Can You Camp on National Forest Land in Montana?

With its majestic mountains, picturesque valleys and wide open plains, Montana’s national forest land is an ideal spot for camping. Whether you’re looking for a remote wilderness experience or a more developed campground with amenities like running water and electricity, you can find it in Montana’s national forests.

The U.S. Forest Service manages the majority of Montana’s national forest land, allowing visitors to camp in designated areas without having to obtain a permit. However, there are some restrictions in place.

Camping is limited to 14 days within any 30-day period and no more than 16 people can camp at one site at once. Additionally, campers must be at least half a mile away from any road or water source.

When it comes to camping on national forest land in Montana, there are two main types of sites available: developed and dispersed camping. Developed sites offer amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables and fire rings, while dispersed sites are more primitive with no facilities provided. Developed sites usually require an advanced reservation through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) or by calling the local ranger station.

In addition to traditional camping, many of Montana’s national forests also offer “backcountry” camping opportunities. Backcountry camping allows visitors to explore the most remote areas of the forest without having to worry about finding a designated campsite or reserving one ahead of time. Backcountry campsites must still adhere to the same regulations as other types of campsites – such as being at least half a mile away from water sources and roads – but they provide a unique opportunity for exploration.


In conclusion, you can absolutely camp on national forest land in Montana! Whether you’re looking for modern amenities or just want to explore some of the most remote parts of the state, there are plenty of options available. Be sure to follow all regulations when planning your trip and have fun!

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Jennifer Watson