• 406.755.1211

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Big Creek Information


History: The Big Creek Outdoor Education Center began in 1927 as a Forest Service Ranger Station, administrative site, and firefighting center. In 1988, the Glacier Institute established its current outdoor education program at Big Creek. This is a truly peaceful location on the North Fork of the Flathead River and opportunities abound for hiking, biking, bird or wildlife watching and enjoying the outdoors. The Glacier Institute’s Big Creek Outdoor Education Center is operated under special use permit with the Flathead National Forest.

Facility (Spring, Summer & Fall): The Big Creek facility is off the grid, using a generator and solar panels for electricity.  We try to conserve our limited power (lights out at 10:00 p.m.!), so a flashlight is highly recommended. Heat and running water operate at all times, however showers can only be taken when the generator is on. The facility has no regular phone service and communication is by emergency cell phone only.

Bunkhouses: Sleeping accommodations consist of two bunkhouses (men and women’s) with a total of 40 single beds. You will need to bring your own bedding (sleeping bag and pillow). Each bunkhouse has a bathroom with hot and cold running water, heat, flush toilets and showers. You may reserve lodging before or after your course for an additional fee by calling in advance at 406-755-1211.  Please remember that tent and RV camping and pets are not allowed at Big Creek, but several nearby camping options are available.

Dining Hall & Meeting Room: In addition to providing a kitchen and eating area, this building has a meeting room with library materials and other educational resources available for visitors. It is a great place to read a book, gather to play a game or sit on the screened-in porch and watch wildlife. The kitchen has several propane refrigerators for storing food and a propane stove and oven.

Getting Here: The Big Creek Outdoor Education Center is located along the wild and scenic North Fork of the Flathead River adjacent to Glacier National Park – just a 20-minute drive from West Glacier and 22 miles north of Columbia Falls.

In Columbia Falls, from Highway 2 turn onto Nucleus Ave. and go to the end of the street. Yield right and follow the road up and over the railroad tracks, this is the North Fork Rd. The first 12 miles on the North Fork are paved with 8 miles of dirt road to follow. The condition of the dirt road depends on the time of year. The Big Creek campus is on the left side of the road, opposite the U.S. Forest Service Big Creek Campground.

From Apgar, if the Camas Road is open, simply follow it until the road ends and turn left. Big Creek is 2 miles south on the North Fork Rd. There is a “Big Creek Road” sign along the way. It is a Forest Service road on the right – DO NOT TURN ONTO THIS ROAD – keep going straight. Big Creek Outdoor Education Center is approximately ¼ mile south of the Big Creek Road on the right side.