Kootenai National Forest
Cabinet Wilderness Area
Cabinet View Golf Course
Fire Lookouts
Heritage Museum
Kootenai Falls
Kootenai River
Lake Koocanusa
Libby Creek Gold Panning Area
Libby Dam
Northwest Peaks
Ross Creek Cedars
Scenic ByWay-Lake Kooccanusa
Ten Lakes Scenic Area
Turner Mtn Ski Area
Yaak Falls
Recreational Area MapThe Libby area is offers over 2 million acres of public lands for the outdoor recreationist. The Kootenai National Forest has hundreds of miles of hiking trails and many scenic places to camp with wildflowers and huckleberries nearby. High mountain lakes, miles of streams, and the Kootenai River beckon the angler. 90-mile long Lake Koocanusa is a major attraction to boaters and lake fishermen. 

The area has good hunting for deer, elk, moose, bear and mountain sheep with many local Outfitters & Guides available for out-of-state hunters. We have a small downhill ski area with T-bar, and miles of backcountry roads for X-Country skiing and snowmobiling. Whatever the season, there's plenty of things to do here!

Kootenai National Forest (Click here for more information)
The Kootenai National Forest contains 2.2 million acres of mountains and forest for public land for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, wildlife viewing and more. The Kootenai Forest is dominated by two major rivers: the Kootenai and Clark Fork, along with several smaller rivers and their tributaries. The Yaak, Fisher, Tobacco, Bull, and Vermillion Rivers are smaller rivers within the confines of the Forest. There are 141 lakes located within the Forest boundaries that range from small alpine lakes to 1,240-acre Bull Lake. The Forest has over 1,400 miles of hiking trails, 40 developed campgrounds and many miles of backcountry roads for the visitor. In the winter there are over 70 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and many more miles of ungroomed and offtrail riding for snowmachiners and X-Country skiers.

Recreational Chart
Recreational Sites 
(click on picture for larger image)

Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area (Click here for more information)
The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness contains 94,360 acres of rugged terrain as the scenic backdrop for Libby, Montana. This beautiful mountain range has peaks as high as 8,712 feet. The high mountain trails & lakes are a backpacker's and fisherman's delight. The range stretches approximately 80 miles north and south and about 10 miles wide. The Libby valley lies on the eastern slope and the Bull Lake valley to the west. Motorized vehicles and motorized equipment are not allowed within the wilderness boundary. The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Kootenai National Forest, which is based out of Libby. Hikers and overnight campers should first check in with the Forest Service to get current information on any advisories or special conditions for the area in which they plan to visit. Since weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, wilderness visitors should come prepared for good as well as wet & cold weather. Mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and water purification equipment should also be carried. 

Cabinet Mountains

Cabinet View Golf Course (Click here for More Info)
This 9-hole course is located on a hill above Libby and has beautiful views of the Cabinet Mountains. Wildlife is frequently seen nearby. Golfing enthusiasts will find a driving range, club house, practice green and pro-shop. There is a Men's, Ladies and Junior Leaque available, and major tournaments are held throughtout the summer, May - October. Cart and Club rentals are available. The Course is located at 378 Cabinet View Road, 406-293-7332.Lookout Tower near Libby

Fire Lookouts (Click here for More Info)
Lookout towers and cabins were used by the Forest Service to spot forest fires and as remote work stations. Some lookout towers and cabins are still in use today and manned during the forest fire season. Others have been phased out of the system due to better coverage by airplane and other methods to spot new fires.  Some of these facilities are now available to rent by the public. The Kootenai National Forest has four lookout cabins and three lookout towers available for public rental. These are ideal for visitors seeking remote stays in the forest in a unique back country facility. These facilities are rustic and primitive in nature, and not all are accessible by vehicle, so visitors must be physically fit.

