When talk of gathering the family for a camping weekend started I was so excited. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my kids, their spouses and my grandkids, all of us together, relaxing and having fun.
As the weekend drew closer though, all of my “things to do” kept swimming around in my mind. Weekends are when I can attack my list of chores and it seems like that list never shrinks.
I made the right decision though, packed my camping gear, and headed towards Logging Creek campground in the Little Belt Mountains. The Little Belts are in the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest, a sprawling collection of several mountain ranges in Central Montana. The forest service has campgrounds in all of those ranges.
There are a couple of ways to get to Logging Creek. One is by taking US Hwy 89 south from Armington Junction (east of Great Falls about 25 miles). When you get to the first Sluice Boxes State Park turn, take that, cross the bridge and keep going. That makes the drive about 3/4 pavement and the remainder on gravel forest service roads. I travel Hwy 89 fairly often so I opted to go through the Stockett route.
I think the route I took had more gravel road but the scenery seems a bit more diverse and I stopped frequently to take photos. I also missed a turn once so I was able to see more of that diverse scenery! There was a farmer working in his field and he had just climbed off his baler to check something. I stopped my car on this lesser traveled road and he probably knew I needed directions! He chuckled and told me I had missed the turn. I backtracked about 5 miles and was on my way again.
Logging Creek campground is nestled in the most beautiful area, campsites are spread out among trees, and the creek goes behind the campsites. There are also two outhouses, one at each end of the campground, and some scattered picnic tables. Each campsite has a fire pit.
During the day I hiked around the area, followed the creek up a ways on the forest service road, and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the wildflowers.
The grandkids (and Dads) spent the afternoon tubing in Logging Creek. When they first started, there were shrieks followed with “that water is freezing cold” but in they went, time and time again. That mountain water runoff is definitely chilly but as afternoon temps climbed it felt good.
Logging Creek has several mini-waterfalls as it works it’s way down the mountains, also twists and turns which made it fun for tubing. And it was easily accessible from the campsite. In late July it wasn’t that deep and it was so clear you could count the rocks in the creek bed. I didn’t see any fish, also no fishermen.
Temps drop quickly in the mountains as the sun starts to fade! I was prepared though and had packed a sweatshirt and a fleece. Also, when the sun begins to set amid those tall trees and mountains, it doesn’t take long for daylight to disappear.
After dinner, which was cooked on the fire pit, we sat around and enjoyed the crackling fire. It didn’t take too long
for a s’mores request to be made and we were prepared for that. Perfectly roasted marshmallows – yes, there is a knack to that, graham crackers and chocolate. Oh yum! I was still full from dinner but I managed to consume dessert. It’s a camping thing.
My thoughts on the way home…
First of all, we had awesome family time and made the best memories.
I could listen forever to laughter and giggles from kids swaying in a hammock.
A gurgling creek running down the mountainside is incredibly relaxing.
Campfires seem to make worries go away.
Stars are brighter in the mountains.
Food tastes better cooked over a campfire.
I’m glad I went.