Camping, Hiking and Traveling in Montana
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Hike Index
H=Hike   C=Camp   V=Visit     S=Ski

Livingston Area
  Elephanthead Mtn. H

Paradise Valley
  S. Fk. Deep Creek H
  Pine Creek H,C
  George Lake H
  Passage Creek Falls H
  Crow Mountain H

Big Timber Area
  Boulder River H,C,V
  Natural Bridge Falls H,C,V
  Big Timber Creek Falls  H,C,V
  West Boulder Meadows H,C
  Twin Lakes  H,C
  Prairie Dog State.Park   V

Bozeman Area
Chestnut Mountain H
  Goose Creek H,S
  Mystic Lake H
  Lava Lake H

Central Montana
  Little Belt Mountains H,C,V,S
  Castle Mountains H,C
  Central MT Railroading V
  Cooney Reservoir C,V
  Crystal Lake H,C,V
  Judith Mountains V
  Judith Gap Wind Farm V
  Moccasin Mountains V

The Yellowstone River
  Upper Yellowstone Floating
  Yankee Jim Canyon

Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
  Anvil Lake H,C
  Beartooth Lake H,C,V
  Beartooth Highway V
  Island Lake H,C,V

Western Montana
  Painted Rocks Rec Area V,C
  Salmon Lake State Park V,C
  Warm Spring Ponds  V

Selecting a Car Camping Campsite

Camping Index
Montana Campgrounds
Selecting a Campsite
Selecting a Tent Site
Selecting a Tent
Sleeping Bags & Pads
The Camp Kitchen
Selecting a Camp Stove
Water Supplies

    Wherever you are car camping in Montana selecting the right campsite makes a big difference in the enjoyment of your trip. When selecting a campsite use your personal preferences to determine what you are looking for. Remember that what one person finds desirable another might find uncomfortable. That's what's great about looking for the perfect Montana campsite, trying to find a site that offers you the most of what you think is best in a site. Montana offers it all,so, figure out what you like in a campsite and select the ones that are best for you.

     The advice that follows presumes that you will have a number of sites to chose from. However, this is not always true. If you are camping in Montana at a popular place at a popular time of year you will find that many campgrounds fill completely and the best time to find empty sites is mid-morning to mid-afternoon. It is often advisable to reserve in advance to insure that you will get a site. Most private and many public campgrounds in Montana take advance reservations. In many cases you can tell a lot about a campground you have never visited by carefully examining the maps on the reservation web site. You can never really know what a particular campground or campsite will be like until you see it yourself but it is often better to reserve in advance and be sure of a site when you arrive.

     Things to consider when selecting a campsite at a Montana campground.

           Bathrooms and water -- the location of the facilities, bathrooms and water, are very important to your selection of a campsite some of us find it important to be as close as possible to these facilities while others will prefer a site that's located further away. Note the locations of bathrooms and think about that as you select your site

            Sun and Shade -- pay attention to the physical layout of your campsites you will quickly discover that their picnic tables and kitchen and tent areas have clearings facing in various directions meaning that each site has its own unique shading.. A little bit of thought about where the sun may be at the times when you're in the camp makes a big difference.

           A good tent site -- one of the most important things is to select the site that has a good tent site. If you don't have a good place to start from you cannot set up a tent that you will sleep well in. Look for a site that is level and flat make sure there are no roots or rocks picking up because they will point you at night. Check to make sure the site you select is not on a main pathway or trail.  Learn more about selecting a tent site

            Campsite layout -- most campsites include similar things - a picnic table, a fire ring, and usually a tent site. However, the way these are laid out makes a big difference in how you will enjoy your camp. Do you enjoy sitting around the campfire? If so, a primary concern should be the fire area and seating and fire pit. If there are prevailing winds at the campsite, be sure to account for them. Before selecting a site think about where you will set up your stove, where you will put your cooler. Will you be stringing a clothesline? Do you have kids who need access lines through various camp areas, etc. All of these things combine to determine whether the physical layout of the campsite is best for you.

            Neighbors -- what kind of person are you? Do you like to visit with others or do you prefer to be left alone? As you look for a good campsite look at the surrounding campsites as well what kind of neighbors are there right now? Are the sites empty is the campgrounds and he? Also, be sure to look for major foot trails. In many campgrounds foot paths are well traveled between sites.

     Searching for a great campsite is often not an option. If you are in a crowded campground or arrive after dark you will likely have to take whatever is available. However, when you have time and the luxury of choices spend a few minutes making your selection. It is well worth the time it takes.

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