Gallatin National Forest


Gallatin National Forest
A view in Gallatin National Forest
Cave Lake in the Crazy Mountains

Gallatin National Forest is comprised of 2.1 million acres spanning 6 mountain ranges and includes parts of 2 designated National Wilderness Areas: the Lee Metcalf and the Absaroka-Beartooth in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Gallatin National Forest was established in 1899 as part of the largest intact ecosystem in the 48 contiguous states. These snow-capped mountain peaks and blue-ribbon trout streams are just part of the whole, because this is also prime habitat for gray wolf, bald eagle, Canada lynx, grizzly bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, elk, mountain lion, black bear, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bison, coyote, and wolverine.

As usual in a western National Forest, a significant portion of the property is covered with native grasses and sagebrush. Higher elevations support populations of Douglas fir, aspen, cottonwood and several species of spruce. The Gallatin National Forest has more than 4,000 miles of streams and rivers, making this area one of the preeminent fly-fishing regions in the world. Among those flowing waters are several major tributaries of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. The forest also contains more than 700 high mountain lakes and reservoirs.

There are also more than 2,290 miles of trails in the Gallatin National Forest. Many of these trails provide access to the wilderness areas and interlink with trails in Yellowstone National Park. Gallatin offers nearly 40 developed campgrounds, plus numerous picnic areas and rentable Forest Service cabins.

The landslide that created Quake Lake
Aerial view of the 1959 landslide that created Quake Lake

Quake Lake on the Madison River was formed by an earthquake and landslide in 1959. The earthquake killed 28 people and the landslide created a lake 6 miles long and 190 feet deep. Measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, that earthquake dropped the bottom of Hebgen Lake some 20' while it raised fault scarps 20' high near the lake. Another 32,000 acres of land near Hebgen Lake subsided at least 10'. Most of the people who died were camping along the shores at Hebgen Lake and they died when the waters of the lake shifted violently. Aftershocks registering up to 6.5 went on for months afterward. The dam itself was washed over by the heaving waters and developed some serious cracks. The Army Corps of Engineers mobilized quickly and patched the dam before there were any problems. Then they acted to create a spillway for Quake Lake before the rapidly rising waters could blow out that natural dam and cause more problems downstream.

A distant view of mountains across Fairy Lake
Fairy Lake
One of the mountains in view at Half Moon Trailhead
The view at Half Moon Trailhead
 
Photo of the landslide at Quake Lake courtesy of the USGS
Other photos courtesy of the US Forest Service
 

Campgrounds & Picnic Areas

Campgrounds & Picnic Areas Amenities
Aspen Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Baker's Hole Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedElectrical Hookups
Battle Ridge Campground Tent CampingDrinking Water
Battle Ridge Picnic Area PicnickingDrinking Water
Bear Creek Campground Tent Camping
Beaver Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowed
Big Beaver Campground Handicapped AccessibleTent Camping
Big Timber Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Blackmore Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Cabin Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowed
Canyon Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent Camping
Cherry Creek Campground Tent Camping
Chief Joseph Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash Pickup
Chippy Park Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Chisholm Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Cinnabar Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Clarks Fork Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingTrash Pickup
Colter Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash Pickup
Eagle Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingStock Facilities
East Boulder Campground Tent Camping
Fairy Lake Campground Handicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Falls Creek Campground Handicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Greek Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Halfmoon Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Halfmoon Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking Water
Hell's Canyon Campground Tent Camping
Hick's Park Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking Water
Hood Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Hood Creek Group Campground / Picnic Area Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingPicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
La Duke Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Langohr Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Langohr Group Picnic Area Fee SiteHandicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Lonesomehurst Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedElectrical Hookups
Moose Creek Flat Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent Camping \Drinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Moose Creek Flat Picnic Area Fee SiteHandicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupReservable
Moose Creek Group Site Fee SiteTent CampingTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Natural Bridge Falls Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking Water
Palisade Falls Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Pine Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Pine Creek Group Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Pine Creek Picnic Area Fee SiteHandicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Quake Lake Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking Water
Rainbow Point Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedElectrical HookupsReservable
Rainbow Point Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowed
Red Cliff Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedElectrical HookupsReservable
Red Cliff Group Campground Fee SiteTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Red Cliff Picnic Area Fee SitePicnickingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Shields River Dispersed Site Tent CampingStock Facilities
Shipping Corrals Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Snowbank Campground Fee SiteTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Snowbank Group Campground Fee SiteTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Soda Butte Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash Pickup
Spanish Creek Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnickingDrinking Water
Sphinx Creek Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Spire Rock Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Spire Rock Group Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Spring Creek Campground Handicapped AccessibleTent Camping
Spruce Creek Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking
Swan Creek Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterTrash PickupCampfires allowedReservable
Timber Camp Campground Tent Camping
Tom Miner Campground Fee SiteHandicapped AccessibleTent CampingDrinking WaterStock Facilities
West Boulder Campground Fee SiteTent CampingDrinking Water
Yankee Jim Picnic Area Handicapped AccessiblePicnicking