Camping in Montana
Montana entices campers with serene lakes, daring roads (the Beartooth Highway), varied ecosystems, and unique landforms. Because of its breathtaking beauty, Montana remains a popular camping destination for both RV and tent campers.
Can you camp anywhere in Montana?
You can camp at public campgrounds in Montana, or if you seek more amenities, you can stay at a privately run RV park; however, you are likely to have a more rustic adventure at a state or national park with limited amenities.
Both private and public options are popular and book up quickly; consider making reservations at least one year before travel when possible.
Dispersed camping is available on BLM land, which spans several million acres across the state.
Montana National Parks
Montana has good reason to be proud of its national parks! The views are so striking that you’ve probably bought a scenic calendar or jigsaw puzzle at one point in your life, featuring a scene from one of these parks.
Montana State Parks
In addition to camping, Montana state parks offer various recreational activities, including hiking, wildlife viewing, and water sports.
A few of the popular state park options include:
- Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is known for a mammoth limestone cavern; over 40 campsite options are available for RV and tent campers. Be sure to register for a candle-light tour of the cavern.
- Big Arm State Park is a favorite for anglers hoping to catch the “big one” at Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the western United States! Other campers might like the wild-life viewing, water sports, and extensive hiking trails.
- Whitefish Lake State Park has both RV and tent camping available. Nearby activities include hiking, biking, and watersports. WLSP is also a short drive from a ski resort. The lake is known for great fishing and perfect weather for water skiing.
RV Parks in Montana
There is no shortage of options for RV parks in the state. RV camping in Montana can afford both stunning views and the comfort of your home on wheels. Make sure to read reviews and check if full or partial hookups are available.
Learn more about RV Parks in Montana.
Montana National Forests
Free camping (dispersed, no amenities) is located within Montana’s National Forests.
Gallatin National Forest and the Flathead National Forest consists of 2.4 million acres just south of Canada. No cost camping is available at Billy Garret Memorial Bridge Access and Upper Twin Creek Access; keep in mind that the free camping is considered dispersed (primitive, no amenities) and requires setting up a no-trace campground.
Kootenai National Forest, spanning both Idaho and Montana, houses beautiful scenery that might take your breath away! Fisher River Area and Koocanusa Area offer free primitive (dispersed) camping.
Helena - Lewis & Clark National Forest contain six varied dispersed camping areas: Castle Mountain Range, Elkhorn Mountains, Rocky Mountain Range, Snowy Mountain Range, Forest Lake Camping Area, and Haymaker Dispersed Camping Area.
More National Forests in Montana
- Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
- Beaverhead National Forest
- Bitterroot National Forest
- Clearwater National Forest
- Custer National Forest
- Hebgen Lake
- Helena National Forest
- Kaniksu National Forest
- Lolo National Forest
- Shoshone National Forest
Free Camping in Montana
Besides the free camping located within the national forests, those who would like to camp on a budget have several other options.
Dispersed camping is available on BLM land in the state. While there are some paid campgrounds within BLM boundaries, these are typically not free. Boondocking on these public lands must be away from the developed campgrounds to be considered dispersed. Make sure to follow posted signs and obey the time frames allotted for camping.
Lastly, RVers may may camp overnight in parking lots where permitted. Make sure to check with the manager and always get permission for overnight stays.
Learn more about free camping in Montana.