Special Places

Photo of adults and kids hiking on a path adjacent to a lake


We think our entire forest is a special place!

Visit the forest to:

  • enjoy nature and scenery
  • fish or hunt
  • hike
  • camp
  • drive around
  • breathe fresh air
  • make a campfire and chat with friends

Something for Everyone

We have two beautiful wildernesses for you to explore.

We also have two scenic driving tours that might be more your speed.

Whatever interests you in the great out-of-doors, there's bound to be something on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest that gets you off the couch and into the forest. Come out and explore!

Highlighted Areas

Crystal Park Picnic and Mineral Collection Area

Crystal Park is a unique recreation area at an elevation of 7,800 feet in the Pioneer Mountains in southwest Montana. Crystal Park is open for day use only and has a fee per car. Facilities include 3 picnic sites with tables and grills, information signs, toilets, and a paved trail with benches and an overlook. The facilities are designed to be universally accessible.

Quartz crystals are scattered liberally through the decomposed granite of the unique 220-acre site that's been reserved by the Forest Service for the popular hobby of rockhounding. Quartz crystals are hexagonal (six-sided) prisms, with a pointed "face" at each end. The crystals found at Crystal Park can be clear, cloudy, white, gray or purple. They can be smaller than your little finger or up to several inches in diameter. Gray, purple and other colors are caused by minerals within the quartz. Gray crystals are known as "smoky" and the highly prized purple ones are called amethyst. Single crystals are most common at Crystal Park. Most of the crystals have little value other than as collector's items.

Rules established for Crystal Park include a ban on tunneling. The rules are listed on signs throughout the park and in brochures that are available at the site. Hand tools are the only tools allowed for use, and there is a five-day-per-person season limit on digging.


Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps Camp

Nestled amid the Pioneer Mountains, the Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp was constructed in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal." It operated for 6 years with a peak enrollment of over 200 men. Birch Creek is one of the best remaining examples of a CCC camp in the nation and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The Bender Center was constructed at Birch Creek by the University of Montana Western in 1984. It provides a place for diverse educational, recreation, and social opportunities.

Of the 15 original buildings, 6 remain today. We invite you to wander among the buildings and listen for the whispering echoes of the Boys of Birch Creek.

More about Birch Creek CCC