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Lewis and Clark National Forest

Lewis and Clark National Forest
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General Information

Description - The boundaries of the Lewis and Clark National Forest spread east from the rugged, mountainous Continental Divide onto the plains. The 1.8 million acres of the Lewis and Clark National Forest are scattered into seven separate mountain ranges. Because of its wide-ranging land pattern, the Forest is separated into two Divisions: the Rocky Mountain and the Jefferson.

Almost half of the Rocky Mountain Division, which stretches southward from Glacier National Park, is part of the huge Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. The six remaining mountain ranges are spread across the Jefferson division of the forest. In comparison to the Rocky Mountains, where forest lands are contiguous to other National Forests, these ranges seem to spring from the surrounding prairie lands creating a majestic rise in the flattened agricultural landscape. Mountain formations vary from the more dome-like, less obtrusive appearance of the Little Belts to the rocky spires of the Castle Mountains.

The Forest is home to an innovative interpretive center. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center imparts to the public a personal sense of President Thomas Jefferson's vision of expanding America to the west.

The Kings Hill Scenic Byway passes through the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Little Belt Mountains.Stretching 71 miles along Highway 89, the Byway winds its way through pristine mountain lakes and streams and is home to an abundant variety of wildlife. The gravel roads criss-crossing the main highway lead to 450 miles of spectacular mountain scenery, high country lakes, trailheads, campgrounds, and old mines.

Two ski areas are located on the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Teton Pass Ski Area is located on the Rocky Mountain Front, north of Cheteau, and Showdown Ski Area is located in the Little Belt Mountains north of White Sulphur Springs.

Recreation - The Lewis and Clark offers year round recreation opportunities. Some of the summer activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, and sightseeing. In the winter, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are all available on the Forest.

There are five cabins available for rental on the Forest, all in the Jefferson Division. Contact the Lewis and Clark for more information.

In addition to snowmobile use on many roads and trails, two areas on the Forest are managed in partnership with local snowmobile clubs to provide groomed trails for your enjoyment. The Kings Hill/Little Belt Area is located in the Jefferson Division of the Forest and the Cut Bank Area is located in the Rocky Mountain Division.

Climate - Temperatures and precipitation on the Forest vary with elevation. Summers tend to bring moderate to warm temperatures with clear days. Summer highs are normally in the 70's and 80's with relatively cool to cold nights. Winter brings cold temperatures with ample snow for winter recreation activities. Winter temperatures frequently drop well below zero but clear, crisp days are common. Snowpack normally remains in the high elevations well into June or even July making some areas inaccessible until then.

Location - The Lewis and Clark National Forest is situated in west central Montana. The Rocky Mountain division of the Forest extends southward from the southern border of Glacier National Park for approximately 100 miles. A Ranger District office is located in Choteau and a Visitor Information Station is operated in Augusta, Montana. The Jefferson division of the Forest includes the Highwood, Little Belt, Castle, Big Snowy, Little Snowy and northern portions of the Crazy Mountain ranges. Ranger District offices are located in Stanford, White Sulphur Springs and Harlowton; a Visitor Information Station is located near Neihart, Montana. The Forest Headquarters is located in Great Falls.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Lewis and Clark National Forest, 1101 15th Street North, P.O. Box 869 , Great Falls, MT, 59403, Phone: 406-791-7700

Additional Information:
Montana National Forests -

Lewis and Clark National Forest - Official agency website.


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