OUTDOORS: 10 local spots to camp

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Sweet Grass County comes to life in the summertime. 

Shops are filled with vacationers searching for that perfect souvenir, and groups descend on local eateries, transforming the oft quiet downtown into a bustle of activity.  

Campgrounds, too, reap the rewards of the summer season. 

There are nearly 20 locations to pitch a tent in Sweet Grass County, and each spot comes with its own set of amenities. Whether one is seeking a weekend getaway in the quiet of the forest or a more social atmosphere at an RV-friendly spot, Sweet Grass County has it all. 

For campers looking for a treed area without the drive, Grey Bear Fishing Access is an ideal spot. At only 6.8 miles outside of town and $12 per night, this campground is both inexpensive and easily accessible. For those with fishing licenses, the per night fee is just $7. 

Camper Jamie Ralston, formerly of Big Timber, said the scenery at Grey Bear is what drew her in.

“When we lived here, we would come here fishing and just walk the trails because it’s beautiful,” Ralston said. “You get the sense of being way way out but with just a short drive to local amenities.”

She also touted the cleanliness of the campground, noting that the majority of fellow campers were very respectful and kept the area tidy. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks does their part too, Ralston said. 

“I’ve seen them clean it twice since we’ve been here, and we’ve been here for four days,” she said. “FWP does a wonderful job keeping it clean.” 

Logan Todd, of the Sweet Grass County Recreation Association, recommended Big Fork Fishing Access for its small size and proximity to great fishing along the lower Boulder River. 

Halfmoon Campground is another locale that’s popular among visitors and locals alike. Seated 52 minutes from town in the Crazy Mountains, Halfmoon provides campers with easy access to a myriad of hiking trails and is just a short walk from Big Timber Falls. 

“The Crazies are really cool, and there’s a waterfall that you can hike to that’s a reasonable distance,” Todd said. “That is its No. 1 draw, because it’s not like a killer hike.” 

The Boulder River provides a plethora of camping opportunities as well, with a total of nine different sites, anywhere from 2.5 to 46 miles from Big Timber. 

If seclusion is what you’re after, take a drive up Main Boulder Road to either Aspen, Chippy Park or Hick’s Park campgrounds. All three sites have fewer than 20 camping spots, but offer easy access to the Boulder River and beautiful scenery. 

Colt Schieffert, an employee at The Fort, recommends Aspen Campground, located 33.5 miles up the Boulder. 

“I just like it because the trees separate all the camp spots,” Schieffert said. “You’re not camping right on somebody else. It’s right on the river.” 

He noted that Chippy Park was a nice spot as well, with the caveat being its small size.

To read the full story, pick up the June 16 edition of the Pioneer or subscribe to our e-edition. Current subscribers are provided complimentary access to the e-edition with registration.

Story and photos by by Mackenzie Reiss / Pioneer Staff Writer

CUTLINE: Camper Jamie Ralston, formerly of Big Timber, at Grey Bear Fishing Access June 10.