Holland Lake Campground – My Favorite Place Ever…
Holland Lake Campground in the Flathead National Forest is by far one of the most beautiful places on earth (click here to make reservations). If you are reading this post, consider yourself lucky that you are about to learn about one of the secret gems of Montana. The campground is tucked away in the Swan Valley which is east of Flathead Lake and south of Bigfork, MT on Highway 83.
If you are planning a visit to Montana or if you are local and are looking for a great place to camp and hike, Holland Lake Campground and recreation area needs to be on your bucket list. I am a 39-year-old Montana native and regret not having camped and hiked here until this year. Below is a breakdown of the campground and the different hikes you can take while visiting.
Once you arrive at the campground, you will know that you have arrived in a little piece of heaven. We really enjoyed our stay and stayed in the Larch Loop which was nice and quiet, however, the campsites in this loop were set away from the lake so you will have to walk a little to get to the lake.
If you want to be right on the lake, you will need to be in the lower loop where the camp host is. The upper loop which we were in was a little more primitive but it still had fresh water and nice bathrooms. The sites were clean and flat so leveling your camper or RV will be relatively easy. Another advantage to the upper loop is that it is close to the public access which is where the designated swimming and picnic area is. The lower loop is closer to the dumping station and the trailhead. The bathrooms are also upgraded in that they have running water and flushing toilets.
Day 1 – Holland Lake Waterfall
On our first day, we hiked up to the waterfall that you can see from the far end of the lake when your pull into the campground. It is one of the coolest waterfalls I have seen in a long time simply because of its geographical location and its pure massiveness. There is nothing like a massive waterfall tucked away in the mountains of Montana. One thing to keep in mind is that the waterfall is most active when visited in June due to the snow melt and large amounts of run-off coming down the mountains. The trail was fairly easy and could easily be done by a family even with small children. If your children are under 3, you might want to consider a toddler backpack carrier for safety reasons. Once you get to the waterfall the trail dead ends and becomes dangerous with jagged rocks protruding from the base of the waterfall. This is where you have to keep an eye on the littles. Overall, you will not be disappointed with this hike.
Day 2 – Upper Holland Lake and the Foot Bridge
This hike was my favorite out of the two hikes simply for the panoramic views of the Swan Valley and surrounding mountains. The trail all the way to Upper Holland Lake is about 7 miles which are quite the trek, however, we hiked to the foot bridge junction where the river that feeds the waterfall runs through.
That hike was about 3 miles in and 3 miles out for a total of 6 miles. There is a lot to see and the views are phenomenal. The first 2 miles of the hike is a little tough as they are mostly uphill and through the woods, however, stay strong and get past the first small creek because that is when the views become amazing.
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