Kootenai National Forest contains 2.2 million acres of public land for
the outdoor enthusiast. Ranges of high, craggy peaks mark the Forest with
Snowshoe Peak in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness at 8,738 feet, the highest
point. The Whitefish Range, Purcell Mountains, Bitterroot Range, Salish
Mountains and Cabinet Mountains are all part of the rugged terrain radiating
from the river valleys. In the north-central part of the Forest, the land
is more open with gently rolling timbered hills lying in the shadows of
the Whitefish Range.
Forest is dominated by two major rivers: the Kootenai and Clark Fork,
along with several smaller rivers and their tributaries. Two dams on
the Clark Fork have created the Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Reservoirs within
the Forest boundary. Highway 200 parallels these reservoirs as it crosses
the Forest. The Kootenai River is bridled by Libby
Dam, creating Lake
Koocanusa, a 90-mile-long reservoir reaching into Canada. Lake Koocanusa,
16 miles north of Libby, is almost totally encompassed by Forest land
with Highway 37 following the east shore to Rexford, and a Forest road
along the west shore to within a few miles of Canada. These roads offer
wonderful mountain biking opportunities on roads that don't receive
a high amount of traffic.
Fisher, Tobacco, Bull, and Vermillion Rivers are smaller rivers within
the confines of the Forest. There are 141 lakes located within the Forest
boundaries that range from small alpine lakes to 1,240-acre Bull Lake.
MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS (more)
94,360 acres. This wilderness area contains mountainous, rugged terrain
that runs north/south through the center of the Kootenai National Forest.
High mountain peaks, notably Snowshoe, A Peak, and others ranging from
7,618 feet to 8,738 feet, provide a scenic backdrop for Libby and the
surrounding area. More than 20 trails leading into the Wilderness give
access to dozens of small lakes, ridgetop panoramas, and alpine meadows.
SCENIC AREA (more)
15,700 acres. Ten Lakes offers unparalleled scenery and solitude. With
the Canadian border on one side, the Ten Lakes Area is dominated by
a high ridge of the Whitefish Mountains. Alpine glaciers carved deep
scallops, or cirques, and high, rim-rocked
basins which shelter numerous area lakes.
PEAKS SCENIC AREA (more)
19,100 acres - close to both the Canadian and Idaho borders, is reached
by Forest roads extending from U.S. Highway 2 and State Highway 508.
As part of the Selkirk Range, lofty peaks and deep valleys provide primitive
CREEK SCENIC AREA (more)
100 acres. Reached by 4 miles of Forest road from State Highway 56,
the area is a grove of ancient Western Red Cedar trees growing along
the banks of Ross Creek. A self-guided nature trail forms a winding
loop through the grove, providing views of many cedars that are 8 feet
in diameter and 175 feet tall.
Kootenai Falls on the Kootenai River, adjacent to U.S. Highway 2 between
Libby and Troy, is a major scenic attraction. The placid river which
carries water volumes ranging from 3,500 cfs to 30,000 cfs, suddenly
gathers momentum, surging first
through China Rapids and then over Kootenai Falls, dropping 90 feet
in less than a mile. The main falls is 30 feet high. Other falls on
the Forest include Yaak, West Fork Yaak, Vermillion, Little North Fork,
Pinkham, Sutton, Ten Mile, Turner, Falls
Creek, and Ross Creek.
RECREATION TRAILS (more)
There are five National Recreation Trails on the Forest with a combined
mileage of approximately 70 miles.
There are 40 Forest Service campgrounds throughout the Forest. Campground
use is most popular in July and August but most sites are open as soon
as they are snow-free in the spring. Many remain open through the fall
191 species recorded; a checklist is available. Some of the more regularly
occurring species include pileated, hairy, and downy woodpeckers; belted
kingfisher; Bohemian and cedar waxwings; pygmy and great horned owls;
common loon; many duck species; grouse; jays; hummingbirds; bluebirds,
and chickadees. Bald Eagles, osprey, and Harlequin ducks can be seen
The Forest has a great diversity of animals that range from moose to
mice. Elk, mule and whitetail deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose,
black bear, mountain lion, grizzly bear, coyote, weasel, mink, wolverine,
beaver, otter, porcupine, skunk, snowshoe hare, mountain cottontail,
pika, bobcat, and lynx are a partial listing of the game and non-game
species residing within the Forest boundaries.
