Lolo National Forest, Montana

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Lolo National Forest

With endless outdoor recreational opportunities Lolo National Forest, in beautiful western Montana, is an outdoor enthusiasts playground that is just waiting to be explored.

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  • Lolo National Forest is picturesque place to get out and explore “big sky country!”
  • Easy access from Missoula.
  • Test your luck teasing the trout in one of the 5 rivers within Lolo National Park.
  • Keep your eyes pealed for some big game sighting; bears, moose, mountain goats.

Overview

West of the continental divide, Lolo National Forest, covers over 2 million acres and four wilderness areas. Receiving both continental and maritime weather makes this forest unique, leading Lolo National Park to be one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in Montana.

Thick forests, alpine lakes, and towering peaks give way to rolling meadows. Not just another forest, Lolo National Forest offers you an adventure around each corner with unique ecosystems and terrain. The best part though, easy access, no need to drive for hours to find a bit of tranquility.

Location/Information

Lolo National Park couldn't be more accessible as it encompasses the city of Missoula, located in western Montana. Directly within the city you can access Rattlesnack Wilderness or head south on Hwy 12, where you will spot forest service access signs all the way to the Idaho border.

For further information contact the forest service headquarters.
Lolo National Forest
Building 24-A, Fort Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: 406-329-3814
Alternate Phone: 406-329-3750
Fax: 406-329-1049
www.fs.usda.gov/lolo/

Season

Lolo National Forest is accessible year round.

Activities

With so much acreage the sheer amount of activities will leave you reeling with a long list of must-do recreational excursions. Access to Lolo National Forest for hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing is available just minutes from Missoula, at Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain, and the Rattlesnake National Recreation Areas.

Hiking/Backpacking
Over 700 trails await you! For a fabulous day trip with scenic views, the Morrell Falls hike can't be beat.

  • Morrell Falls Recreational Trail #30: The moderate 2 mile hike to the lake is worth the amazing views of the Swan Valley. Morrell Falls and its 90 ft double cascade is found on the opposite side of the lake. The 2 hour drive from Missoula is the perfect length for a day trip. Take I-90 east out of Missoula to Hwy 200 east. Turn left on Hwy 83 (north) and turn right on Morrell Creek Rd (there is a small green street sign). From here, turn left on West Morrell Rd, take a right on Pyramid Pass Rd, and finally a left on Morrell Falls Rd #4364. Follow this to the trailhead.

Mountain Biking
Bicycling is an ideal way to travel through the forest, heart pumping as you climb the mountains and eyes open to all that surrounds as you rush downhill. Most trails are multi-use so where you can hike, you can bike. The trailhead will warn you when this does not apply or check at a ranger station prior to your ride.

Fishing
Water is abundant in Lolo National Park with over 100 named lakes and 1,000 streams, so grab your rod and pick a spot to cast the day away. Check out Welcome Creek or Rock Creek, both easily accessible and brimming with trout.

Cross-country Skiing/Snowshoeing
Lolo National Forest is a winter wonderland. Many trails are maintained for cross-country skiing enthusiasts, especially in Pattee Canyon or for a bit more route control, blaze your own path.

Snowmobiling
Grab your sled and head out to Blue Mountain Recreation Area, within Lolo National Forest, for a day of riding. Check with the forest service for other snowmobile permitted areas. Snowmobiling is not allowed in wilderness areas so make sure you brush up on these boundaries before you ride your way into a hefty fine.

Downhill Skiing
Enjoy fresh powder without the hassle of lift lines as you skin up and ski down Lolo Pass.

Hunting
Big game is the name of the game in Montana with elk, bear and moose sharing the trophy for most sought after. Check out Welcome Creek, within Lolo National Forest, for an unforgettable hunting experience.

Fun Facts

The Western Red Cedar wins the blue ribbon for amazing trunk girth, growing up to 8 feet in diameter and 200 feet in height. This cedar grows bigger in Lolo National Forest then any other tree species in all of Montana.

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