Big Therriault Campground

Fortine, Montana

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Of all the campgrounds we’ve selected, this one wins the prize for “most off the beaten path.” On the drive in you may feel you are on a dull, desolate road leading nowhere. But hang in there—you will be rewarded. As the road climbs, a few more trees appear, and then suddenly you’ll arrive in a thick pine and spruce forest on the clearest, most pristine mountain lake you’ve ever seen without a backpack. You’ll be only a few miles from Canada and will have more bears for neighbors than people. The campground itself is small, only five acres, and the ten sites are set on a hillside around a single loop with plenty of understory for privacy. Most sites are suited for tents, although the two pull-through spots are better left for RVs. None of the sites sit directly on the lake, and there aren’t any with clear views due to the thick forest, but most are adjacent to the 1-mile trail around the lake. This trail provides a short course in glacial geology; you will see grooves carved by the glaciers and moraines formed by the debris left behind. Highlights of the trail include wildflower-strewn meadows and a variety of wildlife—deer, elk, osprey, eagles, the occasional mountain lion, and, if you’re extremely lucky, a wolverine. Centered within the loop is a 55-acre lake with its multihued rock bottom and wealth of cutthroat trout.
Best Tent Camping: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Tent Camping: Montana

by Jan and Christina Nesset (Menasha Ridge Press)

Of all the campgrounds we’ve selected, this one wins the prize for “most off the beaten path.” On the drive in you may feel you are on a dull, desolate road leading nowhere. But hang in there—you will be rewarded. As the road climbs, a few more trees appear, and then suddenly you’ll arrive in a thick pine and spruce forest on the clearest, most pristine mountain lake you’ve ever seen without a backpack. You’ll be only a few miles from Canada and will have more bears for neighbors than people. The campground itself is small, only five acres, and the ten sites are set on a hillside around a single loop with plenty of understory for privacy.

Most sites are suited for tents, although the two pull-through spots are better left for RVs. None of the sites sit directly on the lake, and there aren’t any with clear views due to the thick forest, but most are adjacent to the 1-mile trail around the lake. This trail provides a short course in glacial geology; you will see grooves carved by the glaciers and moraines formed by the debris left behind. Highlights of the trail include wildflower-strewn meadows and a variety of wildlife—deer, elk, osprey, eagles, the occasional mountain lion, and, if you’re extremely lucky, a wolverine. Centered within the loop is a 55-acre lake with its multihued rock bottom and wealth of cutthroat trout.

© 2017 Jan and Christina Nesset/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Campgrounds
Nearby City: Fortine
Campsites: 9 Sites
Season: July-Labor Day (maybe earlier depending on the weather)
Additional Use: Boat Launch, Swimming, Boating, Camping
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Kootenai National Forest. 406-296-2536; www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai
Fees per Night: $5
Facilities: Hand-pump well, vault toilets, carry-in boat launch.
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Therriault Campground

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Apr 2018