Sula Ranger District

The Sula Ranger District, located near the historic ranching community of Sula, Montana, is tucked into the southeast corner of the Bitterroot National Forest.  The district, which is bordered by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest to the east and the Salmon-Challis National Forest to the south, is comprised of 250,000 acres of public land, 41,000 of which lies within the districts’ managed portion of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness.  In August 2000 the Forest was heavily impacted by wildfires in which 56% of the Sula Ranger District's lands were burned.  Evidence of this event is very visible from many areas on the District still today and will be for generations to come. 

History is abundant on the Sula Ranger District.  A segment of the Lewis and Clark Trail passes through the District, including the famous meeting site between Lewis and Clark and the Flathead Indians, at historic Ross’ Hole – present day Sula. 

Tribal history is evident throughout the District, having one of the few segments verified through cultural research of the Nee-Me-Poo National Historic Trail.  Additionally, the Medicine Tree, significant to Salish Indian lore, is located within the District.

A portion of the Continental Divide Trail, managed by both the Bitterroot and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests, leads hikers and horseback riders through rugged country, and past snow-covered peaks reaching nearly 10,000.’  While trails through the Wilderness provide solace and solitude, motorized users are welcomed on many of the trails and roads on the Sula Ranger District.

Opportunities for camping, both convenient to Highway 93, and conveniently remote, are plentiful on the Sula Ranger District.  Indian Trees Campground offers the chance to see ‘Indian-peeled’ scarred trees, which were peeled to reach the cambium layer for food used by Tribal Peoples, sometime between 1835 and 1885.  Other popular campgrounds are Spring Gulch Campground which is located on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River, while Crazy Creek, Warm Springs, and Martin Creek Campground’s are in close proximity to numerous hiking trails.  For the equine camper, Crazy Creek Horse Campground allows horse-users the opportunity to enjoy a developed campground which accommodates stock while being conveniently located to many trails.

Other recreational opportunities include historic lookouts and cabins which are available to rent.  The East Fork Guard Station, built in 1914, can accommodate groups up to thirty-five or offer a solitary get-away in a one room cabin that sleeps up to 8 individuals, and is located on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River.  Medicine Point Lookout, restored in 1998, affords spectacular 360* views of the Bitterroot Valley and Range, including Trapper Peak, the highest point in the Bitterroot Range.  McCart Lookout, which is poised on the edge of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and was restored in 1997, was built by Roosevelt’s ‘Green Army,’ the Civilian Conservation Corps, along with many other lookouts after the fires of 1910.  Lastly, the Twogood Cabin, an old ‘cow camp,’ constructed by local homesteading families and transferred to the U. S. Forest Service in the 1990’s offers a rustic get-a-way experience.

Winter activities are one of our specialties.  Lost Trail Powder Mountain is a family operated downhill ski area that has been in operation for approximately 64 years.  It is located at Lost Trail Pass just 12 miles south of Sula off Highway 93 on the Montana-Idaho border.  For the Nordic skiing enthusiast there are both groomed and ungroomed trails located at Chief Joseph Pass just east of Lost Trail Pass on Highway 43.  The Chief Joseph Pass Cross-Country Ski Trails have been developed through a cooperative effort among private individuals, the Bitterroot Cross-Country Ski Club and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Bitterroot National Forest’s.  Ungroomed snowmobile trails can be found all over the District.  Lost Trail Snowpark Trailhead is located at the junction of Highway 93 and Highway 43 at the top of Lost Trail Pass.  Snowmobile parking is provided at this trailhead and there are miles of ungroomed trails to explore.

Recreationists can enjoy activities on the Sula Ranger District year-round.

Wildflowers on Sula Peak

Wildflowers on Sula Peak

Bitterroot NF District Map

Bitterroot NF District Map Link opens in a Pdf Document

Sula Basin

Sula Basin