Horse Packing at Lake Como Recreation Area
Lake Como is a naturally occurring lake that has been raised for irrigation purposes. They have now developed a wonderful recreation area in the surrounding land as well as the new reservoir. There is boating, hiking, biking, interpretive trails, swimming, fishing, horse packing and use as a base camp to explore the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
It’s often used as a starting point for hunting over the divide into Idaho, as it is located only about 20 miles from the state border. Due to the extensive efforts of the backcountry horseman, the trails and campsites area exquisitely maintained. The equestrian campground is the only handicap accessible horse packing area west of the Mississippi. It was built in 1993.
There are three camping areas Equestrian, RV, and Tent with varying fees. Although, fees are not charged out of season when the mountains that surround the area are filled with snow. There’s almost a dozen mountain biking and hiking trailheads in the park, varying from the Round the Lake Trail (10 miles) to short interpretative trails.
Don’t forget the long wilderness trails that are well over 100 miles long for horse packing. There are water sources everywhere in the form of spigots. But fill up prior to taking to a trail. Groups may rent the Wood’s Cabin per night. It’s spectacular, but call in advance as it fills early in the year.
There is a wonderful beach area for swimming and sun bathing. The view of the large mountains overhead is chilling and so is the water! Wildlife is abundant including bears, but things seem to be kept clean, so do the same and there should be no problem.
In season, the recreation area is a Recreation Fee Test project. All vehicles parked within the recreation area must display a valid Recreation Pass. Passes are on a day per vehicle or season pass basis. Day passes are available at Lake Como and day or season passes are available at the Darby Ranger District or with area merchants.
Below is a list of all the facilities at Lake Como:
Rock Creek Trailhead.
Little Rock Creek Trailhead.
Lake Como National Recreation Trailhead.
Beach Area – 40 vehicle parking area, toilets and dressing rooms, 14 picnic tables, garbage, swim area and beach.
Boat Launch – 30 vehicle/boat and 7 passenger vehicle parking, toilets and boat launch.
Picnic Area – 15 vehicle parking, toilets, tables, grills and fire rings.
Rock Creek Horse Camp – 11 sites, 4 pull-through sites, hitch rails and feed troughs, accessible toilets, no water available, garbage facilities. One group site with large fire ring and benches and parking for 5 vehicles.
Creekside dispersed area – group camping.
Lake Como Campground – 10 RV sites with hookups and one group RV site.
Upper Campground – 11 tent sites.
Wood’s Cabin Environmental Education Center and rental – The cabin sleeps 15 and holds up to 50 for meetings with toilets, wood stoves, and propane cook stove.
There’s a 14-day limit on stays and all sites are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Reservations can be made.
Directions: From Hamilton, Montana drive 12 miles south on Highway 93. Or, from Darby, Montana drive 4 miles north on Highway 93. Go east on Lake Como Road (well marked with a forest service sign) for 3 miles. The road directly enters the Recreation Area.