Flathead National Forest prepares for fall and winter camping season
Kalispell, MT September 16, 2020 – Flathead National Forest staff and concessionaires are preparing campgrounds and other recreation sites to close or move to primitive status for the winter season. Crews need to winterize campground water systems, assess hazard trees, and complete any maintenance before temperatures dip significantly below freezing.
Many campgrounds are available for primitive camping in the off-season, meaning that campsites are not regularly maintained, toilets may be closed, and potable water systems are shut off. Dispersed camping in non-developed campground areas is also available in the off-season. People should rely on Motor Vehicle Use Maps to identify appropriate dispersed camping areas. For both primitive and dispersed camping, campers should have a plan to “pack it in, pack it out,” expect to manage human waste appropriately, bring water, and haul out garbage. The Forest also has 11 rental cabins available for winter use, reservable at www.recreation.gov.
The public should keep in mind the following campground and recreation area summer service cut off dates when planning autumn trips to Flathead National Forest public lands. Most other campgrounds not mentioned remain ungated, though without services.
Hungry Horse/Glacier View Ranger District:
Sept. 16 - Devil Creek Campground (gate closed)
Sept. 17 – Doris Point Boat Launch (boat launch gate open, no services)
Sept. 18 – Murray Bay Campground and Riverside Campground (Riverside boat launch gate open, Murray Bay gate closed)
Sept. 22 – Doris Creek (open for primitive camping), Lost Johnny (open for primitive camping), Lost Johnny Point (gate closed), Lid Creek Campground (open for primitive camping)
Sept. 24 – Big Creek Campground (boat launch/group site gate open for primitive camping)
Sept. 27 – Emery Bay Campground (gate closed)
Spotted Bear Ranger District:
Weather dependent – Spotted Bear Campground (open for primitive camping)
Swan Lake Ranger District:
Sept. 29 – Swan Lake Campground (open for primitive camping)
Sept. 30 – Holland Lake Campground (not accessible for primitive camping; trailhead and boat launch open; Owl Packer open for primitive camping)
Tally Lake Ranger District:
Sept. 28 – Tally Lake Campground (open for primitive camping)
Weather dependent – Ashley Lake North and South (open for primitive camping when road is passable)
The public can also call the relevant ranger district for site specific information and conditions.
- By Lauren Alley
Public Affairs Officer, Flathead National Forest