If you’ve never been deep in a National Forest, here is an opportunity to enjoy a unique drive while surrounded by 2.2 million acres of green, an area three times the size of Rhode Island. Nestled in the mountainous terrain of Northwest Montana, the Kootenai National Forest is bordered by Canada and the panhandle of Idaho. At nearly 9,000 feet, Snowshoe Peak reigns over the Cabinet Mountain’s cliffs, spires, river canyons, waterfalls and glacial lakes. In addition to the Cabinet Mountains, the Whitefish, Purcell, Bitterroots, and Salish all radiate from the Kootenai and Clark Fork Rivers. They are fed with abundant rainfall rendering a climate described as “modified Pacific maritime” as compared to the rest of Montana. In winter, that “characteristic” is modified by arctic air masses and heavy mountain snowfalls. As you head out from Libby on the Quartz-Loon Scenic Drive, expect to see whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, moose, blue heron, osprey, and loons along with beaver dams and lodges and an occasional black bear. Leaving Libby on Montana 508 (which becomes Forest Road 69), the route parallels the Kootenai River for the first five miles. The roads are good quality paved or gravel, but take it slow, as you may encounter logging trucks and you’ll want to take every opportunity to enjoy traveling through this very unique environment, likely found nowhere else on earth.