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Bitterroot National Forest

The Bitterroot National Forest comprises approximately 1.6 million acres of land in west-central Montana and eastern Idaho. A little over 70% of the forest is located in Ravalli County, Montana, a little less than 30% of the acreage exists in Idaho County, Idaho, and a very small portion of the land resides in Missoula County, Montana.

The Bitterroot National Forest was founded in 1898 and is part of the Northern Rocky Mountains. The National Forest land starts above the foothills of the Bitterroot River Valley in two magnificent mountain ranges, the Bitterroot Mountains on the west and the Sapphire Mountains on the east. Additionally, nearly half the forest makes up part or all of three unique wilderness areas, the Anaconda-Pintler, the Selway-Bitterroot, and the Frank Church River of No Return.

In each of these very special spaces, no construction, roads, logging, or mining is permitted. All access in and out of these wildernesses must be done on either foot or horseback (bikes aren’t even permitted). Almost as astounding as the tranquility of the wilderness, the Bitterroot National Forest has an abundance of natural resources and majestic big game that make this an especially popular place for environmentalists, photographers, and hunters.

If you’re interested in visiting some of the most beautiful and accessible public lands in the Bitterroot Valley, this National Forest is hard to beat. For maps or for more information about recreational opportunities and necessary permits when exploring or staying in this area, visit