Lolo National Forest

MISSOULA - With the leaves changing many of us want still want to get outside and enjoy nature, but if you plan on camping this fall, it's a good idea to plan ahead so you don't get left out in the cold.

The weather might be getting colder but that isn't stopping folks from heading out to campsites.

"Camping in the fall is amazing its a great time to get out in Missoula but if you do make sure you are prepared for bears," camper Matt Detrick said.

But bears aren't the only thing you should prepare for. If you are headed out to a national forest this fall season to camp, it's always a good idea to check if the campsites are still open, because the last thing you want is to get out to a gate a see that its closed.

"Fall is a wonderful time to view fall colors in the forests but it is really important that people call ahead to the ranger stations that people want to recreate at or to check online," Lolo National Forest Public Relations Kate Jerman said.

Places like Pattee Canyon Picnic Area, Lee Creek Campground, and Fort Fizzle have already closed. Some sites might be still be open, but they don't have the same services they did just weeks ago.

"Our trash services may have ended for the season or we are shutting down our water services for the winter so bring water pack out all of your trash and just come prepared for any situation," Jerman said.

And be sure to check their website for a complete list of campgrounds that are still open.

Jerman also wants to remind folks fires are still possible in the fall, so if you do go camping be sure to drown your campfire and make sure coals are cold to the touch before leaving.

Helpful Tips for Recreating in the Fall:

-Call ahead/check the web for current information

-Know before you go & be prepared for changing conditions especially at high elevations

-Be careful with fire, never leave a campfire unattended

-Be bear aware – store food properly while camping to avoid unwanted human-wildlife conflicts

-Recreate Responsibly and enjoy the beautiful fall colors!