Established in September of 1906, Lolo National Forest covers 2 million acres of land and contains four wilderness areas. Lolo National Forest offers visitors camping, fishing, boating, biking, and over 700 hiking trails. Prefer cold weather? No problem, the park is open year-round and offers plenty of winter activities as well. Bundle up for some skiing, ice fishing, or snowmobiling. Whatever you love to do outdoors, you’ll find it at Lolo National Forest.
This point-to-point trail showcases stunning wildflowers. This trail is a footpath forged by generations of Native Americans who used the pathway as they traveled to their traditional hunting, gathering, and trading locations. The Historic Lolo trail was also used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as they explored the western portion of the United States. Today, visitors will travel a path that looks much as it did over 200 years ago.
Length: 14.2 miles
This trail leads visitors on a challenging hike to Carlton Ridge and then down again to Carlton Lake. At the lake, adventurous hikers may choose to continue and climb to the top of Lolo Peak, which sits at an elevation of 9,906 feet. Those who reach the summit of Lolo Peak experience breathtaking views of the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys.
Length: 11.1 miles
Take a leisurely hike along the Bitterroot River, enjoying the sounds of birdsongs over the gently flowing water. The river bottom is full of pines and cottonwoods that provide a home to hundreds of species of birds, making it the perfect stroll for bird-watching. The trail itself is wide, level, and dotted with benches for those who want to sit and soak up the day beside the river.
Length: 1.7 miles
Burned in the Chippy Creek Wildfire of 2007, the Bear Creek Trail offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness the gradual rebuilding of natural forest habitats. The narrow and rocky trail features abundant opportunities for viewing wildlife along Bear Creek.
Length: 8.5 miles
This trail was used as a wagon road to transport silver ore from the Iron Mountain Mine to the river. In 1891 the mining companies abandoned the wagon road when a local railroad line began operating. It was more efficient and cost-effective to move the ore via train than the wagon road. Today, the trail offers a challenging hike for visitors and stunning views of the Clark River Valley below.
Length: 7 miles one-way
Visitors to the Babcock Mountain Trail #10 will take a wandering hike through classic prairie grasses before passing alongside towering ponderosa pines. In spring, riotous colors of blooming wildflowers dot the forest floor, and scenic overlooks offer stunning views of the Rock Creek Valley below.
Length: 2.5 miles (one way)
Intensity: Moderate to Difficult
With several lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, Lolo National Forest is the perfect place to drop a line in the water and wait for a nibble. Whether you prefer to fish from a boat on a lake or set up beside a bubbling creek, you’re sure to find a comfortable spot to reel in your dinner. For those who prefer to fish in the colder months, Lolo National Forest also offers ice fishing.
Geocaching is available in Lolo National Forest, but caches aren't allowed within the boundaries of designated wilderness areas. Geocaches must be non-commercial and cannot disturb any natural landscape. Look for caches under or behind naturally existing features like trees and rocks.
The Lolo Creek Campground and Picnic Area is a perfect place to spot migratory songbirds. Stop by for a picnic and keep your binoculars handy to spot new and colorful feathered friends flying through the surrounding trees. White-tailed deer and migratory birds are common around the rivers and lakes within the forest, and bighorn sheep graze along the Babcock Mountain Trail.
Lolo National Forest is open to visitors 24 hours a day, so you are free to lean back and watch the stars move across the dark Montana sky. Removed from big-city light pollution, find yourself mesmerized by the beauty of the vast night sky. If the conditions are just right, you might even be lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights or see the Milky Way spread out before you.
Address: Lolo National Forest Supervisor's Office, Fort Missoula Building 24, Missoula, MT 59804
Fee: Entry fee $0
With 2 million acres of scenery, wildlife, and nature to explore, an RV is the perfect way to travel and experience everything Lolo National Forest has to offer. From hiking and biking to fishing and historical demonstrations, you’re sure to find something to spark your wandering spirit at Lolo National Forest.