Kootenai National Forest, Montana

Photo by U.S. Forest Service

Where in the West Should I Go? • 52 Places to Visit in 2022

Don’t skip Glacier National Park, but do head west to Kootenai National Forest, located in the northwesternmost part of Montana.

Here, you’ll find over 2.2 million acres of truly incredible forest land. From Snowshoe Peak at 8,738 feet all the way down to the trees below that surround the Kootenai and Clark Fork rivers. Other rivers ripe for recreation are Yaak, Fisher, Tobacco and Vermillion. 

More than 100 lakes are in the national forest as well – from small alpine lakes to the sizable McGregor Lake. Located alongside US-2, McGregor is by no means a remote lake, but it still offers great camping and fishing. The lake is known for its mackinaw trout population and the forest service says it’s a great place for a trophy-size catch. The young pine trees that surround McGregor Lake are found throughout the Kootenai National Forest. 

If you’re looking for the most remote areas, you’ll do well to look near the community of Yaak. In fact, you can drive up from the similarly-named Yakt for a journey following the Yaak River (maybe with a stop at Yaak Falls Campground).

Places like Marmot Mountain and Northwest Peak, both near the Canadian border, offer great hiking opportunities for the intrepid adventurer. 

The Ten Lakes Scenic Area offers the same kind of remote fun. Shaped by alpine glaciers, the area is named after – you guessed it – the lakes that dot the Ten Lakes basin.