Guide to Martin Falls: Campgrounds, Hiking Trails, and Activities

Montana’s Martin Falls is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Nestled in the heart of Flathead National Forest, this scenic waterfall along Martin Creek offers a mesmerizing display of nature’s beauty. 

I’ll guide you through what makes Martin Falls and its surrounding area so special. I’ll also share insights into the best hiking trails and camping spots near the falls, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

Ever thought about the adventures that await at a hidden waterfall like Martin Falls? As we dive into the activities and natural wonders surrounding this spot, you might find yourself drawn to explore more of Montana’s wilderness. Let’s uncover the secrets of Martin Falls and see how it can become a highlight of your outdoor experiences.

7 Key Takeaways on Martin Falls

  1. Martin Falls in Flathead National Forest is a serene, hidden gem known for its mesmerizing cascade along Martin Creek, offering a tranquil spot for nature lovers.
  2. The campground near Martin Falls, while light on amenities, provides a rugged camping experience and serves as a gateway to outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking.
  3. The area surrounding Martin Falls is rich in outdoor activities, including a variety of hiking trails, fishing spots, and wildlife-watching opportunities.
  4. Swimming at Martin Falls is not recommended due to strong undercurrents, but nearby lakes and rivers in Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park offer safer options.
  5. Boating is a popular activity in the area, with opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding on the region’s lakes and rivers, available through local rental services.
  6. Whitewater rafting near Martin Falls and Creek is a thrilling adventure, with guided trips and routes suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.
  7. Horseback riding is a fantastic way to explore the natural beauty of the region, with several outfitters offering guided rides through scenic trails, catering to riders of all levels.

About Martin Falls

Location CoordinatesElevationNearby FeaturesLocation
48.56691° N, -114.68626° W3,753 feet (1,144 meters)Mount Cannon, Hole-in-the-Wall Falls, Mount Carter, Thunderbird Falls, and Beaver Medicine FallsFlathead National Forest, Flathead County, Montana

Martin Falls is a hidden gem nestled in Flathead National Forest, tracing its path along Martin Creek. While there isn’t much online about this spot, you can catch a glimpse of its beauty through photos on Place and See.

The falls rush down the hills, creating a mesmerizing sight as they cascade over logs and stones, surrounded by the tranquility of the forest. It’s a place that truly captures the essence of Montana’s natural beauty.

For those looking to extend their stay and soak in more of the area’s charm, there are camping options nearby. The Martin Falls Campground and the Martin Creek Campground offer a close-to-nature experience, perfect for adventurers and nature enthusiasts.

If you’re up for a more primitive camping adventure, there’s a spot near Martin Falls that’s accessible by foot, making it a great choice for those seeking a more secluded and immersive outdoor experience.

Campgrounds at Martin Falls

Martin Falls Campground, nestled in the heart of Stryker, stands out as a prime destination for those seeking a rustic outdoor experience. Although it’s more of a primitive campground, it offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in nature without the distractions of modern facilities. 

The area surrounding Martin Falls is a treasure trove of natural beauty. From the tranquil waters and lush greenery to the rugged terrain, every vista is a postcard waiting to be captured. The Stillwater River, with its 3-mile stretch of challenging whitewater, adds an exhilarating touch for adventure enthusiasts.

The Mount Marston National Recreation Trail and the nearby Keith Mountain offer excellent hiking opportunities, while the Griffin Creek Trail in Whitefish Lake State Park is a delight for nature lovers.

For camping enthusiasts, the region around Martin Falls is a goldmine. Here’s a quick rundown of campgrounds and lakes within a few miles of Martin Falls:

LocationProximity From The FallsDescription
Upper Stillwater Campground3 miles  (4.8 km away)Offers a serene camping experience in Flathead County, located 3 miles (4.83 km) from Lower Falls.
Spring Creek3 miles (4.8 km away)A picturesque creek located 3 miles (4.83 km) away in Stryker, offering scenic views and recreational activities.
Bull Lake3 miles (4.8 km away)A stunning lake nestled in Stryker provides opportunities for fishing, boating, and relaxation.
Flathead Lake5 miles (8 km away)The largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, offering various water activities and scenic beauty.
Tally Lake5 miles (8 km away)A pristine mountain lake near Olney, ideal for fishing, kayaking, and camping amidst breathtaking surroundings.
Dog Creek Campground8 miles (12.8 km away)A peaceful campground in Olney, located 8 miles (12.87 km) from Lower Falls, provides a tranquil nature retreat.
Upper Whitefish Lake9 miles (14.4 km awayA scenic lake near Olney offers opportunities for boating, swimming, and enjoying the natural surroundings.
Upper Whitefish Campground9 miles (14. km away)Nestled in Flathead County, this campground offers a serene setting for camping, just 9 miles (14.49 km) from Lower Falls.
Tally Lake Campground10 miles (16 km away)Located in Flathead County, this campground provides access to the beauty of Tally Lake and its surroundings.
South Campground11 miles (17.7 km away)Situated in Lincoln County, this campground offers a convenient base for exploring the nearby attractions and nature.
Red Meadow Lake12 miles (19.3 km away)A scenic lake located 12 miles (19.31 km) from Lower Falls in Olney, providing opportunities for fishing and outdoor recreation.
North Campground12 miles (19.3 km away)Located in Lincoln County, this campground offers a peaceful retreat amidst nature, just 12 miles (19.31 km) from Lower Falls.

