The Kootenai National Forest encompasses over 2.2 million acres of land across northwest Montana and northeast Idaho. With rugged mountain vistas and expansive lakes, the forest is a sporting paradise. Activities include camping, fishing, boating, biking, and hiking trails. With all that's available, you’re sure to find an activity that nurtures your wandering soul. If you prefer to undertake your outdoor adventures during the colder months, the forest is open all year and offers winter activities like cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Whatever outdoor activity you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it at the Kootenai National Forest.
The Callahan Historic Trail follows the path of an old railroad line used during the early 1900s for mining and logging operations. The trail features trailside benches and stunning views of Callahan Creek and the King and Pulpit Mountains.
Length: 2 miles
This trail intersects with the Berray Mountain Trail #967 and offers hikers a shorter route to reach the summit of Berray Mountain. Hikers along this path find breathtaking vistas of the Cabinet Mountains and Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Areas. Also, a historic lookout tower built in 1965 still stands near the top of the mountain.
Length: 1.7 miles
Follow this gentle trail through meadows bursting with wildflowers and up a slight ridge to the summit of Flagstaff Mountain. Stand at the summit and enjoy views of the Kootenai Valley, the Selkirk Mountains in Idaho, and the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains in Montana.
Length: 5.5 miles
Visitors follow this steep wooded trail to the summit of Star Peak. Along the way, enjoy breathtaking views of the Clark Fork River Valley before arriving at Star Point Lookout. This was the first recorded lookout in Montana, and today, the original stone house still stands, keeping silent watch.
Length: 8.9 miles
Part of the old highway between the towns of Libby and Troy, the #2 Old Highway 2 Interpretive Trail leads visitors on a hike beside moss-covered trees and through open fields dotted with wildflowers. The trail also offers scenic views of the Kootenai River.
Length: 2.3 miles
Starting at Big Beaver Creek, this trail takes hikers to Dixie Summit before running along a ridgeline along the border between Montana and Idaho. Hikers on this trail will cross Big Beaver Creek. While this is usually an easy crossing, during peak run-off, it can be challenging.
Length: 3.1 miles
Kootenai National Forest features some of the best fishing opportunities in Montana. Fish Lake Koocanusa to catch some kokanee salmon or catch some award-winning bass at the Noxon Rapids Reservoir. Drop your line into one of the many rivers or streams, and reel in one of several varieties of trout or catfish for dinner. If cold weather fishing is on the agenda, Kootenai National Forest offers several venues for ice fishing.
Geocaching is allowed at Kootenai National Forest but must be done outside the boundaries of designated wilderness areas. A geocache must not be commercial and must not disturb the natural landscape. Instead of digging a hole, leave and look for caches hidden behind trees or rocks.
The Kootenai National Forest offers ample opportunities to experience the natural wonders of the area. Visit one of the many waterways for a morning of birdwatching. Keen-eyed observers might spy eagles, great blue herons, or osprey. Moose, deer, and caribou are often seen from trails in the backcountry, and peaks and ridgelines offer stunning vistas of the surrounding valleys and forests.
The Kootenai National Forest is open 24-hours per day and offers ample options for stargazing. The Kootenai Trail is one of the best places in the forest to watch the stars moving across the darkened Montana skies. With minimal light pollution from nearby small towns, the galaxy unfolds in sparkling splendor above. Stop at Lake Koocanusa for the best views of crystal clear stars.
Address: 31374 US-2, Libby, MT 59923
Fee: Entry fee $0
With over 2 million acres of nature to experience and explore, an RV trip is the perfect way to explore everything the Kootenai National Forest has to offer. Whether you crave the adventure of making your way up a rock face, need some quiet time by a lake, or are recharged by a hike through a field bursting with wildflowers, Kootenai National Forest is sure to spark your wandering spirit.