Home Camping Adventures Camping Adventures In Montana: Best Things To Do
Camping Adventures In Montana: Best Things To Do

5 min

September 8, 2023

  • Meta Description: Discover Montana’s best camping spots, from the serene shores of Flathead Lake to the breathtaking landscapes of Glacier National Park. Dive into our top picks and plan your next adventure!Montana, often dubbed “Big Sky Country”, is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts. Its vast landscapes are adorned with towering mountains, serene lakes, and expansive meadows that beckon adventurers from near and far. From the whispers of the wind through the pines to the mesmerising dance of the campfire, camping in Montana promises an unforgettable experience. 

    In this guide, we’ll uncover the best activities and destinations for a Montana camping adventure, ensuring you make the most of your journey under the vast Montana skies.

    Top Montana Campsites at a Glance 

    Campsites  Location 
    Holland Lake Campground Condon, Montana
    Many Glacier Campground  Continental Divide Trail, Browning, MT 59417, USA
    Spire Rock Campground Storm Castle Rd, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
    Flathead Lake State Park 28031 Big Arm State Park Road, Big Arm, Montana
    Lewis and Clark Caverns Campground 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, Montana
    Apgar Campground, Glacier National Park US Hwy 2, West Glacier, MT 59901, USA
    Crystal Lake Campground 21970 Crystal Lake Road, Moore, Montana
    Bannack State Park 4200 Bannack Road, Dillon, Montana
    Missouri Headwaters State Park 1585 Trident Road, Three Forks, Montana
    Bad Medicine Campground 2395 Bull Lake Road, Troy, Montana
    Makoshika State Park 1301 Snyder Street, Glendive, Montana

    Montana’s Top Camping Spots

    Discover the gems of Big Sky Country as we unveil Montana’s most sought-after camping destinations, where nature’s splendour meets unforgettable adventures.

    • Holland Lake Campground, Flathead National Forest

    Holland Lake Campground, located in the scenic Swan Valley, promises beautiful lakeside views and refreshing hiking opportunities. It has 40 campsites suitable for both tents and RVs. 

    The nearby Holland Falls National Recreation Trail is a popular choice for those looking to explore the surroundings.

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer months.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Boating, fishing in the lake, hiking the Holland Falls National Recreation Trail, and wildlife watching.
    • Things to Know: Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. There are no electrical or water hookups.
    • Many Glacier Campground, Glacier National Park

    Found on the east side of Glacier National Park, Many Glacier Campground offers over 100 sites, each boasting unparalleled natural beauty. 

    The nearby Swiftcurrent Lake provides numerous photographic opportunities, and the Grinnell Glacier Trail offers hikers a chance to view the Glacier up close. Reservations are highly recommended due to the campsite’s popularity.

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer season.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail, boating, and wildlife viewing.
    • Things to Know: All sites now require reservations, which open six months in advance and can sell out within hours.
    • Spire Rock Campground, Custer Gallatin National Forest

    Situated a short drive from Bozeman, Spire Rock Campground is a lush, forested retreat that beckons campers to experience Montana’s untouched beauty. 

    The 19 sites here are cosily nestled next to Storm Castle Creek, and the area boasts several hiking trails. Reservations are open during its operational months between mid-May and mid-September.

    • Best Time to Visit: Between mid-May and mid-September.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Hiking the Storm Castle Peak and exploring other trails along Highway 191.
    • Things to Know: Reservations are available, and larger RVs might find it challenging due to the dirt access road.
    • Big Arm/Flathead Lake State Park

    Encircling one of the country’s largest freshwater lakes, Flathead Lake State Park offers several camping options. The Big Arm unit, particularly, provides breathtaking views across the lake towards the Mission and Swan Mountains. 

    This location is also a starting point for those aiming to visit Wild Horse Island, which is home to wild horses and is accessible only by boat.

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer months, especially when cherries are in season.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Boating on Flathead Lake, visiting the Wild Horse Island, and indulging in seasonal cherry-picking.
    • Things to Know: Reservations are recommended, especially for the popular yurts.
    • Lewis and Clark Caverns Campground

    This location offers an interesting blend of camping and history. The caverns, a highlight of the park, showcase a stunning display of stalactites. 

    Beyond exploring the underground wonders, campers can choose from over 40 sites. With amenities like flushing toilets and hot showers, camping here is comfortable even for the most urban of travellers.

    • Best Time to Visit: Between May and September when guided cavern tours are available.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Exploring the caverns, stargazing in the clear Montana sky, and nature hikes.
    • Things to Know: Reservations are recommended during peak season. Drinking water and other facilities are seasonal.
    • Apgar Campground, Glacier National Park

    Nestled in Glacier National Park, the Apgar Campground is a popular choice amongst avid campers. With 194 sites available, it offers an excellent view of the Glacier’s vast landscapes. 

    Situated near Lake McDonald, Apgar offers the quintessential Montana camping experience, especially with its proximity to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

    • Best Time to Visit: Between June and August when the area is alive with flora and fauna.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Explore the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road, enjoy boating on Lake McDonald, and hike the numerous trails around.
    • Things to Know: All sites have become reservable six months in advance since 2022. It gets crowded, so planning is essential.
    • Crystal Lake Campground, Lewis and Clark National Forest

    Hidden within the Big Snowy Mountain range, Crystal Lake Campground is a serene retreat for those seeking solitude. With 28 sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis, this campground promises unforgettable mountain views and access to hiking trails like the Grand View Trail and the Ice Caves Trail. 

