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6 Best Free Campsites in Montana

6 Best Free Campsites in Montana

Montana is one of the largest states in size and one of the least populated at just over one million people. It’s no wonder Montana is known as Big Sky Country. This combination also means free campsites in Montana are plentiful!

Home to Glacier National Park, her beauty will entice you.

With thousands of acres of land available for free camping in Montana, the state is an RVer’s paradise. In fact, Montana’s camping is second to none!

Today we’re sharing the 7 best free campsites in Montana. Some of these spots are true hidden gems.

As with many free campsites, be aware that road conditions can change at any moment and can be rough or narrow. Sites can be quite limited in size – scout out the area before driving your RV to the spot.

You should expect limited (if any) amenities, so be prepared to bring your adventurous spirit while staying at these free campsites in Montana.

Let’s dive in!

1912 Montana Map from HWY VINTAGE

#1 Romsett Beach near West Yellowstone

Located on the shores of Hebgen Lake in the southwest corner of Montana (mere miles away from Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance), the location is ideal. Fair warning, though, there are only three sites available.

The road leading in can be quite rough and max size reported here is about 33 feet for an RV. 

There is a day-use area nearby, so you may experience some traffic; however, camping right next to a lake in Montana for free is nothing to complain about. With adequate cell service, ranger service coming through daily, and a three-night maximum stay, safety here also seems to be a priority.

GPS coordinates: 44.7439, -111.2467

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 8.3/10

#2 Red Shale Campground in Custer Nat’l Forest

Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and located just over 100 miles east of Billings, Red Shale Campground offers a serene campsite within the Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Max sites are made for vehicles less than 30 feet. This free site has vault toilets, forest access roads, and is even a geocaching site.

Although it is a U.S. Forest Service campground, there are no fees and no reservations.

The campsite is only open mid-April through November. It can fill up quickly during holidays and summer months.

GPS coordinates: 45.5725, -106.1477778

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 7.9/10

#3 Rock Creek Dispersed in Custer Nat’l Forest

Located in south-central Montana, about five miles from Red Lodge, this free campsite offers a great place to stay right next to the river.  There are many places to camp along this road, and while there is not much for cell service here, the town of Red Lodge nearby offers all the amenities you may need, including a dumpsite.

We recommend traveling with an RV cell booster for better signal.

While the road in is a bit bumpy and gets smaller the further down you drive, there are plenty of turn around spots. Located in Custer National Forest at around 7300 feet, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of Montana’s forests and mountains with plenty of space to explore.

GPS coordinates: 45.0465, -109.4247

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 9.1/10

#4 Middle Fork Flathead River – Near Glacier NP

Less than 10 miles from Glacier National Park, 30 miles from Whitefish, and located right on the river, this free campsite is quite the gem…if you have the clearance and some patience.

With a rough drive coming in, quite the few bumps and soft, spotty cell service, and not the most ideal spot for big rigs, this may not be the spot for you. But if you can get in here, the views camping right next to the river offer a piece of Montana’s big blue sky.

Depending on the time of year, the road in may also be muddy or underwater due to snow melt. While there are a great many places to camp here, it may be a challenge getting here. 

Do your research ahead of time, and as usual, when searching for free campsites in Montana or anywhere, be patient and flexible.

GPS coordinates: 48.4641, -114.0726

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 10/10

Pro Tip: Check out this article if you’re looking for things to do in Glacier National Park.

#5 McGinnis Creek Dispersed – Near Glacier NP

Located in Flathead National Forest in between Glacier National Park and Whitefish, this free site, while limited to small rigs and tents, is just off the road.

The site is secluded, and even has hiking trail access at the end of the road.

There are only three spots, but there is cell service here!

If you are willing to drive further in, you may be able to access an additional spot. There are several pullouts that could be used for camping, just be aware of the dust from passing vehicles. As mentioned, there is a trailhead here, Standard Peak, meaning there can be many vehicles driving up and down this road.

GPS coordinates: 48.5148, -114.1477

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 6.9/10

#6 Beaverhead Campground at Clark Canyon Reservoir

Located in the southwest corner of Montana, just under 100 miles south of Butte, this free campsite in Montana is right off of I-15 and on the shores of Clark Canyon Reservoir.

Offering easy access to big and small rigs alike, this spot offers both the beauty of nature and even some amenities of a campground.

Many of the sites have pavilions and all of them have picnic tables and fire pits.  There are also vault toilets, a hand pump for freshwater, and trash cans throughout the entire site. While the reservoir is cold, it is perfect for a swim or a paddle, and offers gorgeous views.

It seems you may get the best of both worlds at this free campsite, including cell service.

GPS coordinates: 44.9965, -112.855

Montana Camping Vibe Score: 7.3/10

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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  1. Flashlight says:

    Does anyone know where are the best places to camp in the winter time traveling west from Ohio to Idaho on a 3 to 5 day traveling time. I would greatly appreciate any information. Thank you in advance.

  2. Flashlite says:

    Flashlight here again because I forgot to add the time I will be traveling west this winter and it will be in January 3rd through the 19th.