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Father's Day-CA

Free Campground By The #1 Hike In The Bitterroot Mountains

We stayed at Blodgett Campground Montana in August

Our Previous Stop: Free Camping In The Cabinet Mountains By Lightning Creek, ID

Our Next Stop: Idaho

Campground Info

Location: 46.269530, -114.243806
Cost: Free
Camping Limit: 5 Day
Amenities: Vault Toilet, Fire Pit, Picnic Table

Related: Save 50% On Campgrounds All Over The United States With Passport America

Essentials Nearby

Town: Hamilton, MT5 miles
Gas Station: Davison’s Service Station – 6 miles (Also Refill Propane)
Dump Station & Potable Water: Black Rabbit RV Park & Storage7 miles ($7 RV Dump, $5 Potable Water, Opens at 9 am)
Grocery Store: Safeway – 6 miles

Cell Phone Service

Verizon – 1 Bar LTE
AT&T – 1 Bars LTE (AT&T Was Faster Than Verizon)

Nearby Attractions

Blodgett Canyon To Waterfall Trail – 0 miles
Missoula, MT – 51 miles
Darby, MT – 21 miles
Salmon, ID – 97 miles
Flathead Lake, MT – 119 miles
Glacier National Park, MT – 187 miles
Yellowstone National Park – 285 miles
Lake Pend Oreille, ID – 209 miles

Campsite 5 at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.
Campsite 5 at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.

Camping At The Blodgett Campground In The Bitterroot National Forest

The Blodgett Campground is next to a popular trailhead in Blodgett Canyon near Hamilton, Montana.

To get to the campground/trailhead, drive down Blodgett Camp Road. It goes through some neighborhoods and is paved most of the way.

About 2 miles from the campground, the road will turn a sharp corner and become a dirt road. The first 500 feet of the dirt road is terrible washboard, it’s unbelievably bad.

Related Product: Use a wireless Tire Pressure Monitoring System (click to view on Amazon) to monitor the pressure in your trailer’s tires while driving and be warned of flats. 

If you are towing a trailer, you will want to go very slow for this first part. The road gets better though.

You drive past some houses for about a half mile before reaching a sign that points left for the Blodgett Overlook Trail 3 and right for the Blodgett Campground 1 1/2, go right.

When you get to the end of the road, the first thing you will come to is the large parking area for the trail.

There is a lot of parking, mainly because there are horses allowed on the trail, so they need space for the horse trailers.

If you can’t find a campsite in the campground, you can camp in the dirt part of the parking lot. This happened to us when we arrived at Blodgett Campground.

The campground was full, so we set up shop out of the way along the side of the parking area. There was still plenty of room for other campers or horse trailers, and it actually wasn’t a bad place to camp.

We spent the night out there until the next day when the camp host came out and told us a site had opened up if we wanted it. If not, we were welcome to stay in the parking lot.

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Camping in the parking lot outside of Blodgett Campground near Hamilton Montana.
Camping in the parking lot outside of Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.

Because there is a 5-day limit and the camp host, chances are someone will be about to leave when you arrive at Blodgett Campground.

If you talk to the host, he will likely tell you what camper is about to leave and help you get a campsite.

There is a vault toilet in the parking lot, so if you are a tent or van camper, you will still have all the amenities you will need even if you aren’t in the campground.

The paved part of the parking lot near Blodgett Canyon Trailhead. You are asked to park trailer in the non paved area.
The paved part of the parking lot near Blodgett Canyon Trailhead. You are asked to park trailers in the non-paved area.

Blodgett Campground is the other side of Blodgett creek and you will cross a bridge to get to it right after the large parking lot.

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Blodgett Creek near Blodgett Campground Montana.
Blodgett Creek near Blodgett Campground Montana.

The campsites are situated in a loop, and you will drive to the right first.

On your right is the campground information sign, which tells you there is a 5-day camping limit, asks you to fill out a registration form, and warns you of bears in the area.

Camping info sign at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.
Camping info sign at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.

Behind the sign is a small parking lot that has a day-use area and a space to park for a tent campsite that you walk about 20 feet into the forest to get to.

When we got there, some van campers had taken that spot, but when we left, we saw a tent in the forest. That’s how we found out about that campsite.

If you are a tent camper, don’t forget to check to see if that site is open.

The vault toilet is near that parking area as well.

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The loop is fairly small and the 4 RV campsites are inside of it. That means you are fairly close to other campers, but there are plenty of trees for privacy from other campers.

The host’s campsite is the only site on the outside of the loop. It’s near campsite number 4.

Campsite number 4 near the camp host site at Blodgett Campground.
Campsite number 4 near the camp host site at Blodgett Campground.

There is a sign before you drive into the campground that says it’s not recommended for trailers and RVs over 22 feet, but we found this to be untrue.

There was plenty of room in every RV campsite for our 32-foot travel trailer and truck.

I think you could even fit a large Class A or 5th-wheel in there pretty easily. Just be careful when driving around the loop because it is pretty narrow and has some overhanging trees.

Campsite number 2 at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.
Campsite number 2 at Blodgett Campground near Hamilton, Montana.

Two of the campsites are handicap accessible but also ok for people without handicap access to use.

As you can see, most of the campsites are paved. The only one that isn’t is campsite number 5, which is the one we got.

The site was still fairly level though, and we didn’t mind the hard-packed gravel site at all.

The nice thing about everything being paved is there is no dust being kicked up from the vehicles passing by.

Every campsite has a nice picnic table and a fire pit.

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You don’t get a ton of light during the day, but there was enough for us to keep our batteries charged using our solar panels.

There’s no water in the campground, but the creek is clean and clear, and some people were gathering water to do dishes at their campsite.

The only generator that was run during our stay was by the camp host, but you may have other campers running generators during your stay.

There are quiet hours, and no one should be running any generators at night.

My Review Of Blodgett Campground

Even though it’s always full and difficult to get a campsite, the Blodgett Campground is fantastic.

It’s in a gorgeous area with lots of beautiful mountains, creeks, and trees all around you and the drive to town is not far or difficult.

The trailhead is for two hikes, one is an 8 mile there and back hike to the waterfall via Blodgett Canyon (click to view on Alltrails), this is the hike that is the number one hike in the Bitterroot National Forest.

The other hike is to a lake that follows the same trail as the waterfall hike. It’s much further, 12 miles one way. This is a popular backpacking hike (click to view on Alltrails).

We did the hike to the waterfall, and it was incredible.

It is a fairly difficult hike because of the rocky narrow trail, but you get to see two mountain waterfalls and you are hiking in the gorgeous Blodgett Canyon the entire way, which offers some fantastic views of the Bitterroot Mountains and Blodgett Creek.

We highly recommend this hike if you are a fairly good hiker. If you’ve never hiked before it may be difficult, but even if you only hike a few miles, there are still some fantastic views.

View from bridge a few miles in to the Blodgett Canyon Waterfall hike in Montana.
View from bridge a few miles in to the Blodgett Canyon Waterfall hike in Montana.

I highly recommend staying at the Blodgett Campground. It’s crazy that it’s free, as it offers the same amenities as most National Forest campgrounds that you normally have to pay for.

It’s a great place for kids because they can ride bikes around the loop and the creek is beautiful and fun to explore.

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You get a little cell phone service in the campground, but not a lot. If you head a mile down the dirt road you came in on the service gets better.

Have questions about camping at Blodgett Campground? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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