With its combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and proximity to a variety of other camping spots, Martin Falls Campground is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Montana’s wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting, the allure of this area is undeniable.

Hiking Trails Near Martin Falls

Martin Falls, a picturesque roadside waterfall in the Flathead National Forest, presents a unique challenge in terms of access.

While no marked trails directly lead to the falls, there’s a high chance of a bushwhack trail from the road, especially near the u-shaped portion of National Forest Development Road #910. 

For those looking to start their adventure from the Martin Falls Campground, a walking path or a short trail is likely available to lead visitors to this natural wonder. Keep an eye out for any signage within the campground to ensure you’re on the right path.

The area around Martin Falls is a gateway to a variety of trails that offer different levels of challenge and scenery. Here are some nearby trails that you might want to explore, all within a short drive from the campground:

Trail NameDistance (miles)
Fort Steele Trail4 miles (6.44 km)
Griffin Creek Trail11 miles (17.70 km)
Oettiker Creek Trail12 miles (19.31 km)
Mount Marston National Rec Trail12 miles (19.31 km)
Tally Mountain Billy Creek Trail12 miles (19.31 km)
Meadow Creek Trail13 miles (20.92 km)
Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail13 miles (20.92 km)

Each of these trails offers its own unique experience, from tranquil walks through nature to more challenging hikes that lead to stunning viewpoints. They’re perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Montana’s natural beauty, and they’re all easily accessible from the Martin Falls area.

Activities to Do in Martin Falls

Martin Waterfall cascades over mossy rocks and fallen trees in a quiet, densely wooded forest.

Martin Falls offers a playground of outdoor activities that cater to every adventurer’s heart. From hiking through lush forests to fishing in pristine waters, this area is a haven for nature lovers. Let’s dive into the top activities you can enjoy in and around Martin Falls.

1. Swimming

Three children in swimwear gleefully jumping into a lake near Martin Waterfall in Montana, on a sunny day, embracing the joys of summer.

Swimming in Martin Falls might seem tempting, but it’s not the safest spot. The undercurrents there can be really strong, especially near the waterfalls. It’s important to know that even if you’re a good swimmer and have safety gear, swimming in waterfalls can be risky.

If you’re looking to cool off and have some water fun, it’s better to pick a place with calmer water, like a slow-moving stream or a peaceful lake.

Luckily, there are plenty of these spots in and around the Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park. They offer not just safe swimming but also beautiful, natural settings to enjoy.

Here’s why it’s better to stick to the slower waters:

  • The undercurrents near waterfalls, like in Martin Falls, can be too strong for safe swimming.
  • Even with safety gear, it’s hard to predict what might happen in fast-moving water.
  • Lakes, rivers, and streams in the area provide safer and more relaxing swimming experiences.

Let’s take a look at the swimming spots you can choose from in Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park:

Remember, the key to a great swimming experience is safety. So, while Martin Falls is a beautiful sight, it’s best enjoyed from a safe distance.

2. Boating

Two people paddleboarding peacefully on a tranquil lake near Martin Waterfall in Montana.

Boating is a big deal in Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park. People love hitting the water here, and there are loads of ways to do it, from quiet canoeing to thrilling motorboating.

You can even try stand-up paddleboarding if you’re feeling adventurous. Plus, you don’t have to worry about gear. There are plenty of places nearby where you can rent all the equipment you need.

But, before you set sail, it’s super important to play by the rules. Make sure you know all the restrictions for the water you’re on. And here’s a big one: never go swimming alone. There aren’t any lifeguards around, so it’s always best to have a buddy.

If you’re looking for some local help or want a guide, there are a few places to check out. Invert Sports and Heritage Outdoors are great options. You can also look into Rentals and Tours from Many Glacier, Glacier Outfitters, and Sea Me Paddle. They’ll make sure you have a safe and fun time out on the water.

3. Whitewater Rafting

Adventurers in safety gear navigate the rushing waters near Martin Waterfall on an exciting whitewater rafting expedition.

