Lolo Pass Visitor Center


Area Status: Open
The Lolo Pass Visitor center covered in snow

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center, constructed in 2003, echoes the log-built architecture of historic Forest Service ranger stations of the past. The visitor center serves as one of the many historical landmarks along Highway 12, the Lewis & Clark highway. It offers displays and information on the Lewis and Clark journey across the Bitterroot Mountains and the 1877 flight of the Nez Perce Indians, and provides historical, natural, and general information about the area.  Not only is it a recreational destination for winter sports enthusiasts, but also doubles as a rest area at the Montana/Idaho border along Highway 12. The facility includes an interpretive center, small book store & gift shop, 24-hour restrooms, a covered picnic area, picnic tables and short interpretive trails with benches. Stop by for a complimentary cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee and experience the Lolo Pass Visitor Center!

Click here to see the Montana Department of Transportation’s 24-hour web camera view of road conditions for Highway 12 at the Montana/Idaho state line (there’s a snow depth gauge in the image to the far right/center).

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Lolo Pass Visitor Center is open seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (PDT). Restrooms are available 24/7 for those traveling the U.S. Highway 12 corridor.
Operational Hours: Lolo Pass Visitor Center is open seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (PDT).
Fees: Winter Recreation Passes
  • $5 for a day pass
  • $20 for a bundle of 5 day passes
  • $35 for a season pass
Restrictions:
  • In the non-grooming seasons, dogs are allowed on the Lolo Pass trails, but must be leashed and pet waste must be bagged and removed.
  • No overnight camping is offered at the Visitor Center.
Closest Towns: Lolo, MT

*NOTE: There is no cell phone service between Lolo, MT and Kooskia, ID. Emergency phones are located at milepost 120, 139 and 169 on the Idaho side of Hwy 12.
Water: Drinking water from fountains outside except during winter months (shut off due to freezing temps)
Restroom: Yes, flush toilets at Visitor Center. Available 24/7.
Passes: Spring/Summer:  Outside of the winter grooming season, you do not need a Winter Recreation Pass, and there is no charge to visit the Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

Fall/Winter:  Winter Recreation Passes are required for all vehicles parked at the Lolo Pass Visitor center during the winter season, typically December through March. Signs will be posted when passes are required. Day and Season passes will be available during regular hours of operation at the visitor center. Have your license plate number available when purchasing the Season Pass. After-hours, only day passes will be available for purchase at the front door of the visitor center. Winter Recreation Passes will also be available at The Trail Head, The Outdoor Supply and Rental, and Lolo National Forest – Missoula Ranger District in Missoula and the Lolo Hot Springs on US Hwy 12.
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Every day the Lolo Pass Visitor Center is open we post the weather, snow depth, road and trail conditions, forest closures and upcoming events, (ski conditions and grooming reports during winter) on our Facebook page: go to Lolo Pass Visitor Center - Discover Your Northwest to get the latest and greatest!
  • 208-942-3113
Visit our Upcoming Events Page for information on fun activities and events at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

General Information

General Notes:

Helpful Links


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Scenery

Visitor Centers

Picnicking

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

The warming hut at the Lolo Pass Vistor Center covered in snow is warm and inviting during winter. The trailhead for skiers at Lolo Pass can be seen through many feet of snow.


The Lolo Pass area serves as a major trailhead for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The cross country ski trails are groomed twice a week (generally December to March) by the Missoula Snowgoers Snowmobile Association and the Missoula Nordic Ski Club.h. The Visitor Center also features a marked snowshoe trail that is a 1.8 mile loop, and has snowshoes that can be checked out for a small donation.

Maps of the Lolo Pass area and surrounding snowmobile routes are available at the Visitor Center. The Powell Ranger District phone number is 208-942-3113.

A Beacon Basin training facility is installed at Lolo Pass for the winter season. The Beacon Basin is provided through cooperative efforts of the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, private donations, and the U.S. Forest Service. The training opportunity is available to visitors even if the Visitor Center is closed. Snowmobilers will have to walk from the parking lot to use the site. You must have a transceiver to use the site.

Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails:

  • Glade Creek Loop Ski Trail: 2.1 miles, groomed on weekends
  • Packer Meadows Loop Ski Trail: 6 miles, groomed on weekends 
  • Moose Ridge Loop Ski and Snowmobile Trail: 14 miles, most difficult, groomed for snowmobiles
  • Snowshoe Trail: The snowshoe trail is a marked loop trail about 1.8 miles long. It takes visitors up on top of the ridge just west of the Visitor Center and offers spectacular views on a clear day. The trail is marked with 10 ft bamboo poles that have yellow diamonds on them. The trail starts just outside the front door of the Visitor Center.
     

Snowmobiling

A happy snowmobilier poses in the sun and snow on the trail at Lolo Pass Visitor Center
Additional groomed snowmobile routes:

  • Pack Creek to Beaver Ridge to Lochsa Lodge
  • Granite Pass to Fox Creek
  • Upper Shotgun to Parachute back to Lochsa Lodge.

Portions of these routes adjoin the Lolo National Forest snowmobile trail and run parallel to the Great Burn roadless area. Please review your map to make sure you travel only in the designated areas. Forest maps can be purchased at the Visitor Center. Other useful maps are available online, as well as at the Visitor Center:

Visit our Faceboook page or contact the Missoula Ranger District (406-329-3814) or the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406-542-5500) to check for snowmobile area and trail closures.

The Lochsa area snowmobile trail system is groomed and maintained by the Missoula Snowgoers, who typically begin grooming snowmobile trail system on December 1st. Please remember there is a posted speed limit of 25mph from the Lolo Pass parking area to the end of the cross-country ski area. There are two marked junctions where the cross-country ski trail does cross the snowmobile trail on the FS rd #373, near the Visitor Center.
Snowmobiles are NOT allowed on the cross-country ski trails, so please take the time to print a map or pick one up at the Visitor Center.

General Info:

General Notes

Helpful Links


Permit: If you are a Montana resident, you do not need an Idaho snowmobile registration tag to ride in Idaho, if you stay on the designated snowmobile routes which are groomed by the Missoula Snowgoers snowmobile club. If riders leave the designated groomed trails they will be required to have an Idaho Snowmobiling Registration Tag. This exception does not apply to commercial snowmobiles. All commercial snowmobiles need an Idaho registration tag when being operated in Idaho. If you are an Idaho resident, you DO need a Montana Non-Resident Tag to ride in Montana.
Usage: Check for any logging activity before entering Plum Creek Timber Co. land by calling the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406-542-5500).
 

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
46.634067

  Longitude : 
-114.579344