Discover Little North Fork Falls: A Visitor’s Guide

Montana’s Little North Fork Falls, nestled near Libby and Eureka, is a gem waiting to be discovered. This 50-foot waterfall in Kootenai National Forest offers a tranquil escape and a relatively easy hike to its base, making it an ideal adventure for nature lovers of all ages.

We’re about to take you on a trip through the secrets of Little North Fork Falls. You’ll learn about the best times to visit, the beauty of the surrounding trails, and how to make the most of your experience with a range of outdoor activities.

Do you wonder how a hidden waterfall in the heart of a national forest could become your next favorite spot? Join us as we explore the allure of Little North Fork Falls and the adventures that await in its pristine Montana setting.

7 Key Takeaways on Little North Fork Falls

  1. Little North Fork Falls, located near Libby and Eureka in Montana, is a serene spot within the Kootenai National Forest, easily accessible via a short, well-maintained trail.
  2. The 0.5-mile Little North Fork Falls Trail offers a moderate but relatively easy hike, featuring a temperate rainforest-like gorge and a 50-foot waterfall.
  3. Activities at Little North Fork Falls include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching, providing opportunities to connect with nature and create lasting memories.
  4. Swimming at the falls is not recommended due to strong undercurrents, but safe swimming spots are available at nearby locations like Bull Lake and Clark Fork River.
  5. Boating on the Kootenai River and Barren Creek is popular, with options to bring your boat or rent from local outfitters.
  6. Fishing near Little North Fork Falls is a favored activity, with the option to hire guides for a better experience, and safety gear and precautions are essential.
  7. The Kootenai National Forest offers additional outdoor activities, including cycling on specialized bike courses, horseback riding through scenic trails, and a variety of events that celebrate the natural beauty and sport of biking.

About Little North Fork Falls

Location CoordinatesHeightNearby FeaturesLocation
48.7599585°N, -115.37573°W50 feet (15.24 meters)North Fork Valley and Kootenai National ForestBackcountry, Kootenai National Forest, Lincoln County, Montana

Little North Fork Falls is a hidden treasure found near Libby and Eureka, Montana, in the middle of the Kootenai National Forest.

The falls aren’t too far from the main path and are easy to reach with a short hike. The trail has a nice bridge and leads to a somewhat steep walk down to the gorge where the waterfall is.

As you walk along the trail, you’ll see moss-covered boulders and old trees, making a peaceful and magical atmosphere. The end of the narrow trail is a beautiful waterfall hidden away in the far northwest corner of the state. This waterfall is quite impressive, dropping 50 feet (15.2 meters) into the Little North Fork Creek.

The trail itself is a mix of dirt and crushed stone, with wooden steps to help hikers on the steep paths. You can hear the falls from far away, especially in spring or after heavy rainfall, which builds excitement for the final view.

Take your time and enjoy the natural beauty around the trail. You’ll see wild columbine, phlox, ferns, and a dense forest opening up to breathtaking mountain views. Keep an eye out for wildlife too, as there’s plenty in this area.

The best time to visit Little North Fork Falls is between May and September when the weather is best for hiking and the falls look their prettiest.

If you plan to stay longer to explore more of the Kootenai National Forest, there are over 20 campsites and RV parks in the area, offering various options for your outdoor adventure.

Hiking Trail in Little North Fork Falls

A lush forest scene in Montana shows the Little North Fork waterfall flowing over green moss-covered rocks and fallen logs.

DistanceElevation GainDifficulty LevelTrail Type
0.5 miles (0.80 km)131 feet (40 meters)EasyOut and back

One distinctive trail leads to Little North Fork Falls, offering a close-up view of its beauty. This trail is a newer, shorter version that replaced a longer one damaged by flooding and washout. The change made it easier for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the falls.

The Little North Fork Falls Trail starts at Road 336 and covers 0.5 miles (0.80 km). It involves a moderate climb down to the falls but is generally an easy hike. The trail guides you through a temperate rainforest-like gorge, enhancing the overall experience.

It takes less than 15 minutes to complete the hike one way. The trail is well-shaded and maintained, perfect for families with kids. As you approach the falls, wear sturdy shoes due to occasional soggy trail conditions, and be cautious on steep sections, particularly after rain, while ensuring to capture the scenery with your camera.

Things to Do in Little North Fork Falls

The serene Little North Fork waterfall is surrounded by a lush Montana forest, where fallen timber hints at a reclaimed bridge.

When you visit Little North Fork Falls, you’re in for a treat. This spot is not just about the view; it offers a range of activities that can make your visit even more memorable. Here’s what you can do to make the most of your time at Little North Fork Falls

1. Swimming

A person swims in the serene, clear green waters near the Little North Fork waterfall in Montana.

Swimming at Little North Fork Falls might seem tempting, but it’s not a safe spot due to the strong undercurrents near the waterfalls. These currents can pull you under, making it dangerous to swim there.

Waterfall swimming accidents are sadly common because of these undercurrents. It’s always important to put safety first when choosing where to swim.

Thankfully, there are plenty of safe spots nearby where you can enjoy the water without the risks. Places like Bull Lake, Clark Fork River, Fisher River Area, Koocanusa Area, and Tobacco Area have designated swimming spots that are much safer.

