The U.S. Forest Service maintains several campsites in the Bitterroots. Most require a fair amount of determination to make use of. Some are essentially trailheads into Bitterroot canyons, and others demand long dusty drives on county roads, but some are handy enough for the more casual traveler to consider.
Lolo Creek Campground (www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo, late May–Sept., $10) is 15 miles west of Lolo on Highway 12, and for the angler, right on Lolo Creek.
An even more enticing fishing and camping site is the state’s Chief Looking Glass Fishing-Access Site (http://fwp.mt.gov, May–Nov., $12), which is a developed campsite as well. Look for the fishing-access sign on Highway 93 at milepost 77, about midway between Lolo and Stevensville. Then turn east one mile to the river.
Charles Waters (www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot, Apr.–Oct., $10) is a developed site at the trailhead up Bass Creek, with access to hiking up the canyon and fishing in the stream. Watch for the Forest Service sign for Bass Creek Trail four miles south of Florence or four miles north of Stevensville on Highway 93. It’s about three miles in to the campsite.
There are more amenities at some of the area’s private campgrounds. Two nice places are on the river south of Hamilton; both have tent areas as well as RV spaces: Angler’s Roost (406/363-1268, $16 tent, $26 RV full hookup), three miles south of Hamilton, and Bitterroot Family Campground (406/363-2430 or 800/453-2430), eight miles south of Hamilton, with similar prices.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition