Hidden Gems

An RVer's Guide to Flathead National Forest

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION

Hidden Gems of the National Forest System

THOR and the National Forest Foundation are bringing you one step closer to the “hidden gems” of the National Forest system. Get tips for RVing at these national forest destinations and why they are some of the RV community’s best-kept secrets.

About Flathead National Forest

In the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana lies the 2.4-million-acre Flathead National Forest. With lakes galore, rugged wilderness, wild rivers, over 2,000 miles of trails, campgrounds, ski areas, and year-round beauty, this forest is a premiere natural landscape of the American West.

Most of the Forest's one million acres of wilderness are clustered together in one enormous complex that includes the Bob Marshall, Great Bear, and Mission Mountains and comprise approximately 46 percent of the Forest's land base. The Flathead National Forest has 200 miles of designated National Recreation Trails, mostly in designated Wilderness Areas—making it a haven for RVers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

What To Do In Flathead National Forest

Scenic driving on the Forest's roads offers a variety of opportunities.  Paved and gravel roads lead visitors through unique forest settings that offer beautiful vistas, freshwater lakes and streams, and mountain scenery. Some suggested scenic drives include the east and west sides of the Hungry Horse Reservoir, the Swan Highway, Logan Creek, Good Creek, Big Mountain Road, and the North Fork Road.

Other popular attractions in the area include:

A river and snowy mountain tops in Flathead National Forest.

Plan Your Trip

RV Camping 

The Flathead National Forest has 31 developed campgrounds. The Forest's 12 concessionaire campgrounds are hosted, and offer water, picnic tables, fire rings, and common areas; some have pavilions, boat launches, horseshoe pits, sand volleyed ball courts, and garbage service.  The concessionaire-managed campgrounds that accommodate RV camping include Big Creek, Emery Bay, Doris Creek, Holland Lake, Lid Creek, Lost Johnny Point, Murray Bay, and Tally Lake.

Camp at Flathead National Forest

List of Campgrounds

Know Before You Go

Constructed in 1923 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Spotted Bear Museum is one of the Flathead National Forest’s most significant heritage assets, offering self-guided tours that showcase the area’s storied history in the early days of Wilderness management.

A lake and mountain landscape in Flathead National Forest.

Flathead National Forest

Top Attractions

POINT OF INTEREST
1
Hungry Horse Reservoir Scenic Loop
High in the Rocky Mountains and spanning 34 miles long, the Hungry Horse Reservoir is a hidden gem and local favorite in Flathead National Forest.
2
Swan Highway
From Kalispell take Route 93 south to 82 east and pick-up Highway 83 outside of Bigfork. Also called the Swan Highway, Highway 83 moves south past Swan Lake for 90 miles to Seeley Lake, offering beautiful views.
3
Big Mountain Road
Winding through creeks, forest, and elevation, Big Mountain Road crawls from Big Mountain Trailhead to Monks Bay, and landing near the outskirts of Whitefish, offering a scenic yet quick drive for explorers.
4
North Fork Road
Crawling along the edge of Winona Ridge North and along the banks of North Fork Flathead River, North Fork Road will take you along a journey through mountains and valleys.
5
Flathead Wild and Scenic River
219 miles of free-flowing water in northwest Montana that follows the Canadian border to the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Flathead Wild and Scenic River will take you through some of the most wild and rugged areas in the country. Venture through Glacier National Park, Great Bear Wilderness, and Bob Marshall Wilderness for an unmatched immersion in nature.
6
Jewel Basin Hiking Area
Known as "The Basin," Jewel Basin boasts 15,349 acres, 27 lakes and 35 miles of trails. Enjoy High Mountain Lake fishing, bushwhacking in remote areas, or a leisurely hike to Birch Lake.
7
Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex
The United States Congress designated the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area as part of the original Wilderness Act of 1964 and it now encompasses over 1.5 million acres. Three wildernesses are included within the complex: Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear. Enjoy alpine lakes, rugged mountain peaks, sightly waterfalls, grassy meadows, and coniferous forest.
8
Summit Nature Center
Located in the Summit House at the Whitefish Mountain Resort, the Summit Nature Center offers hands-on activities, displays, field guides, and materials for outdoor fun. Great for kids and adults who love to learn.
9
Big Creek Campground
Just 2 miles south of the Northwest entrance to Glacier National Park, Big Creek Campground makes a great jumping off point to surrounding natural areas and recreational opportunities.
10
Emery Bay Campground
Nestled in the Hungry Horse Reservoir, high in the Rocky Mountains, and just 30 miles from the Continental Divide, it's easy to imagine the natural wonders available via Emery Bay Campground. Doris Creek Campground is also another local option.
11
Doris Creek Campground
Located in the Hungry Horse Reservoir, high in the Rocky Mountains, and just 30 miles from the Continental Divide, Doris Creek Campground boasts scenic views and beautiful campsites. Emery Bay Campground is another local option.
12
Holland Lake Campground
Located on the shores of Holland Lake in the Swan Valley of northwest Montana, Holland Lake Campground is an excellent place to enjoy lake life and local hiking adventures.
13
Lid Creek Campground
Calling the Hungry Horse Reservoir home deep within the Rocky Mountains—and just west of the Continential Divide—Lid Creek Campground is known for spectacular views and recreational opportunities.
14
Lost Johnny Point Campground
Just south of the Canadian border, enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains, fresh swimming holes, and outdoor activities at the Lost Johnny Point Campground.
A lake and mountain views in Flathead National Forest.

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Hidden Gems Series

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In 2020, THOR and the National Forest Foundation entered a partnership that will plant at least 500,000 trees on National Forest lands. Join us by supporting our National Forests and help improve the health of important public lands for future generations.

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