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Lewis and Clark National Forest

The Lewis and Clark National Forest lies in central and north central Montana within the upper Missouri River system. The Forest's namesakes, Lewis and Clark led their expedition through these lands and waterways.

The Forest's elevation ranges from 4,500 to 9,362 feet at the top of Rocky Mountain Peak in the Rocky Mountains. Landscapes range from broad prairies to rugged ridges and mountain peaks. Beautiful grassy parks and mountain meadows are surrounded by forests of douglas fir and lodgepole pine.The Forest includes the Bob Marshall-Great Bear-Scapegoat Wilderness Complex.

The Forest has 1,600 miles of perennial streams and a few small natural and man-made lakes where visitors may fish for trout and mountain whitefish. There are 14 boat camps and 20 miles of frontage on the Smith River, a nationally-acclaimed blue ribbon trout stream. Additionally, over 60 streams are known to support westslope cutthroat trout, an imperiled native fish of the upper Missouri River basin.

The Lewis and Clark Forest is home to a wide range of wildlife: elk, deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, blue grouse; lynx, bald eagles, grizzly bears, peregrine falcon and gray wolf. The Forest contains many popular viewing sites for migrating waterfowl.

This Forest offers a world-class Interpretive Center that traces the journey of Lewis and Clark. The Center is located near the great falls of the Missouri River. From President Thomas Jefferson's vision of an expanding United States, to the daily experiences of the expeditionary corps and native peoples of the "uncharted west," the incredible story of the 19th century adventure comes alive. Try your hand at wilderness skills and learn about native plants and animals.

On many National Forests and Grasslands, you can stand in the exact places Lewis and Clark stood, imagine what they saw, and discover what has changed.

Winter activities are plentiful on this Forest. At the top of King's Hill Pass, in the Little Belt Mountains is Showdown, Montana's oldest ski area. On the Front Range of the Montana Rockies is the Teton Pass Ski Area.

In 2015, the Lewis and Clark National Forest and the Helena National Forest were combined into one forest, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.




Nearest Large Urban Area:

Great Falls

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.


Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.