Can You Camp Anywhere in Kootenai National Forest?

Kootenai National Forest is a stunningly beautiful area located in the northwest corner of Montana, USA. It is an incredibly diverse region, offering opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing and more.

So, can you camp anywhere in Kootenai National Forest? The answer is yes – but with some restrictions.

Kootenai National Forest is divided into two sections – the Kootenai River District and the Cabinet Ranger District. There are numerous camping opportunities available in both areas.

In the Kootenai River District, camping is allowed on designated sites only. These sites are accessible via roads and trails maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies.

In the Cabinet Ranger District, there are more than 20 campgrounds ranging from primitive sites to full-service RV parks with hookups and amenities. Dispersed camping (camping outside of designated sites) is also allowed in certain areas of this district as long as certain restrictions are observed.

Restrictions for Dispersed Camping:

Camping outside of designated sites requires an approved campfire permit from a local ranger station or online from Campfires must be kept small and monitored at all times to prevent forest fires.

Campers must also follow Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and leaving no trace of their presence behind when they leave. In addition, dispersed camping is limited to 14 days within any 30-day period.

It’s important to note that some areas within Kootenai National Forest are closed to dispersed camping due to environmental concerns or other factors, so it’s important to check with a local ranger station before setting up camp.


In conclusion, while you can camp anywhere in Kootenai National Forest with some restrictions in place, it’s important to obey all regulations and obtain necessary permits before doing so. By taking these precautions, you’ll ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience while visiting this incredible region.

Photo of author

Samantha Mckinney