Camping On Higher Ground Near Earthquake Lake
Updated: Feb 1
When traveling throughout this area of Montana I noticed several campgrounds along the way, however something I really was looking for was a location which allowed me to be off the water a little bit. Why?? Because of the location's unique history.
This area is known as "Earthquake Lake" an area which in the 50's experienced a vicious earthquake which sent 80 million tons of rock crashing off the side of the mountainside and into what was then a passing river. In this incident it swallowed up roadways, campgrounds and cabins and completely changed the landscape which once existed. While normally I wouldn't be concerned with this, the 16 mile distance around the shoreline is lined with several information stops along the way to allow you to hear the story of that tragic day and also how it has changed the area. Kind of hard to not think of that when you are in the area.
For this reason Cabin Creek seemed to be the perfect solution, slightly away from the shoreline and across the new highway but still with access to the water should I decide to enjoy a dip or even a scenic hike along one of the many trails of the area.
The campground is quiet and though there were other campers visiting the soft bed of pine needles provided a muffling to any sound which could be present. I felt like I was the only camper there because of the silence. It was so peaceful.
Sites are large enough to easily bring an RV if you would like although most campers I noticed were tent camping or visiting in their vans. The sites are pretty standard for the area with picnic tables and fire rings in addition to bear boxes.
I found a location just beyond the entry and noticed that the area was rather flat and perfect for setting up a tent. Though there is grass around camp the sites themselves are relatively clear. There also is an abundance of small wood you can source for your campfire should you choose to indulge a bit.
I thought the price point for primitive camping was pretty fair for the area at $20 per site or doubles for $40. All sites are on the honor system and while I visited I didn't see a single ranger visiting or checking in which I thought was a little bizarre for this style of campground.
Bathrooms were pretty basic vault toilets, to be expected for this area. Pretty much no frills camping, but nice location.
Something I did really appreciate about this campsite however is that they are aware of the possibility of future quake activity and have alarms set to sound as warnings for disaster as well as posted plan of action should you experience an issue. The higher ground indicated on the post is very close and easy to access even if you are not able to do so in your car.
Check out the stops along the 16 mile stretch of highway and learn about the area, it is very fascinating. There is also a visitor center as you get to the western most entrance of the area.
Bring everything you need, there are no services and despite a few little shops along the street they are very overpriced.
USE the bear boxes!! If you are camping in this area there are frequent sightings so better safe than sorry. I also recommend bear spray.