Recreation


Photo of a scenic vista of rocky peaks with scattered snow across a valley

Discover an Area by Activity

Select an activity to find an area to visit.

Vast by Nature, Uncrowded by Design

Bordering Canada and nestled in the mountainous terrain of Northwest Montana the Kootenai National Forest hold impressive forests, wildlife and landscapes, including striking cliffs, spires, river canyons and the magnificent peaks of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and Whitefish Range. Whether your interest is recreation or local history, the KNF has something for just about everyone. Water, in all forms has played a significant role in shaping recreation with reservoirs, rivers, waterfalls, glacial lakes, and snow providing a variety of year rounds day-use activities. This vast uncrowded landscape has been the lifeblood for many peoples for thousands of years and continues to foster a pioneer spirit passed down through the generations. These ties to the land and history are the foundation for interpretation and education for new and traditional visitors. Whatever the season, the Kootenai National Forest contains 2.2 million acres in which to explore!

Geographic Areas

Recreation opportunities on the KNF can be viewed as occurring in 7 fairly broad geographic areas, each centered around one or more distinctive features. These areas are the:  

  • Yaak River Area (Three Rivers Ranger District - the most northwesterly point in Montana)
  • Bull Lake Area (Three Rivers Ranger District - western access to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness)
  • Clark Fork River Area (Cabinet Ranger District - situated along the Clark Fork River and the southern end of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness)
  • Libby Area (Libby Ranger District - centered around the Kootenai River)
  • Fisher River Area (Libby Ranger District - comprised of the Fisher River drainage and the chain of lakes area)
  • Koocanusa Reservoir (Libby & Eureka Ranger District -centered around the reservoir and its major tributaries)
  • Tobacco Plains Area (Eureka & Fortine Ranger District - open plains surrounded by rugged mountains)

On our web site you'll find our recreation sites organized by these areas. So, note the area on our forest you'd like to stay or explore and then discover our recreation opportunities. Or, choose an activity and see where on the forest it is offered. Either way, we're sure you'll find exceptional recreation opportunities on the Kootenai National Forest.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Areas

Highlights

  • Be Bear Aware!
    Montana is bear country! Learn about bears and safe practices while visiting the Kootenai
  • Food Storage Order
    A food storage order signed in 2022 requires food storage practice across the Forest to reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters
  • Know Before You Go OffSite Link

    Regardless of the activity, always be prepared! Stay informed of current conditions and follow safe practices when enjoying your National Forests

  • Leave No Trace OffSite Link

    Visitors are asked to practice Leave No Trace principles while on the Kootenai National Forests to help maintain this abundant ecosystem and sustainable recreation.

  • Weed Free Forage
    It is a violation of rule (FS) and law (State of Montana) to utilize forage or mulch materials that contain the seeds of noxious weeds