The Heritage Museum in LibbyHeritage Museum (Click here for more information)
Located less than a mile south of Libby on Hwy 2, the Heritage Museum has exhibits on Native Americans, lumbermen, trappers and early area pioneers. The 12-sided building was opened in 1978 and manned by volunteers interested in preserving the area's colorful past. Inside there are cultural and natural history exhibits. Wildlife displays include a silver-tipped grizzly bear. The Museum is open during the summer season only. 
The Swinging Bridge near Kootenai Falls on the Kootenai River
Kootenai Falls (Click here for more information)
Downstream from Libby, the river enters a canyon and flows over Kootenai Falls, one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls in the northwest. Kootenai Falls was the setting for the movie "River Wild" filmed in 1993. Kootenai Falls on the Kootenai River, adjacent to U.S. Highway 2 between Libby and Troy, is a major scenic attraction. The placid river which carries water volumes ranging from 3,500 cfs to 30,000 cfs, suddenly gathers momentum, surging first through China Rapids and then over Kootenai Falls, dropping 90 feet in less than a mile. The main falls is 30 feet high. The falls is accessed by a foot trail from the parking area next to the highway. The trail goes over a special pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks, then winds down to the Swinging bridge which overlooks the falls. A picnic area is located just off the parking lot at the beginning of the trail. 

Kootenai River (Click here for more information)
This blue-ribbon fishing stream has trout and many other species of fish including white sturgeon which can live to be 80 years old and over 6 feet in length. The river's water flows from Canada into Lake Koocanusa, its waters held back in a 90-mile reservoir by the Libby Dam 20 northeast of Libby. The Kootenai River with view of the Cabinet Mountainstown of Libby is nestled in the Libby Valley along the shores of the Kootenai River. Past Kootenai Falls, the river flows past the town of Troy, and then heads back into Canada, reentering the United States in Washington, where it flows into the Columbia River and on to the Pacific Ocean. This river is popular for fishing, river floating, rafting, and even summer inner-tubing. Water levels can fluctuate during the summer depending on the volume released by the US Army Corps of Engineers from Libby Dam.

Lake Koocanusa (Click here for more information)
This 90-mile long reservoir behind Libby Dam is a recreational delight. 50 miles of this reservoir lie in the United States and the other 40 are in Canada. The name is a combination of KOOtenai-CANada-USA, the winning entry of a lake-naming contest as part of the Libby Dam construction project in the 1970s. The roads on either side of the lake make a wonderful driving loop with beautiful views of both sides of the lake. This loop through the forest along State Hwy 37 and the Forest Development Road (FDR) 228 was designated a Scenic ByWay in 1992. There are many turnouts along the roads with great views of the lakes. Campgrounds and boat docks are located on both sides of the lake, accommodating both tent and RV campers. Bring your camera, because wildlife is often seen along these roads. Deer, moose, elk and bear are often seen along the sides of the road. The Ural-Tweed bighorn sheep herd are often seen on the eastern side of the reservoir on the rocky cliffs (and sometimes beside the road). 

The Libby Dam site has a day use area and a boat dock. Tours of the dam are given during the summer. Those wishing to use boat facilites at the marinas early in the spring should call ahead to the US Army Corps of Engineers to check the water level of the lake, which is often lowered to make room for spring snow melt-off.Panning for gold on Libby Creek

Libby Creek Gold Panning Area (Click here for More Info)
The Libby Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area is located 23 miles south of Libby, Montana, within the Kootenai National Forest. The public is allowed to pan for gold within this area and any gold you happen to find is yours to keep. Some rules do apply, but this is a great recreational opportunity for the whole family. 

Libby Dam (Click here for More Info)
The Libby Dam was completed in 1972 as a joint project between the United States and Canada in an Libby Dam on the Kootenai Rivereffort to provide flood protection and to generate hydroelectric power. The 422 foot tall Libby Dam holds back 90 miles of water in the Lake Koocanusa reservoir. 48 miles of the reservoir lie within U.S. borders, the other 42 miles are in Canada. Lake Koocanusa area offers many recreational opportunities for fishing and boating. There are campgrounds, picnic facilities, marinas and hiking trails in many places along both sides of the reservoir. 

Northwest Peaks Scenic Area (Click here for More Info)
19,100 acre Northwest Peaks Scenic Area, part of the Kootenai National Forest, is located in the northwest corner of Montana close to both the Canadian and Idaho borders. The Northwest Peak Trail Northwest Peaks Scenic Areaoffers scenic views of the upper West Fork Yaak River drainage and a panoramic view of the surrounding area at its crest with primitive recreational opportunities. Part of the Selkirk Range, the area contains alpine forests, lakes and rocky mountain peaks with elevations that reach to heights of more than 7,700 feet. The Forest Service cautions that the trail and unpredictable weather at high elevations limit access during early and late season. 

