Established with cyclists and backpackers in mind, St. Ignatius Campground and Hostel (406/745-3959, http://camp-hostel.com ) is a friendly, if somewhat eccentric, place on the northern outskirts of St. Ignatius . Lodging is bunk style ($14) in the “earthship,” an environmentally friendly, passive solar-heated building constructed of recycled tires and cans. Showers and toilets are in a separate bathhouse, where visitors can use a laundry room. There’s also a pleasant camping area, open both to tenters and RVs (full hookups), and a couple of tepees ($10 s, $14 d).
Free camping behind the senior center in Charlo is provided by the Lions Club. It’s a convenient place to stay if you want to get an early jump on bird and animal watching.
The Sunset Motel (333 Mountain View, St. Ignatius, 406/745-3900, $65) is a simple but comfortable motel just above Hwy. 93 in St. Ignatius. Pets are allowed here.
Up against the Mission Mountains, Cheff’s Guest Ranch (4274 Eagle Pass Rd., 406/644-2557, www.cheffguestranch.com ) offers accommodations on a working cattle and horse ranch outside of Charlo. Weeklong packages ($950 per person) include all meals, lodging, and horseback riding. A couple of cabins are equipped with kitchens and can be rented by the night ($140) or week ($780) and lodge rooms are available on a B&B basis ($80). Cheff’s also run pack trips and short horseback rides $40 for 2 hours).