Camping in Montana @ Lost Horse Creek

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(I’m writing this from a McDonalds in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. My Verizon data doesn’t work here so I am at the mercy of free WIFI which has been few and far between and as we hit the Alaska Highway will even be more spotty.  Today we will get to Dawson Creek, the official start of the Alaska Highway and be on it for the next few days. All is well and the trip is going splendidly.) 

On May 28th we decided we didn’t need to go to the Hot Springs again so we just broke camp that morning and hit the road. We drove about 30 miles to Salmon, Idaho where we had to go to the Post Office to get some mail we had sent there general delivery. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but we have NOT had internet or cell phone at any of the places we’ve dispersed camped except the one just across the Utah-Idaho border that looked down on the freeway. So we stopped in Salmon to get on-line as well.

Montana welcome center still deep in the snow!

Montana welcome center still deep in the snow!

Once everything was done there, it was back to the old driving grind. We headed north on Highway 93 and crossed the border into Montana. At the border was a welcome center up on a very high pass in beautiful trees and mountains. We stopped to stretch, relieve ourselves and play in the snow; yes, there was lots of snow there–probably still 3-4 feet left. This far north at high elevations they can get snow anytime of the year. We stayed for a while and moved on. We quickly dropped down out of the snow and into warm, beautiful spring weather.

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We needed a place to camp that night so I got out the Delorme Atlas and Gazeeter and searched for a likely looking Forest Service roads. I found one that was just 4 miles from the main road and between what appeared to be two major roads in the National Forest. One problem with finding campsites in the National Forests is if the area is too steep to have pullouts to camp in. So one of the things I do is to check the topo for steepness and this one was mostly a gradual climb so I thought we could find a campsite.

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It turns out I was right, we found several good campsites and the one we chose was by far the prettiest we had been in for a long time. We were backed up to a gorgeous creek amidst tall, beautiful trees and even had wildflowers in the area. Our favorite campsite yet! We only stayed one day though so the next morning we broke camp and headed out. We drove out as a loop and came out on Lost Horse Creek and drove back down to 93. I loved Lost Horse Creek Rd! It was in a beautiful valley and followed along a gorgeous river set in huge trees that were spaced out and felt very comfortable. Best of all, there were many gorgeous campsites right on the river with great views.

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If I were ever looking for a place to spend the summer where it’s cool and exceptionally beautiful, Montana would be it! I’d start at this campsite and come back often! Fortunately, there are seven different National Forests up and down the Bitterroot Valley and Western Montana and you could bounce around between them every 14 days. Hamilton, MO is just a few miles up the road and it’s large enough to have everything you need, except a Walmart. Another 50 miles up 93 is Missoula, MO which is a very large town with two Wal-Marts and all the chains. In Northwest Montana is Kalispell and Whitefish which, between them, have all the major chain stores including a Cabellas. If you’re looking for a fabulous place to spend the summer, give serious thought to western Montana!

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Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

26 comments on “Camping in Montana @ Lost Horse Creek
  1. Openspaceman says:

    Bob_

    Jus’ read a volcano erupted 600 miles southwest of Anchorage…hope that doesn’t mess up your travels.

    • Bob Bob says:

      It shouldn’t affect us. But it usually means a big disruption in flight plans since the ash is highly corrosive to aircraft and they MUST not fly through it. That’s happened before and Anchorage was covered with a layer of ash. It was winter so all the snow turned brown!
      Bob

  2. Thanks for scouting Montana for me, Bob. I now have a destination.
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  3. dan says:

    Hi Bob: Looks like you’re finding good places. Do you think you’ll find good boondocking places in Canada?

    Just wanted to suggest to you that in Canada, that in addition to McDonalds, you might also try Tim Hortons stores, there are more of them, and most have wifi gratis, plus the products they offer are pretty good too. Also, I’m from Missouri, and Missouri is abbreviated MO, I think Montana is Mn. They’re easy to mix up. I’ve done it myself several times. Regards, Dan

    • Bob Bob says:

      dan, thanks for the correction, I should have checked the abbreviation! We started seeing Tim Hortons everywhere and I had never heard of them before so we ignored them. When we got to Fort Nelson they were about the only thing so we went there. I loved it!! Great food, great WIFI and reasonable prices. Now I look for them and we stop whenever we can.

      I’ll do a post real soon just on camping in Canada.
      Bob

  4. dan says:

    correction, MT is Montana. I gather mn is Minnesota. Too many states that start with a “M” I guess.

  5. jonthebru says:

    I am enjoying this tour.

  6. Dan from Alberta says:

    welcome to Canada! Hope you enjoy your stay, Too bad you passed by Edmonton, but I understand wanting to stay clear of big cities. If you do feel like dropping by on your return trip (if you come back the same way) give me a holler and we’ll do lunch!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Dan!! I wanted to drive up 93 through Idaho, Montana and BC and I am so glad we did!! I think it may be the most beautiful drive in North America!
      Bob

  7. Great Bob. You two look great together. Is anyone else traveling with you now. You look and sound like you are flying solo, just the two of you in one van??? I thought others were making the Alaska trip too?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Charlene, lots of people talked about it, none did it. We have been living together in her van since May 6th but I was driving my van along until May 27 when I left it in storage. So we’ve been living together for 1 month. I had planned to wait that long before I posted about it so I will do that soon.
      Bob

  8. Calvin R says:

    Thanks, Bob! Cool summers certainly matter. I have a relative in western Montana that I would like to see, and beyond that it will always be good to know where beautiful country with good camping is located.

  9. white trash says:

    Ahhh… One of the few places on the planet where the air is (relatively) pure….

    Don’t forget to have an Elderberry beer! Maybe some Moose drool!

    My (ex) wife & I traveled there (actually Glacier NP) via Amtrak in 2004 for our honeymoon.
    I had fun, though she wasn’t too fond of the train ride (claustrophobic).
    Glacier NP has little furry animals that are so imprinted that anyone can sit on a rock ledge, & feed a ground squirrel by hand!
    Not recommended, but sure is fun to interact!
    Have a gr8 time!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks White trash! I’m sure Glacier was still snowed in so we didn’t even try to go into it. Probably on the way back we’ll stop there.
      Bob

  10. Canine says:

    Enjoy those large, orange Ponderosa Pines while you can. The Pine Bark Beetle is doing a number on much of the timber in Montana; the hardest hit being the Ponderosa.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Canine, yeah, the spruce bark beetles are horrible! They have decimated large parts of Colorado and Alaska. I wasn’t aware of Montana, but that makes sense. Most scientists attribute it to global warming creating perfect conditions for them.
      Bob

      • Canine says:

        I’ve also noticed a lot fewer birds of all species. Do you suppose some birds or animals who eat Pine Bark Beetles aren’t high enough in population to help keep the beetles in check? The beetles do like it warm, that’s for sure, but perhaps other factors are conspiring to creat a ‘perfect storm’?

        • Bob Bob says:

          Canine, sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. The inner-workings of nature are so complicated that we use our best super-computers to work on the models and they don’t even begin to get it right usually. We’re doing all these horrible things to the environment without a clue what the results are going to be–until disaster strikes!
          Bob

  11. Wow! Montana! Beautiful! Now that’s a thought I hadn’t seriously considered. You two are simply adorable together! I’ll consider Montana for future summers as well. Soooo many possibilities for summer camping, I think. The Utah mountains, NM mountains…..CA mountains (which I’m doing now), which are not recommended since it’s a mint for gas unless your near another state border to get cheaper gas and groceries. I’m in heaven tracking your journey, Bob!

  12. Patti says:

    As a native Montanan I noticed you listed Montana as MO but it is MT when talking about Lost Horse Creek. 🙂 Just wanted to point that out.

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