The Bitterroot National Forest is located in western Montana.
Where is this Forest?

High country snow at Lost Trail West Fork Ranger Station Elk calf Bitterroot flowers



Welcome to the Bitterroot National Forest

Leave your stress behind! You will find this spectacular 1.6 million acre forest in southwest Montana and Idaho to be a priceless national heritage. Half of the forest is dedicated to the largest expanse of continuous pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states -- the Selway Bitterroot, Frank Church River of No Return, and the Anaconda Pintler. Much of its beauty can be attributed to the heavily glaciated, rugged peaks of the Bitterroot Range. Drainages carved by glaciers form steep canyons that open into the valley floor. The abundance of natural resources offers a wide range of opportunities for recreation, grazing, wildlife, fisheries, timber, and minerals. Come enjoy the magnificent mountains, the serenity of wilderness, the miracle of spring flowers, majestic big game, and the sounds of birds here in our land of multiple uses.


"A beautiful flower, a beautiful river, a valley, a magnificent range - such is the Bitter Root" 

   - Wheeler, 1898 -

Forest Seeks Comments for Lake Como Plan

The Bitterroot National Forest is inviting the public to attend several open houses beginning next week to discuss and solicit input regarding the Lake Como Recreation Area on the Darby Ranger District.  Three different meetings are scheduled with the first one taking place on January 18th in Darby.  See below for open house dates and locations.

The Forest is in the initial stages of working on a Management Plan for Lake Como.  An estimated 200,000 people visit the area annually making it the most utilized recreation site in the entire Northern Region of the Forest Service.  The area is very popular for water sports, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, skiing, and ice fishing among other activities.  It is easily accessible year-round and visitor use continues to increase.

Recreation specialists will be available at the open houses and would like to hear from the public regarding what kind of activities they would like to see occurring at Lake Como.  There will also be numerous maps showing some of the existing and potential future uses for the area.  The open houses are the first phase of the planning process and are sort of the brainstorming phase.

Lake Como open houses will occur:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 18th at Darby Community Clubhouse, 106 Main Street, 6-9 pm.
  • Saturday, Jan. 21st at Bitterroot NF Supervisor’s Office in Hamilton, 10am-2pm.
  • Tuesday, Jan 24th at Bitterroot NF Supervisor’s Office in Hamilton, 6-9pm.

If you are unable to attend the meetings, you can still provide feedback by utilizing this comment form and returning it to the Darby Ranger Station.        

For additional information contact Erica Strayer, Darby/Sula Ranger District at (406) 821-3913.

It's All Yours

The National Forests and Grasslands are all yours to discover, enjoy and care for and are some of the most accessible public lands available; both in the variety of activities - hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, motorized sports, skiing, and more - and their geographic spread - seven in ten Americans live within a two-hour drive of a National Forest.

When we say "It's all yours to explore, discover and care for" we mean that.  Like most things that people "own", National Forests require care and stewardship.  National Forests depend on you to be good stewards of the land by recreating responsibly, following outdoor ethics, and getting involved in the care of these places.  Your efforts will ensure they remain healthy and vibrant places to recreate for generations to come.



Winter in the Bitterroot National Forest

Children having fun snowshoeing.

Winter is a great time to visit the Bitterroot National Forest.  From the thrill of downhill skiing and snowmobiling, to the quiet solitude of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, there is something for everyone. 

Discover the Bitterroot Store

Discover the Bitterroot Store

Looking for that unique outdoor or nature related gift?  Visit the Discover the Bitterroot store in the lobby of the Forest Service office in Hamilton.

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Got Your Bitterroot National Forest Travel Map?

The new forest travel plan, approved May 11, 2016, designates 2,246 miles of forest roads and trails open to motorized use, nearly the driving distance between Hamilton and New York City. 

Discover the Bitterroot - Facebook

Stay in touch with the Bitterroot National Forest on Facebook!  Our Discover The Bitterroot page offers photos, videos, weather and road reports, recreation information, and much more.


Four Rivers Lottery

The Main Salmon, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Selway, and Snake-Hells Canyon Rivers, located in central Idaho and eastern Oregon, offer a broad range of floating and recreation opportunities.

Forest Tips to Hunters

Good luck to all hunters looking for that trophy bull elk or other game animal in the Bitterroot National Forest.  Here are some tips for making your hunt more enjoyable.

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