Welcome to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest!

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Projects Forest Plan Revision Rent a cabin EKIP Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Recreation Giving YOUth a Voice

It's All Yours. Go. Play.

As you get out to enjoy your Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, we want your experience to be memorable, fun and safe! Weather conditions can change quickly in Montana, so always plan for the worst conditions. Below are some friendly reminders to consider when planning your next adventure. 

  • Always take extra gear, clothes, food, and water! Especially in cold and snowy weather, be sure to layer up to stay warm!
  • Know the road and trail conditions before you head for the hills! Call your local Forest Service office to get the latest updates. Due to some active projects or snow conditions, different roads/trails may be temporarily closed. Give us a call.
  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Help keep the Forest a clean and fun place for everyone to enjoy by packing out your garbage!
  • Be Bear Aware. Although bears are hibernating in winter, we share our national forest with a variety of wildlife and sometimes they get curious about certain food-related smells they smell! The entire Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is covered by some type of a “Food Storage Order” and follow those rules for those areas!
  • You’re welcome to stay…for 16 days at a time. To help ensure everyone can experience a special spot, please follow the “stay limitations” on the forest. Visitors can stay in one location for up to 16 consecutive days, at which point they need to find a new place at least five miles away. Visitors should not return to their original spot within a 30-day timeframe, to allow other forest users an opportunity to enjoy the location too. If winter camping isn't your idea of fun, you should check out one of our rental cabins or lookouts! To reserve your spot, just go to www.recreation.gov.
  • You are here. We don’t have those types of maps out on the forest, so be sure to pick-up a map before you go.
  • Safey, first! We want you to enjoy your trip into the forest, and one of the best ways to do that is to be prepared! Be sure to tell someone where you plan to go, and when you plan to return!


Public Comments Sought on Holter Lake-Gates of the Mountains Comprehensive River Recreation Management Plan

The Forest, in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has completed a draft of the Comprehensive River Recreation Management Plan (CRRMP) for the Holter Lake-Gates of the Mountains Recreation Area on the Missouri River. The CRRMP covers an area proceeding north from Hauser Dam downstream through upper Holter Lake, continuing through the Gates of the Mountains Recreation Area to the downstream end of Holter Lake and ending at Holter Dam.

The CRRMP addresses the current status of these resources, outlines goals and desired conditions, describes the needs for change determination process, and proposes management direction to carry forward. We would like to hear from you, after you review the plan and supporting documents. Click on the links below to review the documents (all open as separate .pdf documents). 

There will be a public open house meeting on the CRRMP on Tuesday, July 30th from 6 to 8 pm at the Helena Supervisor’s Office, 2880 Skyway Drive in Helena. To be most helpful during this phase of the project, we request that you submit comments by Monday, August 12, 2019. Additional comments are welcome throughout the planning process. We anticipate that the CRRMP will be finalized by fall 2019. Comments can be submitted one of four ways:

  • Mail or Hand-Deliver*: Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, 2880 Skyway Drive, Helena, MT 59602  *Deliver during regular business hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; office is closed on Federal holidays and weekends
  • FAX: 406-449-5436
  • Emailroy.barkley@usda.gov; Subject line: “Holter Lake-Gates of the Mountains CRRMP”  Attachments need to be in one of these formats: .pdf, .doc, or .rtf

For more information, please call Helena District Recreation Specialist Roy Barkley at 406-495-3914.


Bob Marshall Wilderness Interactive Trail Conditions Map

Taking a trip to the backcountry and wondering what the trail conditions are right now? Well, wonder no longer! Thanks to the coordination by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, trail conditions reports and updates is just a click away! View the interactive map with real-time updates!


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Recent News


Final Decision for NCDE Grizzly Bear Plan Amendment

The signed Record of Decision for the Forest Plan Amendments to Incorporate Habitat Management Direction for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) Grizzly Bear Population, Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Kootenai National Forest, and Lolo National Forest (December 2018) is now available on the Flathead National Forest's website or on our "Planning" webpage.

2019 Wilderness Regulations & Tips

Planning a trip into the Wilderness: The Bob, Great Bear or Scapegoat?!  Before you head for the mountains, be sure to know important Wilderness and backcountry tips, rules, and regulations!! 

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Prescription Trails

Together, Bike Walk Montana and Recreational Trails Program, are working to make Montana healthier, one step at a time!

Plant Biodiversity Flickr Set

Picture of Wildflowers on the Helena National Forest: Arnica, Indian Paintbrush, and Bluebells

Visit our Flickr album featuring Helena National Forest Plant Biodiversity for beautiful photographs of wildflowers and plants across the Forest!


Have You Seen Me?

The Helena National Forest and Montana Discovery Foundation want to team up with YOU to help report sightings of some special wildlife and plant species while you're in the woods!