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.

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