West Side of Hungry Horse Reservoir Opens to Public

The west side road is now open to the public as far as the Spotted Bear Ranger Station for the first time since wildfire activity closed its access in early August; roads in the Doris Point and Ridge fire areas remain closed

By Maggie Dresser
Hungry Horse Reservoir as viewed from the slopes of Doris Mountain on June 28, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Flathead National Forest officials announced Friday that the west side road of the Hungry Horse Reservoir to the Spotted Bear Ranger Station is now open to the public, according to a news release.

Campgrounds remain open with hosts, but water and garbage services will be unavailable and a reduced fee has been implemented. The Doris Creek, Lid Creek, Lost Johnny Camp and Lost Johnny Point campgrounds have extended operation dates through Sept. 27; Emery Bay through Sept. 26; and Devil Creek through Sept. 15.

Recent precipitation helped firefighters contain the Ridge and Doris Point fires. Fire managers said that the moisture can weaken root structures in fire affected areas, causing potential hazards like falling trees and rolling rocks and debris and travelers are urged to use caution in burned areas. Firefighting equipment will be in the area and road graders are operating on the east side of the road.

“I am pleased to allow public access back into the Hungry Horse Reservoir both on the east and west side roads,” Hungry Horse District Ranger Rob Davies said. “We appreciate the patience our public demonstrated as we forfeited some of our favorite recreation opportunities over the last four to five weeks … Our fire crews have worked hard to make our public roads and recreation sites safe.”

Fire activity still exists on the Ridge and Doris Point fires, and officials remind the public to stay out of closure areas.

The Doris Creek and the Lost Johnny roads will remain closed through most of the fall due to rolling debris and weakened trees in the Doris Point fire area. The Alpine 7 trail is open.

In the Ridge Fire area, the Emery Creek drainage; the area north of National Forest Service Road 38 and west of Margaret Creek and a portion of the Coram Experimental Forest; and all roads and trails within the area, including the Desert Mountain and Emery Creek roads, are closed.