It’s hard to imagine what Clark Fork Valley looked like 12,000 years ago, hidden under a glacial lake a few thousand feet deep. But that’s what you’ll try to do when you’re camping at Thompson Falls State Park. The receding glaciers formed this scenic valley in northwestern Montana, home to numerous rivers, wildlife, and colorful historical figures. Book an RV in Sanders County and start your exploration of this wild, rugged place.
The Kootenai tribe inhabited much of this area before the arrival of European explorers and fur traders, and their descendants are still here today. Thompson Falls itself was named after British explorer David Thompson and started as a remote outpost. The small camp later grew to support mining operations in nearby Coeur d’Alene.
Thompson Falls State Park is a small park, just 36 acres in size, right next to the quaint town of Thompson Falls. The park is located right along the river, shaded by tall pines, between Thompson Falls Dam and Noxon Dam. Thompson Falls was altered with the construction of Thompson Falls Dam in 1915.
Many Thompson Falls State Park campers come for the peace and solitude, a perfect environment. Anglers can catch pike and bass fishing from shore, but there’s also a fishing pond within the park. The family fishing pond is stocked and also has a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. Residents and non-residents older than 11 will need a Montana fishing license, which you can get in town.
There’s also a small boat launch at the Thompson Falls campground, making it accessible for canoes, kayaks, and rafts. A small beach is perfect for sitting on a chair relaxing or even going for a swim. If you have any larger watercraft, you can launch from a larger ramp closer to town.
Thompson Falls State Park has one hiking trail that leads to a more extensive network of trails in the town of Thompson Falls. The one-and-a-half-mile trail starts at the fishing pond, follows the river, and joins the Thompson Falls Community Trails. From here, you can trek the Powerhouse Loop Trail, walk along the dam, or fish from Island Park and Thompson Falls Reservoir. You can stop for a break at the picnic areas and watch for wildlife and birds.
Camping at Thompson Falls State Park
The Thompson Falls State Park camping season is relatively short. It typically closes in the fall and opens in late spring when the snow melts. There are 17 sites that can accommodate rental RVs. A few sites fit bigger rigs up to 63 long, though most spaces welcome RVs up to 30 feet. The sites are a mix of back-in and pull-through, set in grass and covered by tall pines.
Don’t expect a lot in the way of facilities at the Thompson Falls State Park campground. It’s quite sparse, and that’s how many campers like it. Only one site offers electric and water hookups, and there's no dump station on-site. In addition to the standard picnic tables and fire rings, the only other amenities you’ll find are water spigots and vault toilets. There are food storage lockers for tent campers, but you’ll be fine storing your food in your motorhome rental. A bear may occasionally visit the campground.
Exploring the Area
Thompson Falls is a picturesque mountain town, and within an easy walk from the campground, so there’s no excuse not to spend some time there. Within the town, you’ll find the Old Jail Museum, a fascinating museum with many displays documenting early Thompson Falls history, situated in the old jail building. There’s also a beautiful golf course along the river and some great cafes and diners serving up hearty comfort food. You’ll find a few grocery stores and gas stations for provisioning in Thompson Falls. The next largest shopping centers will be nearly two hours south in Missoula. If you do find Thompson Falls as scenic as others do, and are visiting in the spring, you can take part in their Beautification Days. This multi-day event is all about cleaning up the town, keeping it beautiful, and making new friends.
There are plenty of other RV camping locations near Thompson Falls. The valley is sandwiched between the Kaniksu and Lolo National Forests. You can find many other recreational opportunities here, like fishing, hiking, and hunting. Wildlife includes moose, elk, bears, and bighorn sheep. The closest national park to Thompson Falls is Glacier National Park. Here, you can camp in your motorhome and learn even more about the glaciers that carved the region not long ago.
Thompson Falls State Park, MT is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Thompson Falls State Park. Outdoorsy's Thompson Falls State Park RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.