When you head out for a swim, it’s a good idea to go with others. Since there are no lifeguards around, having friends or family with you can make your swimming experience even safer.

2. Boating

A kayaker paddles across a tranquil lake at sunset, viewed from the bow of another kayak near the Little North Fork waterfall in Montana.

Boating is a big deal in and around Kootenai National Forest. This place, sometimes called “Glacier Park without the Crowds,” is a real gem for boaters.

They love the Kootenai River and Barren Creek for their great boating spots. If you’re excited to hit the water, you can bring your boat or rent one from some cool places nearby:

  • Kootenai River Outfitters
  • Northwest Montana Adventures
  • Action Rentals
  • The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

These spots are all set to get you out on the water and having a blast. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or just starting, the boating scene in Kootenai is something you won’t want to miss.

3. Fishing

A man fishes amid the rising mist near Little North Folk Falls in Montana

Fishing on the Kootenai River is a big deal near Little North Fork Falls. It’s a popular activity that attracts locals and visitors alike.

If you’re looking to make the most of your fishing adventure, you have the option to team up with an outfitter or a private guide. This can boost your chances of landing a big catch and make your experience even more enjoyable.

Now, when you’re getting ready for your fishing trip, it’s super important to think about safety. Make sure you have all the right gear and, most importantly, that you don’t go alone. Having a buddy with you is not just more fun, it’s safer too.

If you’re interested in hiring a guide, there are some top-notch options in the area. Here are a few names you might want to check out:

  • Kootenai River Outfitters
  • Linehan Outfitting
  • Kootenai Canyon Anglers
  • Dave Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler
  • Long Drift Outfitters

These folks are experts in the local fishing scene and can help you have an amazing time on the water.

4. Cycling

A cyclist rides near the Little North Fork waterfall in Montana as the sun sets, their silhouette against the evening sky.

Kootenai National Forest is great for people who love biking off-road and want to ride through beautiful landscapes and forests.

All year round, there are organized rides in the forest that bring biking communities together. Events like the STOKR ride in May and Le Tour de Koocanusa in August are great chances to enjoy the forest’s beauty while biking.

These events aren’t just about biking; they’re also about celebrating the sport and the natural beauty around it. If you prefer more organized biking, the forest has special bike courses that add extra challenge and fun.

The Sheldon Mountain bike course and the Kootenai Trail along the Tobacco River are two examples of paths designed for both technical biking and beautiful scenery.

These courses are perfect for improving your biking skills and finding new favorite routes.

5. Horseback Riding

A man and a woman dressed in cowboy outfits ride on horseback across the plains near Little North Fork Waterfall.

Horseback riding is a big deal around Little North Fork Falls and Libby, Montana. The trails in Kootenai National Forest are perfect for riding, which has led to the rise of a bunch of outfitters in the area. This means you have lots of choices when you want to explore on horseback.

When you’re visiting the forest and the falls, you can book trips for part of a day, a full day, or even multiple days. It’s a great way to see the area and get a feel for the beauty of the landscape.

Before you choose an outfitter, take a good look at what each one offers. They might have different things included, like special add-ons or unique features. It’s worth comparing to find the perfect fit for your adventure.

Some of the outfitters you might come across are The Bar W Guest Ranch and Lake Creek Ranch. They’re well-known and offer great experiences for riders of all levels.

Little North Fork Falls Final Thoughts

Little North Fork Waterfall in Montana, serene cascade amidst rugged forest terrain, water carving through mossy rocks and lush greenery.

The journey to Little North Fork Falls near Libby, Montana, is a story of beautiful trails and natural beauty. These trails, in Kootenai National Forest, offer a short but captivating hike leading to a 50-foot (40-meter) waterfall that flows gracefully into Little North Fork Creek.

The trail shows a peaceful atmosphere, with colorful wildflowers along the path and different animals adding magic. The best time to see this natural wonder is from May to September when the forest is vibrant with spring and summer colors.

It’s important to remember that while the trails are inviting, safety should always come first. Hikers are encouraged to walk carefully and avoid going alone into the forest, as it’s best to enjoy nature’s beauty with someone else and be mindful of potential dangers.

Apart from the falls, Kootenai National Forest offers many activities for outdoor enthusiasts. From boating and fishing in the clear waters to biking and horseback riding through the rough terrain, there are plenty of things to do.

For those looking for a quiet getaway, Little North Fork Falls and its surroundings are a real treasure, showing off the best of Montana’s natural scenery. 

Little North Fork Falls FAQs

1. Is Swimming Allowed at Little North Fork Falls?

Swimming at the falls is technically possible, but it’s strongly discouraged due to the dangerous undercurrents created by waterfalls. Safer swimming options can be found nearby.

2. How Long Is the Hike to Little North Fork Falls?

The hike to Little North Fork Falls is relatively short, spanning approximately 0.5 miles from the trailhead. It typically takes less than 15 minutes to complete one way.

3. Are There Any Safety Precautions to Consider When Visiting Little North Fork Falls?

Yes, visitors are advised to exercise caution, especially on steep sections of the trail. It’s recommended to hike with a partner, carry bear spray, and stay alert for wildlife encounters.

4. What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Little North Fork Falls?

The optimal time to visit is from May to September when the weather is mild, and the trail conditions are generally favorable. During this period, visitors can enjoy lush greenery and vibrant wildflowers.

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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