We're blessed with literally hundreds of campgrounds in Big Sky Country, spread across federal and state lands. With over 30,000,000 acres of public land in Montana (nearly 1/3 of the state), there are tons of choices when it comes to camping. Some are well-developed sites with RV pads and hookups. Most offer niceties such as toilets, picnic tables, drinking water, and fire rings, and there are countless areas where you can go boondocking and not run into another human for a week.

Google Street View/Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Google Street View/Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
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M-K Campground was named one of the Best in America.

Outside Magazine just released their 2022 list of the Best Free Campsites in All 50 States and the best in Montana is just a short drive from Billings. They wrote,

M-K is a free Forest Service-maintained campground two miles up Main Fork Rock Creek Road (Forest Road 2421), just a few miles off the Beartooth Highway, as the scenic roadway winds toward Yellowstone National Park’s northeast entrance. Part of Custer Gallatin National Forest, the campground, which has ten riverfront sites along Rock Creek and is located about 25 minutes from the town of Red Lodge, has toilets and picnic tables but no trash collection.

Most of us are familiar with this campground, and others in the immediate area. They're a favorite spot for those in Billings looking for a quick, easy-to-access weekend getaway in the mountains just an hour or so from home. But before you load up your Subaru and head to M-K, there's one thing you should know...

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Photos by Rachel Helgeson/Aaaron Consavli, Townsquare Media
Photos by Rachel Helgeson/Aaron Consalvi, Townsquare Media
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The campground is currently closed to vehicles.

No offense to Outside Magazine, but I find it humorous when out-of-state writers cover Montana stories and neglect some basic fact-checking. Like the fact that the M-K campground is currently inaccessible by vehicle. I spoke with the Beartooth Ranger District this morning (8/2), who confirmed that the road is closed right after the Limber Pine campground, where a bridge washed out from spring flooding. You can camp or park at Limber Pine and then hike into Greenough Lake Campground or M-K (about a mile from Limber Pine).

Photos by Aaron Consalvi/Rachel Helgeson, Townsquare Media
Photos by Aaron Consalvi/Rachel Helgeson, Townsquare Media
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Access will remain limited through summer.

The park ranger I spoke with said that vehicle access beyond Limber Pine Campground will probably not reopen until next season, as crews work to repair the washed-out bridge. I asked if the campgrounds that are open in the area have been overly crowded this summer and she said it hasn't been too bad. Now might be a great time to sneak in a quick camping trip with the kids before school starts in a few weeks.

LOOK: Historic 2022 Flooding in Southern Montana Not Soon to Be Forgotten

Widespread flooding wiped out roads, bridges, buildings, and powerlines throughout riverside communities from Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley to Red Lodge. The Yellowstone River winding through Billings crested Tuesday, June 14, 2022. At 11:30 a.m. the National Weather Service in Billings reported the river rose above flood stage and was forecasted to hit 14.7 feet, nearly hitting the 15-foot record set in 1997.