Memorial Day Weekend on the Bitterroot National Forest

Release Date: May 17, 2018  

Contact(s): Tod McKay


Hamilton, Montana – Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional kickoff of the summer season.  The 1.6 million acre Bitterroot National Forest offers unmatched recreational opportunities including nearly 250 campsites in 26 campgrounds, hiking on more than 1,500 miles of trails, boating, biking, horseback riding and more.    

Forest officials hope visitors will incorporate the following safety tips, along with the status of campgrounds, trails and roads, into their adventures during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. 

Key Safety Messages:

  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions.  Temperatures at night are still cool and isolated showers are in the forecast. 
  • Many campgrounds and hiking trails are located near streams that are running extremely fast and high.  Please be cautious around flowing waters and especially at creek crossings.
  • Expect heavier traffic than normal on forest roads and trails over the holiday weekend.  Drive defensively and notify the Forest Service of any flooding conditions, plugged culverts, downed trees or road damage, so repairs can be made.   
  • Stay away from soft and muddy roads as this is unsafe and can damage the roadbed, leading to expensive repairs.  Driving around snow drifts can damage vegetation and soil.
  • Please stay on designated routes.  Free Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) are available at all Bitterroot National Forest offices.  The maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users.   
  • Bring potable drinking water as some campground water systems have not been opened yet.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure your coals are cool to the touch before you leave.   
  • Be extremely careful when traveling and camping around areas of dead trees including burned areas or beetle killed patches.
  • Contact your local Forest Service office to find out if your favorite campground is open.  See list below of campgrounds/recreation sites.  Please contact the appropriate Ranger District for the latest updates and conditions.  

Darby/Sula Ranger District – (406) 821-3913

  • Lake Como Recreation Area:

*Recreation staff is currently working on getting the new potable water system opened and tested.  Please call the Darby District for updates on when drinking water will be available within the Recreation Area. 

  • Lower Como Campground = Will be open for Memorial Day weekend with 11 pull-through sites, *water, electrical, accessible toilets, and garbage service.  Please plan accordingly.  No reservations - first-come, first-served site selection.  Camp host will be on site.  Please call the office for update on campground opening date.           
  • Three Frogs Campground = Open with 21 pull-in sites, *water, accessible toilets, and garbage service.  No reservations - first-come, first-served site selection. Camp host on site.    
  • Lake Como Picnic Area and Trailhead = Open
  • Lake Como Beach = Open.  Swim lines installed after Memorial Day.
  • Lake Como Boat Launch = Open.  Dock is installed. 
  • Rock Creek Horse Camp = Will be open on Saturday, May 20th with 11 campsites, hitch rails, feed troughs, accessible toilets and garbage service.  No reservations - first-come, first-served.
  • Three Sisters Group Site = Can accommodate groups of 75 people.  Pavilion, picnic tables, BBQ grills, toilets.  To reserve, call the Darby/Sula District.  Reservations were accepted starting in January, so the site is mainly already reserved, but there are some dates still available mid-week.   
  • Woods Cabin = Already reserved for the entire summer.  To reserve your fall/winter dates visit the National Recreation Reservation System - www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.  
  • Recreation Passes – Day Use Fees = Required beginning Saturday, May 26.  Cost of the passes are $5/vehicle or $30 for a season pass and are available at all Forest Service offices and area retailers.  Day passes are also available on-site at the recreation area.  Day use fees and camping fees are charged at Lake Como from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
  • Black Bear Campground - Open with 6 campsites and accessible toilet.  No water.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations.  First-come, first-served.
  • Skalkaho Pass (State Highway 38) is currently closed.  For the latest road information visit www.mdt.mt.gov or Dial 511.    
  • Lost Horse Road is only accessible six miles beyond the intersection with Lick Creek Road.  The road is closed to motorized beyond the gate due to soft road conditions and snow at higher elevations.   
  • Spring Gulch Campground – Currently closed due to flooding.  Contact Ranger District for latest conditions and opening date. 
  • Indian Trees Campground - Open with 15 campsites, water, garbage, and accessible toilet.  Camp host on site.  To reserve campsites visit www.recreation.gov
  • Warm Springs Campground - Open with 11 campsites, water, garbage, and accessible toilet.  No reservations – first come, first-served site selection.  
  • Martin Creek Campground - Open with 7 campsites, water and accessible toilet.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first-come, first-served site selection.
  • Jennings Campground - Open with 4 campsites and accessible toilet.    ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first-come, first-served site selection.
  • Crazy Creek Campground – Open with 7 campsites, water and accessible toilet.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first-come, first-served site selection. 
  • Crazy Creek Horse Camp – Open with 7 campsites and accessible toilet.  No water. ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first-come, first-served.

Stevensville Ranger District:  (406) 777-5461

  • Bass Creek Recreation Area:  
    • Charles Water Campground - Open with 26 campsites, and accessible toilet.  Camp host on site.  Potable water and trash services available.  No reservations – first-come, first-served site selection.
    • Larry Creek Group Camp - Available for reservation through the National Recreation Reservation System - www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.
  • Blodgett Campground – Open with 5 campsites and accessible toilet.  There is no drinking water available.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  Camp host on site.  No reservations – first come, first-served site selection. 
  • Gold Creek Campground – Open with 5 campsites and accessible toilet.  No water, ‘pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first come, first served site selection. 

West Fork Ranger District:  (406) 821-3269

  • Rombo Campground – Open with 14 campsites, *water, garbage, and accessible toilet.  Camp host on site.  One campsite is currently closed due to flooding.  To reserve campsites visit www.recreation.gov.  *Staff is in the process of getting potable water system opened up and tested.  Please contact WF District for updates on when water will be available.     
  • Alta Campground – Open with 14 campsites, *water, garbage, and accessible toilet.  To reserve campsites visit www.recreation.gov*Staff is in the process of getting potable water system opened up and tested.  Please contact WF District for updates on when water will be available.     
  • Sam Billings Campground – Open with 12 campsites and accessible toilet.  No water.  Camp host on site.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage. No reservations – first-come, first-served.    
  • Slate Creek Campground – Front loop is currently open, back loop is closed due to flooding.  Check with Ranger District for latest conditions.  No water.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations – first-come, first-served.
  • Fales Flat Campground – Open with 3 campsites and accessible toilet.  No water.  ‘Pack it in, pack it out’ garbage.  No reservations in the campground - first-come, first-served.  To reserve the group site visit www.recreation.gov
  • Nez Perce Pass to Paradise Campground.  Contact the West Fork District for road updates for Nez Perce Pass and the Magruder Corridor.    

There is a 16-day stay limit for the Bitterroot National Forest - except for the portion of the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho.  

A Food Storage Order is also in place for the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, located on the Bitterroot and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests.  The purpose of the food storage order is to minimize adverse interactions between bears and humans. 

The Bitterroot National Forest offers visitors a unique recreational experience at one of our rental cabins and lookouts.  There are three rental lookouts that provide stunning views of the Sapphire, Bitterroot, and Anaconda Pintler mountain ranges.  Four rustic cabins offer a serene and relaxing getaway.  Reservations can be made 6 months in advance at www.recreation.gov.  

For more information about rentals and for current trail conditions visit us at www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot and click on ‘Recreation’.

Stay in touch with us through www.facebook.com/DiscoverBitterrootNF and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF.

 

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