Camping in the

Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana

The Eagle looked down on the river below, and he wrapped his wings around him and fell like a stone. The big salmon fought, but the talons held true. Suddenly the world turned from silver to blue. Me and The Eagle.

Needless to say I was tired when we finally reached Bryant Lake. It had been a long day. We started hiking before 9 a.m. and arrived at the lake late in the afternoon. My feet, legs, shoulders and back were all sore, but the view was invigorating.

The crystal-blue mountain lake reflected the surrounding granite cliffs and peaks perfectly on its glassy surface. The wildflowers bloomed around the shores and somewhere across the water a fish jumped.


We set up camp near the head of the lake, erecting our tent in a small grassy meadow surrounded by alpine shrubs. We filtered our drinking water form the small stream that fed the lake. I spent the afternoon casting flies in the shallow water around the edge of the lake and was delighted, over and over, at seeing the small rainbow trout rise to my imitations. At night the world was silent only the sound of the wind on the rocks and through the trees.

Bryant Lake sits high in the Bear Creek Drainage, west of Victor. The hike in is about nine miles and the trail is clearly marked. And as peaceful as the lake is, late during the second night, we did get a thunderstorm through the basin and the thunder shattered the silence over and over, like a big base drum. Lightning danced on the rocks way overhead and rain came down in wild sheets. This world, miles away from civilization, is anything but tame.

But living in the Bitterroot Valley provides us quick access to this unique world a world still natural and untrammeled by man. It's not always easy, some of the trails on the west side of the valley can be very difficult, but the challenge is part of the reward.

Camping in the Bitterroot Valley and surrounding mountains can range from the backpacking trips to RV and car camping. The Forest Service has several campgrounds appropriate for RVs and tents: Lake Como, Blodgett and Rombo being three of the more popular campgrounds. These campgrounds have designated fire rings, campsites and toilets. They also charge a nominal fee.

Camping is of course allowed almost anywhere on the National Forest, but campers must take responsibility for their camps. During the late summer, campfires are often outlawed on the forest due to fire danger. When campfires are allowed, making sure they are out cold before you move on is essential.

Also take the extra time to make sure all the trash is picked up and when camping in the wilderness.

Discover Montana Bitterroot Valley Activities, Sports and Things To Do

Camping in the Bitterroot Valley | Canoeing in the Bitterroot Valley | Conservation in the Bitterroot Valley
Cross Country Skiing in the Bitterroot Valley | Downhill Skiing in the Bitterroot Valley | Farmers Market in the Bitterroot Valley
Fly Fishing in the Bitterroot Valley | Hiking in the Bitterroot Valley | Horse Care in the Bitterroot Valley
Hunting in the Bitterroot Valley | Look outs in the Bitterroot Valley | Wildlife Watching in the Bitterroot Valley

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