Special Places

Highlighted Areas

Grahpic of a brown Forest Service wilderness signboard with text stating Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Kootenai National Forest

Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

Located within the heart of the Kootenai National Forest, the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness contains over 93,000 acres of beautiful, rugged, glacier-carved mountains.

Ten Lakes Scenic Area

With the Canadian border on the north side, the Ten Lakes Area is dominated by a high ridge of the Whitefish Mountains. Alpine glaciers carved deep scallops, or cirques, and high, rim-rocked basins which shelter numerous small lakes.

Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway

This stretch of State Highway 37 parallels Lake Koocanusa for 67 miles. The view of the lake is fantastic and there are numerous camping, picnicking, and boat access points located along the byway. Two marinas are also on the byway.

Ross Creek Scenic Area

This area contains a grove of ancient western red cedar trees growing along the banks of Ross Creek. A self-guided nature trail forms two loops of different length winding among the grove and providing views of many cedars up to 8 feet in diameter and 175 feet tall. Benches along the trail afford opportunities for rest and quiet reflection on the beauty and wonders of our natural world.

Kootenai Falls - Swinging Bridge

Kootenai Falls is one of the largest free flowing waterfalls in the northwest. The calm river suddenly gathers momentum surging first through China Rapids and then over the falls, dropping 90 feet in less than a mile. The main falls is 30 feet high and can be viewed from a “swinging bridge” that crosses the river.

Stone Hill Rock Climbing Area

Stone Hill has all the qualities of a premier sport climbing area. Climbers are attracted to this hidden area in the northwestern corner of the state because of the steep quartzite cliffs. The views of an open ponderosa pine forest and Lake Koocanusa make this undeveloped area stand out from the rest.

Recreation Areas


  • Be Bear Aware!
    Montana is bear country! Learn about bears and safe practices while visiting the Kootenai
  • Food Storage Order
    A food storage order signed in 2022 requires food storage practice across the Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters
  • Know Before You Go OffSite Link

    Regardless of the activity, always be prepared! Stay informed of current conditions and follow safe practices when enjoying your National Forests

  • Leave No Trace OffSite Link

    Visitors are asked to practice Leave No Trace principles while on the Kootenai National Forests to help maintain this abundant ecosystem and sustainable recreation