail showing A-Peak mountain in the distance with greenery in the foreground

Latest Information

  • Keep up with the latest on the Kootenai on our Facebook page. Click the + sign (above) to expand the section and view the Kootenai NF Facebook Feed or go directly to our Facebook page.
  • Fires on the Kootenai

    Screenshot of a satellite map of Montana with fires identified by red and yellow flame symbols

    Use the following links to find the latest information on fires on the Kootenai. Note that information may be preliminary and subject to change as more information is reported on emerging fires.

  • Huckleberry Picking

    Huckleberry shrub with ripe purple berries in the foreground.

    Huckleberry season has finally arrived in Montana and we hope you have the best time out and about on the forest in search of this delicious fruit. Just a friendly reminder that while gathering huckleberries for personal use is free on the Kootenai National Forest, we do not allow commercial picking or the reselling of those huckleberries.

  • Mushroom Harvesting 2023

    Three tan mushrooms with wrinkly oblong heads grow in a group from the forest floor.

    For the 2023 season the Kootenai will only be offering one type of mushroom harvesting permit; Personal Use Free. Individuals may also harvest mushrooms at Incidental Use levels without a permit. For more information on mushroom picking, obtaining a permit, and incidental use, please use the following links.

  • Kootenai Complex Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape

    A small scale map of western Montana and Northern Idaho shows the Kootenai Complex and Nez Perce-Clearwater-Lower Salmon WCS Landscapes and the total 33 firesheds identified in the Wildfire Crisis Strategy in the Northern Region, 9 of which are in the designated landscapes.

    In April 2022, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack designated 10 fire prone landscapes across the Western United States as initial priorities for implementing the Wildfire Crisis Strategy. This strategy outlines dramatic action that must be taken to treat hazardous fuels and reduce the risk of wildfire to communities, infrastructure, and municipal watersheds. On the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests, The Kootenai Complex was included in the initial landscape designation and plans to treat nearly 45,000 acres in 3 priority firesheds by 2026.

  • Great American Outdoors Act

    Looking out the windows of a firelookout at snow dusted peaks beyond.

    The Great American Outdoors Act gave the USDA Forest Service new opportunities to deliver benefits to the American public through major investments in recreation infrastructure, public lands access, and land and water conservation. These investments will contribute to economic growth and job creation in rural America.

Interested in Receiving Forest Project Notifications?

For each new project on the Kootenai National Forest after July 10, 2023 you can sign up to receive project updates automatically using the signup form below.

Sign up for Email Updates

To sign up for email updates on forest projects or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.



Food Storage Requirements on the Kootenai National Forest

Animal resistant food container

A food storage order signed in April, 2022 requires food storage and garbage practice across the Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters.

View Feature


  • Current Conditions
    Stay current on weather and road conditions for your visit to the Kootenai
  • Be Bear Aware!
    Learn about bear safety and the Forest mandatory food storage order.
  • Firewood Cutting [PDF, 183K]
    Firewood permits remain free in Northern Region Forests through December 31, 2022, but you must obtain a free permit and abide by it when cutting. Contact your local office to obtain a required permit.
  • The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail OffSite Link

    The Kootenai is home to a portion of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.