Guide To Visiting The Flathead National Forest

In the Flathead Nationwide Forest, options abound for all to bask in the miracles of Mom Nature 365 days a calendar year. Positioned in Northwest Montana in the vicinity of the Canadian border, this achingly attractive nationwide forest is property to a vast natural wonderland that encompasses untouched wilderness places, spectacular mountain ranges, glittering lakes, and wild rivers.

Tried out-and-correct actions well known among site visitors of the Flathead Nationwide Forest contain climbing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, and scenic driving. The forest is also inhabited by close to 250 species of animals, like the bald eagle, wolverine, elk, porcupine, and white-tailed deer, making it a prime location for wildlife viewing.

Revered for its organic splendor, the Flathead Nationwide Forest is the go-to desired destination for trailblazers searching for to flee the crowds and frolic in huge-open eco-friendly expanses. If this seems like the best environment for your upcoming experience, you have occur to the right area. We have produced a complete guidebook masking all the facts you require to know ahead of checking out this alluring nationwide forest. Read through on to explore when to take a look at it, how to achieve the put, and the leading activities to check out there.

In which is it Found

A sunrise across Belton Bridge over Middle Fork Flathead River near West Glacier in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

The Flathead Countrywide Forest is situated in the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana. It is bordered by the Canadian border, the Glacier National Park to the north, the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Glacier to the east, the Lolo Countrywide Forest to the south, and the Kootenai Countrywide Forest to the west.

The forest addresses 2,404,935 acres of which about 1 million acres are specified wilderness. It is named right after the Flathead Indigenous People in america who are living in the region.

The Finest Time To Stop by The Flathead Nationwide Forest

Small island in the Hungry Horse Reservoir in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA

The Flathead Nationwide Forest is a calendar year-spherical destination, with each season presenting its individual established of recreation opportunities. While winter is a wonderful time to strike the slopes and delight in a assortment of snow sporting activities like snowboarding and snowboarding, drop, spring and summer months are excellent for indulging in out of doors pursuits such as hiking, swimming, and boating.

Why Pay a visit to It

Flathead River in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

Experience lies all-around just about every corner in the Flathead Nationwide Forest. Recognised for its amazing attractiveness, the forest features site visitors the possibility to take pleasure in mother nature in a special and interesting way. There, 3 rugged wilderness locations (Bob Marshall Wilderness Space, Terrific Bear Wilderness Location, and Mission Mountains Wilderness Spot), a number of trails, mountains lakes, and free of charge-flowing rivers design and style the most beautiful scenery for taking pleasure in a assortment of activities.

The attract of this sprawling national forest can be explored via 2,000 miles of mountaineering trails, and 1,700 miles of roads, which reward adventurers with the most amazing views of the Flathead’s bountiful wilderness.

Apart from climbing and driving, readers can also take pleasure in an array of pulse-pounding actions that will undoubtedly get their hearts racing. The forest is house to numerous designated ski places, exactly where it is probable to indulge in enjoyable-filled winter season sporting activities, as properly as a range of lakes, rivers, and streams that are simply fantastic for boating and whitewater rafting.

And there are gentler choices, far too! Wildlife viewing is a person of the best functions in the forest, which is property to a dazzling array of animal species this sort of as wolverine, beaver, elk, porcupine, cougar, moose, bobcat, white-tailed deer, coyote, spotted bear, and more.

Prime Issues To Do In The Flathead Nationwide Forest


Hiking in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

Residence to 2,160 miles of trails, the Flathead Forest is the best location for climbing. Really do not skip the prospect to check out the Jewel Basin Hiking Space, a 15,000-acre wilderness area reserved exclusively for vacation by foot and tenting. One particular of the most well known hikes in Jewel Basin is the  .8 miles extended Birch Lake Trail, which offers hikers the probability to see wildflower meadows, Alpine lakes, and even mountain goats. 

Jewel Basin also boasts around 20 lakes that supply fishing chances.

One more bucket list hike in the Flathead Forest is Alpine Big Hawk Path. This 1.6-mile-extensive out-and-back again trail is reasonable to tough and can take adventures by a lake situated in the vicinity of Hungry Horse, Montana.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness, which is the third largest wilderness advanced in the decreased 48 states, is one more key area for hiking in The Flathead National Forest. One particular of the most common mountaineering trails listed here contains the Continental Divide Trail, which leads its way to the Chinese Wall, a significant escarpment stone slice touching skies.

Water Actions

Rafting in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

Program on viewing the forest throughout the summertime? Then great off the heat by exploring the nearby lakes and rivers. The Flathead National Forest encompasses the 3 Forks of the Flathead River, which consist of the North Fork, Center Fork, and South Fork. These waterways are fantastic for floating excursions, as effectively as whitewater rafting, canoeing, floating, and fishing. 

The Flathead National Forest has a amount of lakes, this sort of as Swan Lake, that are excellent for canoeing. A lot of lakes have boat launches, docks, and camping nearby.

Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir is a further ought to-learn aspect of Flathead Countrywide Forest. This large water physique is fed by the South Fork of the Flathead River and is recognized for its enchanting landscapes. The reservoir is also popular for drinking water actions like fishing and boating.  Open up everyday Might – September, the Hungry Horse Dam Visitor Middle delivers totally free guided excursions of the dam.

Nature Viewing

A deer spotted in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

Inhabited by an abundance of animals and plant species, the epic wilderness spots of the Flathead National Forest are best for mother nature viewing. Huge-recreation species identified in the spot include bear, elk, moose, large horn sheep, mule and whitetail deer, and Rocky Mountain goat. Along the trails, it is also feasible to spot a assortment of songbirds, hawks, eagles, and owls. Of program, website visitors are inspired to manage a good length amongst them selves and the wild creatures that inhabit the forest.

Winter Things to do

Skiing in Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

Wintertime sports activities are a single of the chosen functions for adventurers visiting the Flathead Nationwide Forest. The site is home to planet-course ski areas these as the Blacktail Mountain Ski Space, which is found earlier mentioned the neighborhood of Lakeside and offers 1000 skiable acres. There is also the Whitefish Mountain Resort, on Large Mountain, providing 3000 skiable acres.

The forest also offers 157 miles of selected snowmobile trails, thousands of acres of open engage in locations, groomed cross-region ski trails, as properly as frozen lakes, and snow-protected trails that are great for snowshoeing.


Camping in the Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.

People who are seeking an immersive nature experience can take the possibility to camp in the forest. The Flathead Nationwide Forest also has 31 campgrounds with amenities such as fireplace rings, picnic tables, and vault bathrooms. Camping during the Forest is allowed and can give a just one-of-variety tenting knowledge.

Positioned shores of an Alpine lake, near the village of Swan Lake, and at the north conclude of the scenic Swan Valley, the Swan Lake Campground is one particular of the forest’s best areas for tenting, as it is wonderfully surrounded by dense conifer forest and the craggy, snow-protected peaks of the Swan Mountain Array.

Scenic Driving

Road and Tunnel with Valley View, Glacier National Park

Going for a scenic push is an unparalleled way of using in the forest’s attractiveness. There are thousands of miles of roadways (paved or gravel), which will direct you to uncover dreamy forests, freshwater lakes, and rugged mountain scenery.

Some bucket-list scenic drives involve the east and west side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir, Logan Creek, Very good Creek, Massive Mountain Highway, and the North Fork Street. Just one of the most amazing, nevertheless, is the Seeley-Swan scenic drive, a 90-mile-very long corridor along Highway 83 stretching through the Swan Valley from Seeley Lake to Swan Lake. The ride spoils travelers with sights of all-natural lakes, closely forest valleys, as properly as considerable chances for outside recreation — from boating to fishing.

Staying Overnight in the Forest Assistance Cabins

Forest cabin in the woods.

If you want to stay overnight in the forest, but are not a fan of tenting, e-book a single of the cabins that are available for right away stays. The Flathead National Forest has 14 cabins ranging in dimensions and lodging, all which include electric powered or wooden stoves for cooking and heating.

Cabins present a cozy house for those searching for to pamper and unwind soon after a very long working day adventuring into the forest.

Strategies For Traveling to The Flathead Nationwide Forest

Flathead National Forest, Montana, USA.
  • The Flathead Countrywide Forest is property to both grizzly and black bears. Considering the fact that this is a bear region, bear spray is often a superior concept to get alongside the hikes
  • Be sure you check out with the Forest Service to ascertain whether you have all the necessary permits and passes
  •  If you plan on tenting absent from a specified campsite, you should analysis that location beforehand and follow all posted guidelines and laws all through your remain
  • Steer clear of heading out alone into the wild
  • Retailer your food in a bear-safe and sound container
  • Be sure to reserve your cabins in advance on the web site. 


Can you drive via Flathead National Forest?

Certainly. The forest has 1,700 miles of roadways that can be pushed by way of.

Do I want a pass for Flathead Countrywide Forest?

Passes are important for most of their recreation web sites.

What animals are in Flathead Countrywide Forest?

The forest is home to somewhere around 250 species of wildlife, together with the bald eagle, wolverine, beaver, elk, porcupine, cougar, moose, bobcat, white-tailed deer, coyote, grizzly bear, timber wolf, two species of fox, and mountain goat.

Can you camp any where in Flathead Nationwide Forest?

Dispersed camping is free of charge, and permitted nearly in all places in the Flathead Nationwide Forest.

Are canine authorized in Flathead Countrywide Forest?

Sure. Canine are welcome in the Flathead Nationwide Forest.

Browse. E-book. Continue to be.  

CuddlyNest provides all lodging to all vacationers at the greatest cost. Locate unrestricted journey inspiration on our blog and social media channels.

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