Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services like trash removal, and few or no facilities such as tables and fire pits, are provided.
Dispersed camping takes a lot more effort than camping in a developed campground, but for those with an adventurous spirit, it can be a lot of fun.
Here are some important points to remember about dispersed camping:
- The maximum length of stay in a forest ranger district is 21 days per year. Please practice good outdoor ethics about camping, travel and behavior while visiting. Dispersed campers are allowed to park within one vehicle length (including any tow vehicle) of a National Forest transportation route and walk into camp.
- Dispersed camping is not permitted in developed campgrounds and day use areas. Other areas closed to dispersed camping include historical and archaeological sites. Also, be certain that you are within the boundaries of the National Forest before setting up camp. To prevent resource damage please keep your campsite within 150 feet from a roadway.
- Dispersed camping is not allowed in these areas:
- within one mile of Pinecrest Basin
- along 7N83, Clark Fork Road
- along Hwy 108 between Clark Fork Road and Kennedy Meadows Road
- Leave No Trace Camping – Camp so no one notices you while you are there, and no one even knows you were there after you leave. Please respect nature and other visitors by keeping noise to a minimum. Always pack out whatever you pack in. No permanent structures are to be constructed to an area, such as building rock-lined fire pits, trenches around tents, or carving into trees.
- Human waste should be deposited in a hole dug 6 - 10 inches deep and then covered with organic soil.
- Vehicles are not permitted off of roads, but if you can safely park your vehicle adjacent and parallel to the road and are not blocking the roadway, you may park and camp. Most sites will have a parking spot nearby while other sites may not. Because the footprint of a vehicle can have a large impact to soils, please do not create new “parking spot” for a campsite. Please park in designated or already impacted spots.
- If you are going to an area where others have camped before, pick a site that has been used before. Plants, soil and wildlife are impacted by new campsites so using existing ones will minimize your impact in the forest.
We want you to learn some of the many reasons to enjoy the quiet and solitude of dispersed camping, it’s up to you to LEAVE NO TRACE.
Learn more information about dispersed camping with our Recreation Opportunity Guide.