Guided whitewater rafting near Martin Falls and Creek is a fantastic way to experience Montana’s thrilling waterways. If you’re looking to hit the rapids with a knowledgeable guide, you’re in luck. These trips are not only exhilarating but also safe, making them perfect for adventurers of all skill levels.

Now, if you’re the kind of person who likes to take charge and have your gear, you can find access points along various rivers and streams in the region. This allows for a more independent experience, tailoring your adventure to your preferences.

What’s great about guided rafting trips is that they often come with awesome add-ons. You can enjoy delicious meals and snacks, and even choose from lodging and camping packages for trips of all lengths, whether you’re looking for a partial day of excitement or a multi-day expedition.

Here are some of the top-rated trips that you might want to consider:

  • Get Your Guide Day Rafting Trip
  • Glacier Raft Company
  • Great Northern Rafting and Resort
  • Rafting Trips with Wild River Adventure

These providers offer a range of experiences, from heart-pounding day trips to relaxing multi-day floats. Each has its unique charm and promises to show you the best of Montana’s waterways.

4. Fishing

A fisherman in waders and a wide-brimmed hat stands in a peaceful river focused on fly fishing.

Fishing at Martin Falls is a dream come true for anyone who loves angling. The area is packed with spots that promise an unforgettable fishing experience. But before you cast your line, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First off, it’s super important to have the right fishing license. This ensures you’re following all the rules and regulations, which is crucial for maintaining the health of the fish population and the environment.

If you’re new to the area or just starting out, booking a guide can be a great idea. They not only help with the technical side of fishing but also know the best spots to catch fish.

Speaking of guides, there are some fantastic options for fishing trips in the Martin Falls area. Companies like Glacier Guides and Get Your Guide offer tours to lakes, streams, and rivers where you can find trout, salmon, and a whole bunch of other fish.

Here’s a quick look at what these guided fishing trips offer:

  • Glacier Guides – They specialize in taking you to some of the most beautiful and fish-filled spots in the park and forest.
  • Get Your Guide – They offer a range of fishing experiences, from peaceful lake fishing to more adventurous river fishing.

With the help of a guide, you can make the most of your time, discovering the best fishing spots and maybe even reeling in your biggest catch yet.

5. Horseback Riding

Three horseback riders with cowboy hats enjoy a scenic trail ride in a lush green field with a mountainous backdrop in Montana.

Horseback riding is a top pick for folks exploring Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. These areas are just perfect for riding, with trails that show off Montana’s beauty in every direction. You can choose rides that are as short as an hour or go all out with trips that last for days.

When it comes to horseback adventures, Swan Mountain Outfitters is a big name. They’ve got three stables right in Glacier National Park: Many Glacier, Apgar, and Lake McDonald. These stables are in some of the most scenic spots, making your ride even more special.

But they’re not the only ones offering rides. There are more companies ready to take you on a horseback journey you won’t forget. Places like Rich Ranch, Big Sky Safaris, Dunrovin Ranch, and Adventure Missoula know these trails like the back of their hands. They can lead you to hidden spots and share stories about the land as you ride.

Martin Falls Final Thoughts

The serene Martin waterfall gently flows over mossy rocks and fallen trees, surrounded by lush woods in Montana.

Martin Falls is a hidden gem in the heart of Flathead National Forest, where the beauty of nature is on full display. The sight of water cascading through the forest is truly mesmerizing. If you’re looking to stay close to this natural wonder, both Martin Falls Campground and Martin Creek Campground offer a rustic, close-to-nature experience that’s perfect for adventurers.

The area around Martin Falls is a paradise for outdoor lovers. You can explore a variety of trails, like the Fort Steele Trail and the Griffin Creek Trail, each offering its unique adventure. For those who enjoy being on the water, there are plenty of opportunities for boating, white water rafting, and fishing in the nearby lakes, rivers, and streams.

While the landscape is breathtaking, it’s important to remember safety, especially when swimming near waterfalls or participating in outdoor activities.

Following guidelines and being prepared is key to enjoying your time here to the fullest. Plus, keeping an eye out for wildlife adds an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

Martin Falls and its surroundings are a nature lover’s dream, providing a perfect escape into the great outdoors. It’s a place where you can truly disconnect and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of Montana’s wilderness.

Martin Falls FAQs

1. Is Martin Falls Suitable for Swimming?

No, Martin Falls is not suitable for swimming due to the intense undercurrent created by the rushing waters cascading through the forested landscape.

2. Are There Any Trails Leading to Martin Falls?

While no apparent trails lead directly to Martin Falls, there may be bushwhacked trails from the road on either side of the U-shaped portion of National Forest Development Road #910.

3. What Amenities Are Available at Martin Falls Campground?

Martin Falls Campground offers primitive camping options with toilets but no showers, running water, or electricity available at the sites or grounds.

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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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