Ross Creek Cedars (Click here for More Info)
This old grove of western red cedar trees is located not far from Bull Lake, in a valley on the western side of the Cabinet Mountains. These tall trees loom some 175 feet above Ross Creek. Local loggers discovered the grove and then worked to protect it. In 1960 the U.S. Forest Service set aside the Ross Creek Cedar Grove and it is now designated a scenic area. Today there is an informative nature trail through the grove with interpretive signs about ecology and the area's history. Near the trailhead are handicapped accessible toilets and a picnic area. The self-guided walk through the grove takes approximately an hour and a half. The turn-off to Ross Creek Cedars is 1/2 mile past the south end of Bull Lake on Montana Hwy. 56 (Bull Lake Road). 

Scenic ByWay-Lake Koocanusa 
The 67-mile long Lake Koocanusa Scenic ByWay follows the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa along State Highway 37 connecting Libby and Eureka. This road is open year-round offering vistas of the river and lake. The ByWay also includes a side loop along FDR Road No 228 around the west side of the lake. This is a leisurely, two-lane, paved road that is closed in the winter. The scenic ByWay highlights the southern half of Koocanusa Reservoir. Wildlife is frequently seen along the way, especially in the morning and evening hours. Deer, moose, elk, bear, eagles and osprey live in the forest along the way. Rock outcrops and ledges along the road provide habitat for bighorn sheep. Visitors can stop by the Libby Dam and take in a tour, or picnic in one of the numerous primitive sites or campgrounds along the way. 

Ten Lakes Scenic Area (Click here for More Info)
Ten Lakes Scenic Area is one of the original nine areas designated for special wilderness evaluation under the Montana Wilderness Study Act. With the Canadian border as one of its boundaries, the Ten Lakes Scenic Area is located along the northeastern edge of the Kootenai National Forest dominated by a high ridge of the Whitefish Mountains. Long ago, alpine glaciers shaped much of this country. This 15,700 acre rugged wilderness area is dominated by deep carved valleys and high rim-rocked basins with numerous lakes. Mountains in the wilderness area rise to an elevation of more than 7,800 feet. Forested areas contain Englemann spruce, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, white bark pine and alpine larch. Wildflowers are abundant in spring and summer, and ripe huckleberries are backpacker's delight. Several trails criss-cross the area and are accessed from Highway 93 via various Forest roads. 

Turner Mountain Ski Area (Click here for More Info)
22 miles from Libby up the Pipe Creek Road, Turner Mountain Ski Area offers downhill skiing with 2,400 feet of vertical rise. Turner sits at 5,952 feet elevation and operates with a 5,600 foot Double Chairlift. Facilities include: Day Lodge with Snack Bar, Ski Rentals. Ski Patrol on duty. Open Friday through Sunday, Holidays, daily Christmas to New Years. Also available by reservation.

Wildflowers are abundant around LibbyWildflowers
Wildflowers bloom throughout the summer and include lupine, arrowleaf balsamroot, beargrass, violets, trillium, columbine, Indian paintbrush, fairy slipper orchids, sego lilly, buttercups, phlox, harebell and many others. See our photo gallery for pictures!

The area is home to many species of wildlife including whitetail and mule deer, elk, moose, black & grizzly bear and mountain lion. The large Clark Fork elk herd on the Cabinet District of the Kootenai Forest has obtained statewide prominence. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep live in on the rocky cliffs of the Wilderness areas, Kootenai River Gorge and Lake Koocanusa drainages.

Yaak FallsYaak Falls
Located between Troy and Yaak, Montana, these scenic falls cascade in a beautiful narrow mountain valley, a photographer's delight. The sparsely populated Yaak area is rich in history and offers many recreational opportunities away from the crowds. A scenic turnout allows easy viewing of the falls.

More Area Attractions Information from KooteNet

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Photo of Northwest Peaks Scenic Area by Rick Kerr II.
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