The Splendor of Lake Koocanusa
There are times in winter when driving along the reservoir between Eureka and Libby on Highway 37 can be absolutely daunting. And there are times in the spring, summer and fall when there isn't a more beautiful sight.
The ninety-mile long Lake Koocanusa reservoir is held back by Libby Dam (which at over four hundred feet tall is impressive and yes, you can arrange to take tours). The dam is located sixteen miles upstream from Libby providing flood protection and hydroelectric power to the region. If you are the kind of individual who enjoys learning new things, you might consider visiting the Libby Dam Visitor Center and taking a tour.
Besides these sensible advantages, Lake Koocanusa also offers a scenic drive and numerous recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, camping, and beaches. You can find rainbow and cutthroat trout, whitefish, kokanee, and burbot (Ling cod) in the lake. Of course there are all sorts of wildlife and birds that you can spot while driving Highway 37 or walking along one of the beaches. There are numerous public campgrounds along Lake Koocanusa including Rocky Gorge which has 120 campsites suitable for tents and recreational vehicles. A boat ramp gives access to the lake. Peck Gulch has restrooms, a boat ramp, and sites for picnicking or camping. The Barron Creek Recreation Site has a boat ramp and camping areas. McGillivray Recreation Site is a campground and day use area with group picnic shelters. Overnight camping, ball fields, a swimming beach, and a boat ramp are available. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail follows Highway 37 along the east side of the lake before crossing over the Lake Koocanusa Bridge and climbing up Webb Mountain. Oh, and the Lake Koocanusa Bridge just happens to be the longest and highest bridge in Montana. At 2,437 feet long and standing 270 feet (depending on water levels) above the lake, the bridge offers great views of both the lake and the surrounding mountains. There are also boat launches and picnic areas at Abayance Bay Marina and Rexford Bench, both right outside of Eureka.
All of these wonders right here in Lincoln County.
About the Author: Rita Collins. I am a believer in the power of community and for now I call the Tobacco Valley home. I have lived in nine states and three counties and this community here amazes me - how people reach out to neighbors and even travelers. I've never lived in a place that demonstrates people caring for each other so well. And I've never lived in a place that has such a high percentage of talented musicians and artists. I work with the the Sunburst Community Service Foundation, a nonprofit that began in Eureka twenty years ago and now serves numerous communities in western Montana. And I just started a new business, St. Rita's Amazing Traveling Bookstore and Textual Apothecary. I never could have imagined life being this exciting in my sixth decade.