North Fork Falls, Lewis and Clark County, Montana

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: March 4th, 2023

North Fork Falls, Montana, is located in Lewis and Clark County, along the North Fork Blackfoot River. The waterfall is a lesser-known waterfall in the county, with almost data online. There is a topography map to help you find your way. If you decide to seek out this waterfall, be sure to use safety precautions and don’t go in alone.

Details About North Fork Falls

north fork falls

The North Fork Falls – not to be confused with Little North Fork Falls – is a waterfall in Montana that may be a bit challenging to get to. See the information below to see if you might want to try.

Find the waterfall by these coordinates: 47.19404, – 112.89513.

Can I Drive to North Fork Falls?

North Fork Falls are “off the map” in regard to driving access. The waterfall is in an area that would be considered a backcountry (meaning no driving access or wilderness). The closest listed parking location is at the North Fork Blackfoot Trailhead.

Are There Trails to North Fork Falls?

The North Fork of the Blackfoot Trailhead is where you’d start out to find North Fork Falls. From the trail to the falls and back is 15.6 miles. The trail and falls are located within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, in the Lolo National Forest.

Forrest Boughner, a hiker who’s enjoyed the trail immensely, notes that the trail is a bit obscure, and the waterfall “buried” within the wilderness, but the hike is well worth it, particularly in spring when the falls are full and roaring.

When you start at the trailhead, follow the well-traveled horse trail toward the north out of the parking lot. The trail will cross water at both miles 3 and 6.5. The trail is moderately rated, with an elevation gain of 1,535 feet.

The second river crossing will put you by the guard station, which is a great spot for camping if you want to pitch a tent on your hike. The trail forks at this point. Take the right fork to head toward the North Fork Falls.

At this point, the trail becomes more strenuous, climbing upward. However, there is another fork at this stage. The right fork is an intense climb while the left stays relatively moderate.

About a mile past the guard station, you’ll hear the waterfall reverberating through the canyon. Hikers have created their own pathways downward toward the overlooks of the waterfall.

  • Distance: 15.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,535 feet
  • Trail type: Out and back

Visiting North Fork Falls in Lewis and Clark County, Montana

lewis and clark county

If you’re up for a more adventurous “waterfall hunt,” the North Fork Falls of the Blackfoot River is an excellent choice. The hike is 15.6 miles there and back, with an option for a moderate or a strenuous final leg toward the falls.

The trail has certainly seen some traffic, but overall, this waterfall is a lesser-known natural feature in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. During any hike, you should always take safety precautions, particularly so in situations like this where there’s less traffic.

Before you head out, prepare for a safe adventure:

  • Hike with a partner – do not hike alone
  • Bring safety equipment, such as a flashlight, emergency medications, first aid kit, and cellphone
  • Wear comfortable, durable hiking shoes with closed toes
  • Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, ideally in layers
  • Bring plenty of water – at least a gallon
  • Bring snacks if you are making a day of it
  • Bring meals if you plan to camp overnight
  • You may wish to bring gloves and hiking poles or a walking stick
  • Apply sunscreen and carry extra with you
  • Wear sunglasses and other sun protection
  • Bring a camera. The falls are gorgeous and you’ll definitely want photos!

 Have you been to the falls? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a travel blogger and editor for over 5 years, working with some of the biggest brands in industry. She’s taught English as a foreign language in 5 different countries, and her most fulfilling role was as a tour guide around some of Europe’s finest vineyards. She the one behind the social channels here at Discovering Montana, whilst also finding the time to perform an assistant editor role.

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