Community Information

Visiting our Area

Our local towns have so much to offer to our forest visitors! Here are just a few of the larger towns and areas that are valued neighbors of the Lolo National Forest, as well as our own homes and communities.

Photo: A Shay-type train engine at the Forestry Interpretive Area at Fort Missoula.

Missoula Area

Missoula has a population of over 80,000 and is home to the University of Montana, College of Technology, and many elementary, middle, and high schools. There is a great diversity of neighborhoods and residential settings within the community and surrounding area ranging from urban to very rural.

Recreation facilities and opportunities in the Missoula area include public golf courses, parks, tennis courts, swimming pools, health clubs, softball diamonds, and hiking trails. There are many rivers in the area for rafting, fishing, and swimming. There is one downhill ski area less than an hour's drive from town and cross-country ski trails and snowmobile trails in the area.

The elevation of Missoula is 3,205 feet, with an average annual temperature of 44.6°F, with a January daily minimum of 15.4°F and July daily maximum of 83.4°F. Missoula has an average mean rainfall of 13.5 inches, and an average mean snowfall of 42.5 inches.

Ninemile Area

The Ninemile Ranger District is located approximately 25 miles west of Missoula in the beautiful Ninemile Valley. Because of its proximity to Missoula, the district offers the unique opportunities to residents and visitors in the Missoula area.

Plains/Thompson Falls Area

Plains is a small but diverse community of approximately 1,000 persons within the city limits and 2500 in the greater Plains valley. The town is situated at an elevation of 2470 feet, along the banks of the Clark Fork River. It has one of the mildest climates in Montana. Plains is within an easy day's drive of Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the National Bison Range, and several major ski areas. Thompson Falls is 24 miles to the west. Missoula is 80 miles to the southeast.

Seeley Lake Area

Seeley Lake is located approximately 60 miles northeast of Missoula and its population is approximately 2500. Seeley Lake lies in a heavily forested valley 4000 feet in elevation, bordered by the Swan Mountain range to the east and the Mission Mountains range to the west.

The area provides ample opportunity for diverse 4-season recreation such as hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Because of its unique setting and remarkable features, the district attracts people throughout Montana, nearby states, and Canadian provinces. Consequently, the District manages a large recreation program. Numerous recreation residences and resorts under permit are located on National Forest Lands surrounding Seeley Lake.

Superior Area

The population of Superior is around 1800 and the city is approximately 1 hour east of the Lookout Pass, Idaho/Montana border and 1 hour west of the city of Missoula, along Interstate 90. The elevation of Superior is 2710 feet, the precipitation averages 17.5 inches/year, the summertime high average is 85 degrees and the wintertime low averages 20 degrees.

Recreational opportunities abound in Mineral County. There are 5 developed campgrounds, over 700 dispersed recreation sites, 5 drive-to upper elevation lakes, 40 fishable lakes in addition to miles of streams and rivers, over 400 miles of trails, Lookout Pass ski area, the Route-of-the Hiawatha mountain bike trail, rafting and floating including the Alberton Gorge, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, all sorts of hunting, and wildlife viewing.