Lochsa River Montana Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

Bitterroot Valley Montana
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Lochsa River

Pronounced "Lock-saw", the Lochsa River runs west from Lolo Pass. This lush river reminds many of a northwest rainforest and features fantastic whitewater rafting.

What can I do and see along the Lochsa River?

  • Whitewater Rafting: With no dams, this free-flowing river is known as one of the best stretches of whitewater in late spring (roughly mid May to mid June). Over roughly 70 miles, the river drops 2,000 feet making for some very exciting whitewater. As the road follows the river, day trips are frequent and easy to join.
  • Camping: Two National Forest campgrounds offer camping right along the Lochsa River. Try Knife Edge Campground or Powell Campground.
  • Scenic Drive: The Lochsa River Scenic Byway is Highway 12, which joins the town of Lolo, Montana to Kooskia, Idaho and eventually eastern Washington. The scenic road follows the Lochsa River offering superb views of the river canyon.
  • Hiking: Follow the Hot Springs Lookout Trail to Hot Springs Point for fantastic views. Start at the Warm Springs Trail (which leads to the Jerry Johnson Hot Springs). The trail splits and you can continue on to the lookout and then soak in the springs on your way back down.
  • Jerry Johnson Hot Springs: This may be the most popular attraction along the Lochsa. A short hike from the road leads to a series of wonderfully warm springs.

Where is the Lochsa River?

The Lochsa begins high in the Bitterroot Mountains near the Powell Ranger Station in Idaho, about 45 miles west of the town of Lolo, Montana. The Lochsa flows west from Powell for 70 miles until it joins the Selway River to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. Highway 12 follows the river the entire way.