Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF Offers Abundance of July 4 Recreation Opportunities

Contact(s): Leona Rodreick

     As the July 4th holiday approaches, the Forest Service would like to remind those who are planning for the holiday weekend that there are great places throughout the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest to visit.  The forest has over 3,200 miles of trails, 76 campgrounds, picnic and recreation areas, as well as being home to the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.

     Among the traditional camping, hiking and fishing activities, visitors are known to also enjoy wildflower viewing, photography, exploring the back country and a multitude of family activities.  Additionally, there are 25 rustic cabins available throughout the forest for rent during the summer and fall hunting season.  Go to to find out more and to reserve a cabin.

    Before you plan your trip, check for current road, trail and campground conditions online at and always check to see what the current weather conditions are and go prepared for changing conditions.  Visitors are cautioned to stay on the road to avoid getting stuck or starting wildland fires and to pay attention to road closed signs;  Also, before setting up your camp look up, down and around for trees and large branches that may fall.

     Access to high-mountain lakes and trails may still be blocked by late-season snow.  Hiking to high peaks and hiking high-elevation trails may not be feasible until mid to end of July.

     Many trails may not be open at higher elevations or muddy.  Please stay on the trail and do not create new trails to get around hazards.  Trail users should expect many trails to be impassable from fallen trees.  The Forest Service will have minimal ability to clear trees this year due to decreased budgets and the lack of seasonal trail crews.

     Visitors are also asked to be careful when recreating in the forest due to the potential for trees to fall.  Here are a couple of handy tips:  Be aware of your surroundings and avoid dense patches of dead trees.  Trees can fall without warning; place tents and park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if a tree falls; Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.

     Bears, both black bears and grizzlies, are out and about.  Keep your camp clean and store food out of reach of all animals.

     Visitors are cautioned to be extremely careful with fire, fuels such as grass, shrubs and trees are drying out fast this year.

Fireworks are prohibited in National Forests.  Fireworks and dry grass and trees are a bad combination.  Never leave a campfire unattended.  Make sure your campfire is extinguished completely and the coals are cool to the touch before you leave.

For more information, call the nearest Forest Service office to the area you wish to visit.