Rivers, streams, and lakes on the Forest support populations of rainbow,
westslope, cutthroat, and brook trout; kokanee salmon; mountain whitefish;
sturgeon; ling; perch; bass; and sunfish.
Biking: There are miles of back-country roads and trails available
for mountain biking. Check with the Forest Service for any special
resstrictions for the area in which you wish to ride. Click here for
a link to the Kootenai
River Trail along US Hwy 2 between Libby and Troy (5.5 mile dirt
trail between the Kootenai River Road and the Swinging Bridge along
the Kootenai River).
boating with ramps on all the larger lakes and reservoirs.
Camping: 40 campgrounds, 696 units. Open mid-April through September;
some year-round. (more)
fishing in streams and lakes. Montana's record small mouth bass was
caught on a Forest lake. Koocanusa Reservoir is an excellent kokanee
salmon fishery. (more)
of the Kootenai, Fisher, and Yaak Rivers should present no problem
to experienced floaters in canoes, rafts, or boats.
backpacking: 1,440 miles of trails. Over 300,000 acres of unroaded
backcountry are available to recreationists. (more)
Elk, deer, black bear, mountain sheep, mountain goat, moose, grouse,
and water fowl.
Rental: For those who would like to enjoy a mountain top experience,
six lookouts are available to rent on a recreation basis. (more)
Huckleberry picking; mushroom gathering.
Off-Highway Vehicle Use
U. S. Forest Service and BLM lands provide trail-riding opportunities
for off-highway vehicles (OHV), such as motorcycles and ATV's. For trail
information contact the Forest Service Office or BLM office closest
to the area where you plan to use your ATV. All OHV's used for recreation
on public lands must be registered and display a
current OHV decal. A non-resident using an OHV that is not registered
in a nonresident's home state must purchase a nonresident temporary-use
permit. Permits are available from any Fish Wildlife and Parks office.
Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) include motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles
(ATVs), quadricycles, dune buggies, amphibious vehicles and air cushion
vehicles. Trails are maintained by local clubs or government agencies
with grant money provided by FWP. OHV funds are derived from OHV gas
tax refund and decal fees. For information about trail riding areas
contact the local Forest Service or BLM office for a travel plan map.
Contact FWP at 406-444-7317 for more information. (Snowmobiles are
Off-highway vehicles operating on public land for recreational purposes
must be registered and display decals. OHVs must be registered
at the County Treasurers office in the county where the owner resides.
Registrations expire December 31 of each year. OHVs that are properly
registered in another state may operate in Montana for up to 30 consecutive
days. Non-residents with OHVs that are not registered may purchase a
temporary use permit that is valid for the calendar year. Permits are
skiing on Turner Mountain, 5,952 feet elevation, with a 2,400-foot
vertical rise, 5,600-foot T-Bar lift, is located 22 miles from Libby.
Cross-country skiing with groomed trails and unlimited opportunities
is offered on numerous backcountry roads. (more)
350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. (more)
lower elevation lakes are nice for swimming; several of the larger
lakes and reservoirs have developed beaches with picnic tables, shelters,
further information contact:
US Highway 2 West
PO Box 959
Libby, MT 59923
1001 HWY 37 North
Libby, MT 59923
Contact: Randy Remp, Pres.
PO Box 1477
Trout Creek, MT 59874
Contact: David Schopp
Libby Achery Club
promotes the sport of archery and bowhunting in
south Lincoln County with an emphasis on safety, ethical hunting
and family fun. We are affiliated with Montana Bowhunters
Association. We sponsor two 3D shoots a year, a traditional
shoot in May and in June a shoot for compound and traditional
shooters. For more information on the shoots or how to
join the club, contact Teri Kelly 406-293-2900, Email: email@example.com