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Montana: Off the Beaten Path

We're spending the month of August traveling around Montana. There are so many spots that are off-the-beaten-path, but these have been some of our favorites so far.

Park Lake

©The Wild Catts - a quick snapshot of the Lake. We were too busy enjoying the lake to take many photos!

Park Lake is one of my favorite hidden Montana gems. We took some treacherous backroads to get there, climbing hills that were made for four-wheel drive and might make your mother nervous. But once we were there? Wow!

The tiny lake was perfect for paddle boarding, fishing, island exploring, catching toads, and all the outdoor activities. We spent a day lounging lakeside and swimming in the not-quite-freezing waters.

What did the kids think of the lake? Melody said,

I loved when I saw all those fish that jump and that we got to see a bald eagle. I'm glad it didn't steal Grandpa's fish!

There were a ton of small arctic greyling fish that would jump out of the water everywhere you looked. It was like they were putting on a show just for us.

This little known spot is definitely worth a day-trip. We went on a weekday and practically had the lake to ourselves.

Little Blackfoot River

©The Wild Catts - hanging out on the Little Blackfoot River right by our dispersed camping site.

We discovered this gem of a creek-style river because Andy's parents bought a beautiful property on the river. We decided to boondock just down from their property in an virtually unknown dispersed camping area right by the creek. Our kids spent their days playing in the creek water (although brrr!! It was too cold for me), and we enjoyed the gorgeous views right out our front door.

Directly down the road from us were some wooded hiking trails that lead you over little rivers and through flowered meadows. It was, in a word, idyllic.

The Clark Fork River

©The Wild Catts - the sunset from our Muchwater dispersed camping site off the Clark Fork River

While this river is widely well-known, we camped in an off-the-beaten path part of Montana at Muchwater dispersed campground on the Clark Fork River. We spent 5 lazy days floating and paddle boarding down the river and enjoying the gorgeous views from our campsite. Everyday, straight from our campsite, we jumped in the water and then floated about a mile downriver where we parked our truck to pick the crew up after we were done.

Since we only have one vehicle, Andy dropped the truck off at our pull-out spot and then bicycled back to our campsite where we all happily lazed our way downriver together.

© The Wild Catts - Andy & Melody get ready to paddle board down the Clark Fork River.

Apparently, we like rivers! But who can argue with the sound of a river trickling near your campsite?

Hungry Horse Reservoir

@The Wild Catts

Tucked off a bumpy dirt road was a hidden campground called Lid Creek that had this hidden gem of a beach tucked away on the Hungry Horse Reservoir. With small campsites, but beautiful views, this was a hidden treasure we fully enjoyed staying at. The water was so clear, that when our kids pulled out their snorkel gear, they found a dollar buried at the bottom of the lake. They dove for it and came up with their own hidden treasure. It was truly a hidden Montana gem that was a perfect four-day stop for us while we explored the nearby Glacier National Park. The benefit of this location was its proximity to Glacier National Park, but it had its own beauty to enjoy.

The only downside of this location? Power boats were a common site over the weekend. It wasn't packed, but it definitely detracted from the natural experience.

Philipsburg Bay Campground

@ The Wild Catts - Philipsburg Bay

We spent a few days camping near Philipsburg Bay and spent an evening taking photos in the smokey haze. The sunsets were gorgeous, the water was cold, the crawdads were singing (just a literary reference for all my book-ish people out there), the fish were plentiful. All around, this was one of our favorite stops in our trip through Montana.

The Wild Catts

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