    The route to this secluded campground may be challenging, but the experience is worth every effort.

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer to early fall.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Hiking the Grand View and Ice Caves Trails, fishing, and enjoying the serene environment.
    • Things to Know: The campground is first-come, first-served. The dirt road leading to the camp might be slow-going, so patience is required.
    • Bannack State Park

    Bannack State Park, located roughly 90 miles south of Butte, is a preserved historic ghost town stemming from Montana’s initial major gold discovery in 1862. 

    Over 50 structures stretch across the desolate Main Street within the park, transporting visitors back to Montana’s vibrant history. This site hosts two campgrounds: the Vigilante Campground and Road Agent Campground.

    • Best Time to Visit: While the park remains open year-round, the summer season is ideal. 
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Engage in guided activities from the visitor center, including tours and gold panning. Explore the historic structures along Main Street.
    • Things to Know: With an elevation of 5,837 feet, the campsite offers limited facilities in the winter. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance, especially recommended for the summer.
    • Missouri Headwaters State Park

    Situated at the meeting point of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers, Missouri Headwaters State Park is both a National Historic Landmark and a state park. It offers a glimpse into the past, with the Corp of Discoveries having camped here in 1805.

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer is ideal for engaging in the various water activities available.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Hiking, fishing, and swimming are top attractions. The confluence of the three rivers also provides excellent photography opportunities.
    • Things to Know: The campsite is equipped to handle both tents and RVs, but no electrical hookups are provided.
    • Bad Medicine Campground, Kootenai National Forest

    Located in northwest Montana near Libby, this campground offers an intimate communion with nature. Located on the picturesque banks of Bull Lake, this campsite features 18 beautiful spots, ideally suited for tents and compact RVs. 

    But what truly sets Bad Medicine apart is its proximity to the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area – a massive expanse housing ancient red cedars, some of which have witnessed over a millennium. A gentle nature trail winds through these venerable giants, offering families an unparalleled forest experience. 

    • Best Time to Visit: Summer 
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Explore the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, marvel at ancient red cedars, or take a stroll on the family-friendly nature trail. Water activities in Bull Lake are also a must.
    • Things to Know: This is a first-come, first-served campground, and it’s the nearest camping spot to the state’s largest trees.
    • Makoshika State Park

    Montana’s largest state park, Makoshika offers a unique badlands landscape as opposed to Montana’s typical mountainous terrain. The park is home to stark formations, dinosaur fossils, and a variety of campsites.

    • Best Time to Visit: The park is beautiful year-round, but spring and fall are ideal to avoid extreme temperatures.
    • Best Things to Do Near Campsite: Hike the trails that lead to captivating badland formations. Don’t miss out on the visitor center, which provides insights into the park’s significant paleontological discoveries.
    • Things to Know: The park houses relics of the Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex, making it a hub for dinosaur enthusiasts.

    Essential Tips for a Safe and Memorable Montana Camping Experience

    Camping in Montana offers an unparalleled experience, but the diverse landscape and weather conditions require some special considerations. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Wildlife Awareness: Montana is home to bears, mountain lions, moose, and other wildlife. Always store food securely, maintain a safe distance from animals, and carry bear spray in bear country.
    • Weather Variability: Montana’s weather can be unpredictable. Even in summer, temperatures can drop significantly at night, especially at higher elevations. Bring layered clothing and check the weather forecast.
    • High Altitude: Some areas in Montana are at high altitudes. Stay hydrated, avoid overexertion, and give your body time to adjust.
    • Leave No Trace: Practice the Leave No Trace principles. Pack out what you pack in, avoid making new fire pits, and use established campsites.
    • Fire Safety: Montana can be prone to wildfires. Follow fire restrictions, never leave a campfire unattended, and ensure it’s completely extinguished before leaving.
    • Water Sources: Always purify water from lakes and streams before consumption, even if it looks clean. Giardia and other waterborne illnesses can be present.
    • Road Conditions: Some of Montana’s best campsites are off the beaten path. Research road conditions, especially if you’re venturing into more remote areas. A four-wheel-drive vehicle might be necessary.
    • Camping Regulations: Some areas may require permits, have stay limits, or have specific regulations about where you can and can’t camp.
    • Bug Preparedness: Depending on the season and location, mosquitoes and other insects can be prevalent. Bring repellent and consider a head net in particularly buggy areas.
    • Emergency Preparedness: Cell service can be spotty or non-existent in remote areas. Inform someone about your itinerary and expected return. Carry a map, compass, and consider a satellite communication device.

    By keeping these points in mind, campers can ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience amidst Montana’s breathtaking landscapes.

    Wrapping Up 

    Montana’s vast wilderness and rich history have painted a vivid canvas for campers and adventurers alike. From the silent whispers of ghost towns to the thrilling calls of pristine forests and lakes, each experience is a story waiting to be lived. 

    As you pack up your tent and reflect on your Montana escapades, remember that every campfire tale and trail trekked adds to your life’s adventure tapestry. 

    Until your next visit, let Montana’s beauty linger in your memories, and may the spirit of the wild keep calling you back. Safe travels and happy camping!

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