CUSTER NATIONAL FOREST
1,112,477 acres in Montana. Custer National Forest has a number of tracts in southern Montana, and also administers National Grasslands in North Dakota and South Dakota. Included are the Beartooth Mountains, with 16 peaks over 12,000 feet.
Granite Peak (12,799 feet), Montana’s highest mountain, is here. There are also pinnacles, high plateaus, glaciers, and canyons, with alpine tundra, spruce and fir forests, and many lakes and streams. Elk, deer, black bear, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion are among the wildlife.
Within this National Forest is one designated wilderness area, consisting of about 346,000 acres of the 945,000-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the state’s second largest. Portions are located in two other National Forests.
Activities: There are about 330 miles of established trails for backpacking and hiking. Difficulty varies from easy to very strenuous. Horses are allowed on most trails. Mountain biking is allowed outside of the designated wilderness area.
White-water kayaking and some canoeing are possible on the Stillwater River. Cross-country skiing is available on trails here in winter. Hunting and fishing are permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping and campfires are allowed throughout most of the forest, except where otherwise prohibited. In some canyons camping is restricted to designated sites. No permits are required.
For Further Information: Custer National Forest, 2602 First Avenue North, P.O. Box 2556, Billings, MT 59103; (406)657-6361.