The Lolo National Forest encompasses 2 million acres surrounding Missoula and includes portions of the Selway/Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, Welcome Creek, and Scapegoat wilderness areas.
Flora and fauna include 1,500 plant species, 60 species of mammals (including grizzly, black bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, elk, moose and mule deer), 20 varieties of fish, and 300 species of birds (including bald and golden eagles, trumpeter swan, herons, and 30 kinds of duck).
About 700 miles of hiking trails, a dozen developed campgrounds, and a dozen more backcountry cabin and fire lookout rentals provide access the forest's more than 100 named lakes and five rivers, including the Flathead. Eight cross-country ski and four snowmobile areas open the forest to winter recreationists. Mountain bikers and road cyclists both are accommodated, and as are ATVers. The Savenac Historic Tree Nursery, founded in 1907, now hosts a visitor center, cabin camping, and arboretum.
Centered around the population center of Missoula, home of forest headquarters, the Lolo sees heavy use. Happily, there's enough to see and do that visitors don't have to see it as well.
The Blackfeet call it the backbone of the world. White explorers dubbed it the crown of the continent. Now named for the spectacular, glacially carved topography and remnant ice clinging to the high-elevations, Glacier National Park encompasses over 1 million acres of rugged alpine terrain.
The park is widely regarded as one of the best hiking and backpacking destinations in the United States, but most people stick closely to the 50-mile long Going-to-the-Sun road, which transects the park from West Glacier to St. Mary, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Popular day hiking destinations for first-time visitors include Avalanche Lake, Haystack Butte, Hidden Pass, and Grinnell Lake. But you don't have to look very hard to find countless possibilities for adventure. Be advised that Glacier National Park is grizzly bear country, and all the familiar cautionary notes apply.
In 1932 Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, across the border in Canada, were designated Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, celebrating the longstanding peace and friendship between the two neighboring countries. Both parks have since been designated as an International Biosphere Reserves and together were recognized in 1995 as a World Heritage Site.